Three posts in as many days—and I am as surprised as anyone. I’d planned not to spend time on another one today, but the Fates had other ideas for me. I know that several of my readers will be very relieved to know that no more spiders came to call today.
I was taking things easy this morning and early afternoon, sorting through stacks of decades-old photos, when I happened to look out the back window and saw a wild turkey perched on our fence. As you may know, we have a resident flock—including, according to some neighbors, up to 23 birds—that shelter in the little ravine behind the row of houses across the street from us, and they roam the neighborhood quite freely, though we see them only occasionally, and get quite excited when we do. I have been able to get a few decent shots of them (as you may remember from my posts here, here, here, and here) as they explored the ground for acorns and such, but until today I’ve only seen one in the back yard, which is completely fenced in. I immediately notified CD, and while she reached for her binoculars, I went for my telephoto and slipped out the back shed door. The bird had come down from the fence and strutted slowly out of sight behind the giant maple in the northwest corner and didn’t reappear again after a minute or two, so I eased my way closer to sit on the back deck to wait for it to reappear. When it did not for several minutes, I figured it must have gone back over the fence again and came back inside. Only a few minutes later we saw that a large portion of the flock had followed the first (it had laid down and was resting), and more were following them. So I carefully went back out, staying by the shed and using the door as a blind and monopod, and spent the next hour in awe of the 17 magnificent turkeys that had chosen to explore our yard for fodder and shelter.
They stayed for nearly two hours, but I had a commitment that drew me away. As I was having a last reflection on my amazing luck, a small movement in a tree above the fence to the west caught my eye. It looked almost like a blue jay, but not quite. I trained my lens on it and saw that it was a small hawk. I had time for a few quick shots, one of which was sharp enough to work with, before it launched itself at our crabapple tree and made serious passes at the several chickadees that were flitting around, but they evaded the attack, scolding boisterously. When I had the time to look at my photos, I was able to tentatively identify the little raptor as a merlin. What a wonderful day!