Home Again, Home Again, Jiggidy, Jig

What a fun trip to Orcas Island.  Kara is going to report on the trip further in her quarterly newsletter she is working on, but I wanted to tell you about a highlight of my trip.  As a new bird watcher I’m always excited to see birds that aren’t usually found where I live.  On Sunday morning, just as we were getting packed to leave, I noticed a Golden Eagle flying over the pasture below.  During breakfast Kara talked to the owner of the B&B about it.  Susan, the owner, was concerned that they’d lost a sheep.  She quickly ran to the window to look out but of course the sheep were nowhere in sight.

Then she proceeded to tell us a story that happened last summer.  They lost their favorite ewe.  Sadly, she’d tipped over on her back and could not get righted in time and suffocated.  Instead of burying her, Bill, Susan’s husband, laid it on the woodpile, which made for quite a show.  First the Bald Eagles came, then the Golden’s, then the Ravens and Vultures and crows.  It was picked apart in a few short hours.  As gruesome as that sounds, what a blessing it is to have scavenger birds that help keep the smell of decay down.  Not only do they provide a service, they are given life by the death of another.

The story was intriguing and prophetic to a degree.  We finished breakfast–I should say Kara did–packed the remainder of our belongings and headed out to catch the ferry for the first leg of our long drive home.  Coming around a bend about 1/4 mile from the B&B we saw the rustling of wings on the ground, big wings, all desperate to escape the oncoming car.  When the feathers had settled there was one brave bird left–the Golden Eagle I’d spotted earlier in the morning.  Undisturbed by us he meandered into the ditch for breakfast.

Golden Eagle watching over its breakfast.
Golden Eagle watching over its breakfast.

The remaining birds swirled around above us, eventually landing in a tree to the right.  There was a pair of Bald Eagles.  I didn’t get a real clear shot because I had to take it through my windshield, but here you can see one of them in the tree while a vulture flies by.

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle

Here are two of the hungry vultures that landed for a brief time–ultimately I believe there were five of them.  Having nothing to occupy their beaks they grew restless and took off until after I left.  Again, taken through my front windshield so not real clear.

Vultures, impatient for breakfast.
Vultures, patiently waiting for breakfast.

We were able to sit there for about five minutes watching and listening.  While the Golden Eagle was busying itself eating furry chunks of venison, the Bald Eagles were sitting up in the tree throwing their heads back and chirping loudly with their beaks wide open.  The vultures continued to ride the wind currents above us as the crows cawed from a distance.  The scavenging birds weren’t going to go hungry that morning, at least on this section of the island.

Gulping breakfast down, fir and all.
Gulping breakfast down, fir and all.

What a way to start the day, a feast for our senses as well.  Certainly not your every day sighting.

We made it onto the ferry and as promised, I got my picture taken, twice.  The first is me, sitting on a life-preserver and the second picture I look to be hula dancing, and so I was, with the islands as my background.  It was a little chilly out but before we went inside and the ferry departed, Kara was able to take a shot of the local dock birds.  The lowly seagull, another scavenger bird.  They are enjoying relaxing still–maybe they’d already had their breakfast of scraps.

Feeling safe on a life preserver.
Feeling safe on a life-preserver.
Hoola dancing--
Hula dancing–
Seagulls chillin' out.
Seagulls chillin’ out.

Landing in Anacordes we saw the last of the sea birds for the day.  After that is was just drive, drive, drive–oh, we also stopped at a gallery where Kara is going to begin displaying art, but there I go, telling her story.

Cormorants just sitting around.
Cormorants that have found their niches.

We arrived home early evening, unpacked the car and went outside to visit with our family members we’d missed while gone.  After resting up and catching up with things yesterday, I’m finally getting around to writing this blog.  I can’t wait for the next bird adventure.  Who knows, maybe it will be tomorrow.  We are heading to Silver Falls, OR to meet up with fellow artists and hopefully, I’ll get to see a bird or two, or three . . . and possibly get some good pictures as well.  Have a wonderful evening.  Don’t forget to watch for birds!

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