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Posts Tagged ‘wild turkeys’

            “Coexistence: What the farmer does with the turkey – until Thanksgiving”

The view of Lake Jordanelle out my RV window. — Photo by Pat Bean

Adventures with Pepper: Day Four Continued

The zoom lens on my new Canon Power Shot was a plus in capturing this view of wild turkeys at Lake Jordanelle. — Photo by Pat Bean

             I only drove 77 miles today, but then I only have to drive 75 miles a day to meet my goal of getting back to Texas in time for Thanksgiving.

That gives me plenty of time to start my day by writing, taking a hike with Pepper and then dawdling along the way, stopping to enjoy things like Devil’s Slide up Weber Canyon, the fall colors in the mountains and, of course the birds.

It was a good day for bird-watching. I saw ravens, crows, turkey vultures, a red-breasted nuthatch, magpies, house sparrow, belted kingfishers, great blue heron, a western tanager, kestrels, European starlings, barn swallows and house finches.

It was also a plus that my canine traveling companion, Pepper, was distracted elsewhere when I spotted the turkeys. — Photo by Pat Bean

I even got to see some wild turkeys at Lake Jornanelle State Park, where Pepper and I spent the night. Thankfully, I saw them while Pepper was sniffing a hole in the other direction and was able to snap off a couple of photos before we got closer.

The turkeys disappeared into the bushes as soon as they saw us.

Book Report: Travels with Maggie is now up to 48,803 words. I had time to do more but smelling the flowers got in the way. I no longer flagellate myself for letting that happen. Perhaps it’s because I know that I have more life behind me than ahead of me, and while writing is important to me, it’s not the only thing in my life.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day

Bean’s Pat:  Wales’ Castles http://tinyurl.com/8exuruo From the era of King Edward, An armchair-traveler’s special.

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 “There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots, the other is wings.” Hodding Carter.

Bald Eagle in Baytown, Texas. -- Photo by Joanne Kamo

Travels With Maggie

I spotted a bald eagle yesterday. It was just outside the park hanging around the Snake River below the Minidoka Dam in Southern Idaho.

It’s a bird that always makes my heart beat a little faster. It was sitting up on a utility pole, then flew away to the other side of the river as I passed by.

I don’t know whether it was an early migrant from Alaska, where huge numbers of eagle spend the summer, of if it was one that had stuck around the area for the entire year. There’s always a few that do.

It really didn’t matter. Either way it was a magnificent sight. It’s pure white head caught the sunlight as it flew across the water and my breath ceased for a few seconds. The bird’s brilliant white head feathers indicated it was at least four years old. Before that age, bald eagles are ratty brown all over.

Of course there wasn’t time for me to get a picture, as if I even could take a decent shot of a moving target. So I turned to Joanne Kamo’s online art gallery http://www.pbase.com/jitams to illustrate my blog. Joanne, whose bird photos are among the most awesome I’ve ever seen, has given me permission to occasionally use one of her copyrighted pictures. She didn’t fail me.

While bald eagles are beyond my photographic capabilities, even I can take a decent picture of a wild turkey, such as this one in Palo Duro Canyon State Park in Texas. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Her bald eagle photo took my breath away as quickly as did the real thing. If it doesn’t also cause you to gasp in delight, you’re as cold-hearted as a glacier and not someone I care to meet.

The sight of yesterday’s bald eagle made me grateful Ben Franklin didn’t get his way in having the wild turkey be our nation’s symbol. He thought the bald eagle was too much of a thief to represent our country.

I know he was right because I was once privileged to watch a bald eagle snatch a freshly caught fish from an osprey as it flew. The osprey was so frustrated that it chased the eagle until it came to its senses.

But the bald eagle today is also a symbol of what’s best in humankind. These birds were on the verge of becoming extinct when we Americans acted. Since the passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1973, bald eagles have regained healthy populations.

Sightings of them in the lower 48 states are becoming more common. And so I wish you good luck in having one of them fly your way.

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I think Maggie was as surprised as I was on seeing a circular sidewalk, landscaped with funky art, that led nowhere off to the side of the Western Star RV Ranch in Liberal, Kansas. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I saw turkeys alongside the road when traveling Highway 83. — Photo by Pat Bean

 

“He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.” Albert Einstein

Travels With Maggie

After rising early, drinking my cream-drenched coffee while posting my blog, catching up on e-mail and reading the New York Times online, then waking and taking my dog, Maggie, for a walk, I decided to get a few extra miles on the road this day.

I did just that – making it from Vernon, Texas, to Liberal, Kansas.

Vernon lies along the route of the former Great Western Trail and millions of cattle passed through the town during the late 1800s. Liberal lies along the route Coronado took in his search in the mid-1500s for the mythical Seven Cities of Gold.

The distance between the two historic cities, if you take Highway 287 west to Childress and turn north on Highway 83, is 261 miles. It was an eye-opening journey.

The landscape was mostly occupied by agriculture fields with an occasional oil rig plopped down in the middle. Sometimes the pump was rusted and still, sometime rusted and pumping.

The flatness of the land was broken by stumpy hills whose summits looked out for miles and miles to an almost endless horizon.

A multitude of birds were out enjoying relief from the high winds that had dominated the outdoors for the past several days, during which I had mostly only seen turkey vultures. This day I identified robins, great-tailed grackles, house sparrows, mourning doves, meadowlarks, red-tailed hawks, horned larks, rock pigeons, Eurasian collarded doves and even a half dozen wild turkeys.

Then there was the dinosaur near Canadian, a funny name for a Texas city I thought. A bit of internet research after I had settled in for the night told me the town was named after the Canadian River. Since the river’s headwaters are in Colorado, that left me wondering where the name of the river came from.

I’m still wondering about that, but I did learn more about the dinosaur that sits on a prominent Mesa for the viewing pleasure of Highway 83 travelers. The 50-foot brontosaurus was created by artist Gene Cockrell and named Audry after his wife. You can see a picture of the long-necked creature – the dinosaur not the wife – at RoadsideAmerica.com

I laughed when a huge RV overtook and passed me towing a fancy barbecue smoker with all the works. Then I wondered where those folks were going to settle for the night and if I could finagle an invitation to dinner. The rig disappeared over one of the hills, however, and I never saw it again.

Almost before I knew it, the miles were behind me and I was hooking Gypsy Lee up at the Western Star RV Ranch on Highway 54, five miles outside of Liberal.

The park had a a circular sidewalk, leading nowhere and with funky landscaping art, where I took Maggie for a walk. A patch of sickly grass with stickers, however, lay between it and the graveled RV area.

Poor Maggie got a sticker in her paw. She stopped, lifted her foot and demanded with a painful look that I Remove the nasty offender! After it was out, I then got the toasty brown-eyed look that said Carry me to the sidewalk.

Of course I did. She’s the boss, or so my kids are always telling me.

I also shared the red beans and rice leftovers from the night before with her before we settled down to watch an episode of Castle on my DVDs. She got a doggie treat and I got some peach yogurt to eat as we watched.

As my travels go, it was just an ordinary day. But I loved every minute of it.

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The view from my camp site in Palo Duro Canyon ... Photo by Pat Bean

“Palo Duro … is a burning, seething cauldron, filled with dramatic light and color.” — Georgia O’Keeffe

Day Eight

Yesterday’s high winds continued today in the park so I stayed close to my No. 26 camp site in Palo Duro Canyon State Park’s Hackberry Campground. There was still plenty to see, however.

 As I often do when I’m in a campground, I throw out some birdseed to see what I can attract. When I did it this day, and while I was still spreading it around, several wild turkeys rushed out from nearby bushes and practically were eating out of my hand. They probably would have if I hadn’t been a bit concerned about their sharp bills.

 A little later, after I retired to my RV to watch the show out my window, a deer came up and joined the turkeys. What fun. Chipping sparrows and cardinals dropped by later to glean the leavings.

At 120 miles long and 800 feet deep, Palo Duro is Texas’ Grand Canyon. Spectacular, but in un-Texas-like fashion only a miniature when compared to Arizona’s big ditch. It pains a Texan to admit this but as one who has seen both, I must tell the truth.

Like Georgia O’Keeffe, however, I found Palo Duro’s intensity stirring my soul.

Visitors to my camp site ... Photo by Pat Bean

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