Laura Erickson's For the Birds

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Photon and I spent the morning at Arches National Park. She wasn't allowed to hike on any trails, but she was a good sport about waiting in the car while I was gone on a couple of short hikes. It was nice and cool this morning, so it was perfect for her.
Oregon Juncoes were all over the place.
This is a cool arch! "Delicate Arch" it's called.
Doesn't this look like a hawk looking up?
White-crowned Sparrows were all over, too--this immature one was singing.
Autumn colors!

Two of the most beautiful things I saw all day weren't photographed. This morning I watched a raven flying about while the sun was still low, casting its shadow against one of the huge rock formations. And the shadow raven was dancing with the real one. I couldn't tear my eyes away--as the raven circled closer to the rock, its shadow came closer to it, and as the raven drew away, its shadow dropped lower, in an aerial minuet utterly beautiful and thrilling. It almost seemed as if the raven was aware of its shadow and how it could make it bigger and smaller, because a few times it seemed to extend its feet toward the shadow--it looked like two ravens doing their courtship skydance.

Then, this evening as I drove through New Mexico, the full moon rose above some gorgeous rocks which themselves were glowing in the final rays of the setting sun. The combination of browns and reds against an indigo sky and the lunar luminescence took my breath away.

Two sad things today--a dead Great Horned Owl on a roadside and an ugly brown cloud hanging over the distant sky. I looked at my car's GPS map and the cloud was over Denver--about 200 miles away! The richest nation in the world and we can't even clean up our own atmosphere.