Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘eagles

Late Season

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A day away from the calendar start of autumn has us checking out the lake place in transition and it is as glorious as ever this weekend, despite some gray and rainy weather.

We went to dinner last night at the recently reopened restaurant located about a block away from our driveway. The new name is Tavern at White Stag Farm. The atmosphere hints at old European with a delicious menu to match. Fred and Marie treated us in celebration of our anniversary. It was grand!

When we aren’t feasting on luscious meals, we have been competing in mixed teams at the cribbage board game, “CrossCrib®” taking turns claiming bragging rights. This morning will likely bring the challenge for weekend supremacy.

The other excitement has been the close proximity of our resident eagles and their fledglings. They have taken to perching on the pine tree right outside our window.

We have seen the young ones fly, but it appears they may still lack some confidence. They spend a lot of energy being highly vocal on their perch, crying out for something. Research reveals a common training behavior is for the parent eagles to withhold food as an enticement to the fledglings to fly.

That scenario is easy to ascribe to what we have been witnessing.

I can report that the eagles are not bashful about screeching loudly before the sun has broken the horizon.

Maybe they are feeling some urgency to get this flying thing mastered before the fall season ushers in the freezing of the lake where they have been enjoying easy pickings of fish all summer.

Despite the unusually warm temperatures this weekend, there is no denying that the summer of 2019 is behind us now.

Here’s hoping it will soon usher in the bright colors and brisk temperatures of fall.

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Written by johnwhays

September 22, 2019 at 9:22 am

Fresh Start

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Here goes nothin’. It’s a new week and we get a fresh start to face the challenges that lie ahead. Even though the weekend ended kinda rough, there were a few high points that I am dwelling on to provide some positive momentum for the next few days of work, particularly the unfinished business from last week that I failed to address.

The best part of the weekend was the serendipity of meeting Catherine, a new out-of-town friend from the Pacific Northwest who was visiting Wildwood while we were there. We share the understanding of being on a journey to discover our best selves.

Another treat was catching a glance of one fledgling eagle making a brief circle of flight out of the nest.

We learned from one Wildwood community member that one of the young eagles was down on the ground shortly after the nest had fallen apart. It is unknown whether they came down together, nor how the fledgling had made its way back up again.

Seeing at least one of them take flight gives us hope they will both succeed in the next phases of development.

We received feedback around dinnertime last night, on the status of the lake neighbor’s bitten dog. The injuries were deemed “non-critical” and she was eating, drinking, and walking. Pending one last assessment by their main veterinarian today, we are hoping for the best possible diagnosis for a speedy return to full health.

I would like to embrace that thought on this quest to head into the work-week with a “fresh start” perspective.

Let’s imagine that the best could happen!

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Written by johnwhays

August 12, 2019 at 6:00 am

Storm Damage

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By the looks of the driveway alone, up at the lake, it is obvious that there was some heavy rain. There is evidence of a flash flood of runoff that washed gravel away into the woods. Farther along on the property, we discovered that the big eagles’ nest had also succumbed to the deluge. There was debris of sticks and dead fish on the ground at the base of the tree. Looking up, the size of the structure had shrunk considerably.

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Still, the two youngsters remained perched, one on a branch above, and one on what was left of the nest. We occasionally hear them calling out to the adults who are the source of their meals. I would expect the stinky fish that landed below to eventually be picked up and delivered above again. It’s not like they’re past their expiration date or anything.

Getting the fish bodies up off the ground would make it a little easier to walk Delilah that direction. It takes a lot of muscle to steer her clear of trying to roll around in all the stench.

On a whim, I decided to be adventurous and take Delilah for an explore in the woods across the highway from our property. As soon as we made our way beyond the thicket of growth along the berm beside the road and got into the spacious forest beneath the spectacular canopy of the tall trees, I discovered the hazard of my decision.

All that rain seems to have unleashed a ferocious new batch of teeny mosquitos. They were unrelenting in their onslaught. I tried to keep moving to foil their attempts to land, but Delilah –lacking the exposed flesh I presented– didn’t share my urgency. She kept stopping to smell every enticing forest odor and, still on leash, frequently chose a path that had us at odds over which side of tree trunks to be on.

I had to cut our expedition short and set a course straight back to the bright sunlight of the roadway.

Things were much calmer when we got to the beach and I let her soak in the water while I stood on the sand taking a sunbath and listening to loons.

By that point, the storm damage was out of sight and out of mind. Almost the same for the chaos of the preceding week.

I will continue this course of therapy for a couple of days. It seems to be just what a doctor would order for what was ailing me.

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Written by johnwhays

August 10, 2019 at 7:51 am

Good Use

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We made good use of the gorgeous day we were granted yesterday, before today’s winter storm arrives. I made sure we had plenty of dry wood inside for long hours in front of the fireplace, watching the flakes fly outside.

Do you remember the picture I posted last week of our labyrinth hidden beneath the blanket of a season’s worth of snow? We decided it was time to do something about that. We are doing a lot of heavy thinking lately, and the meditative stroll along the labyrinth path will be a welcome resource for deep contemplations.

Even though it may get buried by another foot of snow today and tomorrow, at least we will have a noticeable impression to guide us in the days that follow.

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We think Cyndie’s phone, which captured the image of me on the left, probably had a foggy lens when she pulled it out of her pocket. There is quite a difference in quality of the pictures we took of each other with our phones.

Figuring out the turns and leaving appropriate space between rows took a lot of mental effort with so few landmarks visible. When our effort was completed, we were rewarded by a spirit-lifting visit from a pair of bald eagles who circled multiple times, very low, just above the tree tops.

I got the impression they approved of our effort. The thought did occur to me while we were carving out the well-defined path, that the pattern of the 11-circuit Chartres labyrinth would look great from the sky.

Okay, let it snow today. We made good use of the calm before the storm that yesterday provided.

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Written by johnwhays

March 9, 2019 at 10:17 am

Photo Review

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There were so many highlights of our weekend at the lake over the last three days that I am simply going to fill today’s post with some of the images depicting different moments from our adventures.

We were out visiting artistic retail shops in quaint Cable, WI, on Friday and decided to make the short drive further on to see the abandoned resort, Telemark Lodge.

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Peeking in the windows, we noticed head-height smudges on the glass that showed we weren’t the first ones to do this exploring.The facility had been through multiple bankruptcies and left abandoned for years. It looked like someone chained the doors and just walked away, leaving everything as it was.

It was intriguing to see the level of incidental decay of portions of the roof and fascia, the hazardous looking green of residual water in the pool, and the weeds growing through every crack in the concrete walkways.

We got out onto the lake, where the view back toward the empty beach looked like a resort with beach chairs prepared for the day ahead. A walk down the driveway provided a chance to glimpse the juvenile bald eagles perching on branches beyond their nest.

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Flight can’t be far off for these two.

On Saturday afternoon, we got out on the lake for a short happy-hour cruise.

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It was a fine weekend for boating. Back on land at dinner time, the Wilkuses provided pork chops for the grilling.

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Feasting is a regular opportunity with Cyndie’s family. Barb and Mike fit right in.

After dinner we gathered with company around the fire to enjoy the sounds of a wedding reception a few properties down the shoreline from us.

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Unfortunately, the sound didn’t travel our direction, and we barely heard a note.

Not to worry. We put on our own music and lingered long around the mesmerizing visual of burning wood.

It was a picture-postcard perfect summer weekend at the lake with friends and family that I’m hoping will linger in my mind for many days, despite returning to the responsibilities of day-job and home chores.

Home life is what makes going to the lake that much more special!

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Written by johnwhays

July 23, 2018 at 6:00 am

Missed Again

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If you take a lot of pictures, you know what it’s like to miss a shot. Like most things, there are more misses than hits when it comes to the spectacular capture. If you want to nail the perfect picture, beyond some good luck and good equipment, you need a lot of patience.

I came up short on all three yesterday while out on a walk with Delilah. Cyndie wanted me to give our little shepherd a workout to burn off some extra energy, so I strapped on the snowshoes and headed out to pack some of the trails that haven’t been walked since the last snow storms.

Delilah didn’t get the deep snow workout I had intended, because she was just light enough to stay on top of the wind-packed, partially melted blanket of beautiful snow, but I had a plan for that. We would be hiking many routes and doubling back on several of them.

If I can snowshoe both directions, it makes for a better packed path.

The first time we approached the road from our southern fence line, two hawks were up to something, putting on an air show with vocal enhancements that intrigued Delilah greatly.

From there we continued across our driveway and traversed what we call the “north loop” trail that pops out at the big willow tree famous for tripping Cyndie up when she stomped on the rake. Normally, this route would be followed by traveling up the driveway to the house. Delilah was locked into that program to such a degree that my instruction to turn around and head back in the other direction was met with quite the expression of complete confusion.

It’s was laughable, especially because that was quickly followed by a sprint that said, “Let’s do this!”

As we returned to the road from the opposite direction, it wasn’t a hawk that caught our attention, it was a big eagle flying away. With my eyes skyward, the silhouette of another white-headed dark bird perched in a tree was easy to catch. Even though I was limited to what my pocket camera could achieve, I stopped Delilah and tried to zoom in for a photo.

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It didn’t provide much in the way of opportunity, so after a couple shots my attention shifted to Delilah at the end of her long leash in front of me. She was staring across our field, holding a gorgeous pose that was definitely photo-ready.

As I lifted my hand with the camera and my finger reached for the shutter button, I missed and pushed the power to “Off.”

Delilah moved as I fumbled to get the power back on and the spectacular sound of large flapping wings made a couple of snaps into flight. That beautiful bald eagle pushed hard against the air to soar into the sky away from us.

It won’t be the last beautiful photo I just missed.

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Different Day

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Saturday was calm and Delilah was afraid to touch the water. Sunday the wind was directly out of the south and blowing strong enough to create rolling white cap waves. That was enough for Delilah to get over her trepidation about the water so she could charge in to bite at the broiling waves.

It was a wonderful sight to behold. I rushed to get my phone out so I could record a video. I held the camera for a long minute and then reached up to touch the screen to stop the recording. What I actually did at that moment was touch the screen to start recording, after having held it up while the phone was doing absolutely nothing during the best action.

Curses!

After chomping the white water multiple times, she alerted to the two ducks floating calmly past. I think they reminded her of chickens.

In another way Sunday was different from Saturday, there was activity in the eagle’s nest over the tennis court. On Saturday, I looked and looked but saw no sign of anything up in the big nest that has been home to an eagle family for years.

Sunday we were standing directly beneath it with Delilah when I realized the sound we were hearing was very likely newborn eagles. Looking straight up, I quickly found an eagle on a branch beyond the nest.

It is possible the nestlings just hatched. They were making quite a ruckus and we wondered if it had anything to do with our presence. When the eagle on the branch flew off, we began to speculate about the possibility the noisy eaglets were reacting to feeding time.

While one parent stayed seated in the nest, keeping a keen eye out, the other one spread its wings and flew away, presumably in search of another meal.

After a trip back to the cabin to get binoculars, we returned to find the nest calm and quiet. Having recently witnessed how quickly our chicks could fall asleep, we pondered the possibility the babies had already gone from shrieking hungry to full nap-mode.

By the middle of the day, when we had the car packed for the trip home, Delilah made every effort to clearly convey her preference to stay right where we were. It was funny to watch. She definitely recognized the cleaning and organizing preparations inside and kept a close eye on our movements.

When it came time to put on her leash to head outside, she balked big-time. Upon ultimately succeeding in getting her outside, Cyndie tried to get Delilah to pee before going in the car. Delilah’s only desire was to walk in short loops that always returned to one of the doors to go back in the cabin.

I like the way she thinks.

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Written by johnwhays

May 15, 2017 at 6:00 am