They tear through the yard at break-neck speed, reckless, and with little regard for the safety of others. Careless teenagers with their learner’s permit testing their new-found freedom, pushing the limits of common sense. You can hear them across the pasture screaming at each other, back-talking their parents, flying low and fast testing their wings. The parents sit on the barn roof or in the dead branches at the top of the weeping willow screeching back. You can just imagine what they are yelling at the young fledglings: “Slow Down.” “Not so high.” “How many times do I have to tell you stay where I can see you.” Those darned teen-aged fliers.
All summer we have watched the pair of what we believe to be Swainson's hawks circle the Garden Spot. I first spotted one settling onto a nest in one of the tall trees on my way home. We can see the tree tops across the neighbor's pasture from the patio, so we began watching the pair of hawks soar above the fields looking for mice. They'd land on the corral fence, circle above, rest on the power poles for the well pumps. Often we'd see the male take food back to the nest to feed his mate incubating her eggs. They are not real timid, but cautious, so I have been able to get close enough that with my telephoto lens to get pretty decent photos of the adults.
We have this nearly dead weeping willow out by the garden and the hen house where birds like to perch, a perfect vantage point to watch young fledglings learn to fly. We can hear the parents talking to the kids as they cruse overhead. All day long we hear the hawks screaming, calling to the youngsters, teaching them how to hunt, and fledglings answering back. Now that the hay has been cut, the pasture is the perfect place for them to hunt voles and mice, and probably a garter snake or two. They seem to leave the rabbits alone and the cats, though we did have one swoop down near the patio and pick off a dove close to the ground with our Mo cat nearby taking chase thinking he could make a double header and catch both hawk and dove. Silly boy.
Saturday while we were working on the waterfall the two young hawks flew in tandem overheard, low and fast, a rare sight. Soon the fledglings will be on their own. The parents will probably stay around. I know they have their eyes on the hens, but for that very reason the girls don't get to roam free much, only under careful eye--ours.
Today our English faculty met to kick off Fall Semester 2012 that begins Monday. I'll put the gardening tools away and take out the tools of the trade: grammar handbooks, worksheets, the work computer. I'll have 3 preps: freshmen composition, an advanced writing class, and an introduction to literature. A good work load. I'll read your blogs at the end of the day to relax and hopefully I'll have good things to blog about. It's been fun keeping up with you this summer. I appreciate the loyal followers as I welcome my new followers and hope there are more to come. I love the generous comments everyone leaves and I do enjoy leaving comments for you. So as I go back to work, I look forward to reading about the turning seasons in your garden. Have a great week end.