A journey into the eyes and mind of a naturalist.

Morning Walk: Part I

A morning walk is much more than a jaunt through the woods, it is an opportunity to see the forest in transition.  If you were to compare it to human society it would be the shift change or rush-hour.  All the nocturnal animals are heading in for the day and all the diurnal animals are heading out.  Flowers that were closed all night begin to open, insects and birds warm their wings in the sun to charge up for a day in the skies.

On my way down the trail to my cabin I came across a half dozen Turkey Vultures in their roost.  They flushed fairly easy and silently took to the sky.  Before they all rose on the thermals I snapped a couple of pictures.

I will admit I don’t think this image quality is all that great.  I was using my old telephoto from my 35mm and turns out my hands are not steady enough with that thing pushed all the way out!

Here I captured the moment the Turkey Vulture took to the sky.  These birds are masters at soaring.  They effortlessly float on spiraling columns of rising air, a thermal, like an elevator.  When they reach the top they glide to the next thermal and repeat.  Flying in this manner minimizes energy used in the day.

These large scavengers are experts at detecting dead and rotting flesh even in thick forest.  They have an incredible sense of smell and will find the smallest morsel in the densest of forests.  Seeing these Turkey Vultures roosting told me that there was more than likely a kill or dead animal somewhere nearby.  I later found a partially eaten Raccoon about 100 yards from this roost.  But before I get there I have to tell the rest of the story…

Up next:  Morning Walk:  Part II

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