Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Lunch Break

We had an absolutely gorgeous day today. No wind and the high must have been around 55-60 degrees. I sure am getting spring fever, but am not getting my hopes set too high. Some of our worst snowstorms are often in the months of March and April.

One of the things that I like best about my job is the freedom that I have to do things that I would not otherwise be able to do if I was on someone else's time clock. For instance, today I took an extended lunch and took an hour or so break after I ate lunch and went for a walk with my camera. I decided to walk down along the creek (Kiowa Creek) and see what I might happen upon.

As I got closer to the creek, I noticed a hawk about a quarter of a mile away sitting up high in one of the trees along the creek on my neighbor's property. It wasn't long before the hawk's curiosity got the better of him and he was circling me from overhead. I tried to snap a photo of him, but he was flying too fast and too high for my camera. I stopped and watched him as he sailed the wind currents and screeched at me. I wonder what he was saying to me.

After a while I got tired of the hawk and he got tired of me. I spotted some birds, I think chickadees, a few yards away and tried to get a picture of them. They are so flighty and don't sit still for very long, it is difficult to get a picture of them. I've tried several times in the yard and every time you approach them, the whole flock flies away.

I got this one picture. "Photoshopped" it and ended up with this. You can click on the individual pictures to see a full screen view of them, just hit your browser's back button to return to the blog.

After the chickadee or whatever kind of little birds those are, I ventured on down to the creek. Not much was going on down there. Just the gentle trickle of the water as it meandered along it's way. In a few places there were shelves of snow and ice hanging over the running water. The flowing water must melt the ice on the surface, but the shade of the bank delays the melt which forms a suspended shelf over the water. Guess I should have taken a picture of it. It was very tranquil listening to the drip, drip, drip of the ice shelf melting gently over the flowing water.

Above the gentle water sonatina I heard the faint cry of a meadowlark. I've always wanted to get a nice picture of a meadowlark so I scanned the fence-line looking carefully at each fencepost. After a few minutes I finally spotted him. He was pretty far away, so I continued to walk toward him, hoping that he would not fly away. At about 50 or 60 feet away, I finally stopped and set up my tripod and camera. He was still pretty far away and in order to get a halfway decent picture, I'd need the tripod to steady the camera. I wasn't really close enough, but if I zoomed in as far as the camera would go, it wasn't too bad. Wish I was closer, but after only a couple of shots, Mr. Meadowlark decided he had better things to do beside serenading me. I also "photoshopped" this picture.

I moved on and came upon the "napping tree." Looks like something is snacking on my napping tree. Anyone have any ideas as to what is snacking on my napping tree?

Also looks like some of the cattle have been using the napping tree as a scratching tree. Bet that feels good. This branch is right at the perfect height to comfortably scratch your back if you are of bovine height.

I also stumbled across this old bottle. I decided to let it reside out in the pasture where it was.

After walking a little while further, I thought I heard a duck. I stopped and listened and sure enough, there it was again, the distinct honk of a duck. The banks of the creek are pretty steep so I couldn't see the duck from where I was standing, but I knew it was close. I'd have to sneak up on it if I wanted a picture of it. Then I saw the duck flying several yards in front of me. It landed in the creek but I couldn't see where because the creek bends and turns and also because of the steep banks. I quietly made my way to where I thought the duck landed, stopping often and listening to it honk quietly. I was pretty sure there would be two ducks since every time I see the ducks, they are a pair, Mr. and Mrs.

As I was trying to creep up on the ducks a pair of military (Air Force?) planes (C 17's or some sort of transport plane) flew over head. This is a common occurrence for out here. F.E. Warren Air Force Base is located 90 miles from our ranch. They must do a lot of training out our way, because we see all kinds of jets and planes all the time.

Anyway, just as I thought I was getting close to Mr. Mallard, Mrs. Mallard flies up and out of the creek just a few feet in front of me. Moments later, Mr. Mallard flew up a few feet further up the creek. Sorry no picture.

Oh well, it was getting late and I really should head back to the house and get some work done. On my way back, the cows came to see what I was doing out there. Some of them are really fat! Fat as in pregnant. They should start calving the first of May, but some of these girls look like they are ready to give birth now, especially #734! She is huge! Maybe she is carrying twins.

The chickens were also out enjoying the weather today. I snapped a couple of pictures of them before I went into the house.

Ahhh, the life of a Country Chicken Girl... gotta love it on days like these.


  1. I believe your first picture is an American tree sparrow.

  2. I believe you are right Katie, thanks! I really need to get a bird book. I'd really like one with sounds. I wonder if they make them where you can push a button on the page to hear the call of the bird?