Friday, June 17, 2011

Over Breakfast . . .

Six black buzzards roosting . . . waking up . . . hunting breakfast . . . ?  Five in one tall tree that rises above the brush on the opposite side of the Savannah marsh.  One on a dead tree trunk that shows up stark and white against the sky in the slant morning sun.  To the naked eye they look like odd black bulbous growths in the trees.  All are too far away for my camera, but visible through binoculars.  Their legs look like bare chicken bones against their black bellies.  Where are their heads?

Every now and again, one of these scary looking birds changes branches, which is what first attracted my attention.  Their wingspan is so wide they have to fly out of the tree and back in again just to move up a notch.   A loud rattle reaches across the quiet of the marsh with each re-entry.   In roosting position, and from this distance,  their wingtips and featherless white legs against black bodies and pale sky are their most noticeable features.

Now I see their heads are plain gray---not as shockingly ugly as the turkey vultures in Patricia Lichen's recent post, but ugly enough.  That's not a fair introduction to Ms. Lichen's great blog, though.  It's well worth your time for the environmental information, for Monday's nature quote, and for a chance to engage your mind and hand at creating your own haiku every Friday.

My six buzzards are actually American Black Vultures, the ID books tell me.   They have a funny way of squatting on their roosting boughs with their heads buried in their breast or wing feathers, a stance that makes them appear headless.   I wonder if their heads get cold without feathers.

Something in the marsh grass has attracted the lot of them.  Occasionally one or the other rattles down and disappears in the grass for some seconds.  Dead breakfast?  Perhaps it's no less revolting than our bacon.  dkm


Anonymous said...

Hi Deb, I'm enjoying reading all your posts, you've been busy :) Beautiful family you have.

Aw I love ugly vultures, so fascinating and creepy. I think my turkeys are quite handsome compared to them.

The last photo in the 'morning coffee' post is stunning. What a wonderful place to stay. My neighbours' chaff business is called Savannah Chaff.

Cotton is our sewing thread. Though nowadays polyester thread is used more (I still call it cotton). A couple of Xmas's ago I did a sewing project swap with a southern american lady through a quilting site and she sent me a fairy she'd made from your cotton plant - the fluffy cotton and its casing. It was fascinating to see where cotton actually came from. I don't know how it got through customs, obviously they didn't see it as I would imagine it was highly illegal. haha eek!

Keep up with all this wonderful blogging. It's great :))))

Patricia Lichen said...

Black vultures? How interesting--I've never seen one. I agree with you--they're not as shockingly ugly as the turkey vultures here in the Pacific Northwest!

Thanks for the shout out--I appreciate it!

Jane Robertson said...

Lovely descriptions of the early morning on the marshes. Vultures are a bit of a change from Bluebirds!!!!

dkm said...

Niki---so happy to hear from you---your blog has not popped up in my reminder window in quite a while---hope you're enjoying your time off. Sorry to hear, via Jane, of more quaking in your world!

Here's hoping you and Jane and your families were all out of harm's way.

Ha ha re: bluebird/vulture comment :-)

Nicole said...

This always reminds me of the times when my husband thought our European Buzzards were Vultures (or rather look like them, since they do eat dead prey).
I love the way you describe their behaviour. I could really see them in the tree in my minds eye :)

bibi said...

I have seen vultures in the pose you describe, with their heads sunken into their chests, perched on a deserted shack that is covered in kudzu near our house at the lake. very creepy.