Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Bringin' Home a Baby Bumblebee....
$2.95! I pulled in.
“Fill it with regular. Thanks.”
While I waited for my tank to fill, I glanced over at the shopping plaza across the street. I was struck by all the gulls swirling around the parking lot. I had not seen many gulls there before, so it was interesting and unusual. There were not just one or two, but dozens. I assumed they were Ring-billed Gulls. I was too far away to see any field marks clearly, so I sat enjoying the movement of the white birds against the clear blue sky.
As I watched them, I noticed 5 vultures riding a thermal above the gulls. I always look at vultures, because sometimes even this far north there may be Black Vultures. The vultures circled closer to the where I was parked and as they banked I clearly saw the wing patches flashing in the sunlight. They also have a fat blunt look to the wing. Black Vultures are much more, hmmmm, flappy than Turkey Vultures. They soar less. These looked as if they were having a great time.
They chased and played in and out of the trees and around telephone poles. One vulture repeatedly dive-bombed another one. I watched as they flew first this way and then that. I wondered if they were a family group. Or, maybe it’s mating season for vultures? Off in the distance tiny pepper specks of Turkey Vultures rocked on the wind, above it all. Almost stately compared to the frenetic activity of their smaller cousins.
I remember how excited I was the first time I saw a Black Vulture in Florida. Then, about 10 years ago I started to see them occasionally in central Jersey. Curious, but cool. Now they are here all season long like Turkey Vultures. There are less of them, but they are here.
Do not dismiss vultures. They provide a much needed service.