Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Revenge of the Birds?!?

As far as big red barns go, it doesn't get bigger, redder, or barnier.
Image online here

I exited a rural store, or diner, set in the ground floor of a renovated classic red barn. Yep, a barn red hanger with white trim. Immediately I noticed a Great Horned Owl fly from a tree nearby into a small grove to the left, adjacent to the establishment's dirt parking lot. This was one humongous bird! Like, moms grab your kids huge. It then dropped from it's perch atop a thick dead tree trunk in the forest, to the leaf litter below; clearly in hunting mode. Somehow it missed it's target; a Rock Squirrel that scurried away, eventually burying itself in the leaves. The owl then flew back up to its perch upon the tall stump.

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)
Image online here

A man and his daughter came walking from the parking lot and went right to the base of the owl's tree. This is the point, as the detached observer, where you feel confident in predicting what's going to happen next; when you're aware of your profound powerlessness to do anything about it. Sure enough, this gargantuan 8-9' tall owl dropped down toward the man. It didn't attempt an attack from above, as expected. Instead, it settled on the ground, drew itself to full height, and faced him. They both proceed to grapple, "mano a ala (Spanish for wing)", as it were.

 I hope you find this imagery as funny as I did in the dream itself. It looked ridiculous.  It reminded me of a match between Godzilla and one of his many foes - minus the lasers and fire breathing. After those first few moments of hilarity, I actually began to feel concern for the guy. What if he were horribly maimed or eviscerated? It'd be my first bummer bird dream. In the end, the father held his own. The denouement saw a pause in the skirmish.  The owl took advantage the opportunity to avoid further risk, or to save face,  and flew deeper into the forest. The man, apparently not worse for the wear, found his daughter quickly, and both fled out of sight.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Dreambird Photo Session

My most recent dream began with my chasing a Ruddy Daggerwing (butterfly) in a futile attempt to get a photograph.  It finally ended up in a large opening where large dead trees lay in a labyrinthine mess about forty feet across. After a few moments of walking around it, I flushed a thrush. It was a Veery, but there were moments when the bill appeared a orange. I really wanted this to be an Orange-billed Nightengale-Thrush - but no such luck. For the next several moments, it tormented me, by flying right before I could get a picture, then landing so close to the butterfly that it would take off too. Too much reality in this dream for my tastes.

Veery (Catharus fuscescens)
Image online here

At one point the thrush landed on a thick angular branch about twenty feet away. Since it was well out in the open, I thought it a perfect opportunity for snapping a picture. 

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) - hen
Image online here

White-cheeked Turaco (Tuaraco leucotis)
Image online here

Through the viewfinder, I noticed several more birds had joined the perch. The assembly turned out to be one of the most diverse I've ever dreamed: Indian Peafowl (hen), White-cheeked Turaco, Hyacinth Macaw, Blue-naped Mousebird, and a Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse.  Wow!

Hyacinth Macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus)
Image online here

Blue-naped Mousebird (Urocolius macrourus)
Photo Copyright 2009 - Doug Janson

Excited, I seized the opportunity and got many dream-photos of them all. When the enthusiasm subsided I noticed they were taking turns diving off the branch out of sight - presumably onto the ground.  When I moved the camera, I discovered they were all devouring a medium-sized, unidentifiable, carcass. Yeah, a little unnerving to say the least.

Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse (Pterocles exustus)
Image online here

The background then began to quickly morph into a cafeteria-like setting. With this change of scenery the birds scattered quickly.  As the dream was ending, I saw a new species walking along a counter top; a green-phase Budgerigar.

Budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus) - green-phase
Image online here


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