Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hummingbird Delight

I was driving along a small suburban street. A median appeared in the middle of the road, crowded with tall bushes. As I was passing, I decided to slow down to examine for birds. I was not disappointed. Immediately, I espied a small green-backed hummingbird hovering in front of a red-orange tubular flower. I never got any better look than that, as it quickly zipped away, so I'll refrain from speculating on the ID.

A leucistic hummingbird, in all it's pale glory.

The excitement didn't stop there though. While I was straining my eyes, and craning my neck out the driver's side window for the first hummer, along came another. I was startled by a leucistic (mostly white, but not fully albino) hummer zooming towards me. As quickly as it came, it stopped and hovered just a couple of feet away from my face. I stared at it, awestruck. It hung there, like a Christmas ornament. Thankfully, I wasn't on a busy street. Eventually I was able to notice faint bluish purple on the the top side of it's head, along with some gray patches on the back. As far as I could tell this was a Violet-crowned Hummingbird. Neeeeto!

Violet-crowned Hummingbird (Amazilia violiceps)
Image online

I then pulled my head into the car, ready to move on. I was still parked in the middle of the road after all. The ghostly hummer advanced, and grew as it sidled up to my window! The dream faded with the scene of this hummingbird, now the size of a crow, attempting to squeeze into the window as it was closing. A trifle unnerving.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Vulture-led Field Trip

A dead gull, species indeterminant. Now imagine your backyard full of these - yeesh!

This is a dream my brother Jon had a few days ago... It began with him observing a friend, who's in a band, get in to an argument with a member of a different band. The row was regarding who's band is better. The scene then skipped to him overlooking the backyard, from the bathroom (from the second floor of our parents' house). Surprise! Jon then witnessed scads of gulls in the backyard, grounded, on their backs - "taxidermy dead". Upon going downstairs, he noticed the wall to the outside wasn't there. Newspapers were strewn around the yard burning quickly. They all vanished by the time he arrived at ground level.

Upon reaching the stair landing a gigantic, "linebacker-sized", grayish-white vulture swooped down and landed in the backyard. (The closest real-world species, is the Cape Vulture.) It began to peck at the remains of the dead gulls. After scavenging, the vulture stood up and flew away. It flew left, up the gentle slope of the hill they live on, around the neighborhood water tower a few hundred yards away, then to the south out of sight. While the vulture was still visible it appeared to attack more gulls that appeare in the air, alive. After the vulture departed the gulls drifted to circle over the backyard.

Cape Vulture (Gyps coprotheres)
Image online here

The friend, from the argument, reappeared - with binoculars and ready for birding. Others people are there now too; binos-at-the-ready. My bro' joined them as they walked through the backyard toward the forest beyond. The vulture flew back, and landed close to the birders. The vulture wore khakis - looking more like a person in a vulture suit. He was holding binoculars with human hands. Then he began to lead the field trip, spotting and pointing out birds. "Vulture-man" explained the reason he was eating the gulls was because he, in fact, is a vulture. (pay no attention to vocal ability, hands, and chinos?!?)

The last part of the dream my brother found a tiny bird on the ground. It appeared a nestling, all white and downy. He could not tell if it was alive because it sat so still.


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