Friday, March 02, 2007

Friday Fun with Raptors!

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The storms were severe in our region last night as shown by the sunrise I saw this morning on the way to work. Those are not mountains below. They’re leftover storm clouds. Small tornados, flooding, and power outages made a mess of things and I’m thankful that I was spared of any trouble.

A song was stuck in my head this morning. Most of us are familiar with it… "I….don’t wanna work. I wanna bang on a drum all day.” Other Friday songs were in my head and I knew early on that I needed to get out of the office. I arranged the piles of tasks on my desk and worked feverishly to gain control of the load. The sun was high, the breeze was cool, and I decided to hit the road at 1:30 p.m.

In my car with the window down, the radio station pampered me with “Love Shack” and Sheryl Crow’s “All I Wanna Do (is have some fun)”. That was quite appropriate! I had three hours on my own. 'Twas heaven.

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This is where I landed. My first visit to the Carolina Raptor Center. I’m so glad I visited and it’s not far from home, located at the base of Lake Norman. The walking trail was over a mile long and I saw at least twenty-five raptors in aviaries donated by large corporations as well as private donors. There’s so much to do and see in this preserve called Latta Plantation Nature Center. It includes wildlife habitats and an equestrian center, as well as the Raptor Center. Mary will be visiting often. She also might sign up to volunteer some hours per month.


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Two bald eagles were born last Thursday at the Raptor Center. I was wondering why the news media was in the parking lot. When talking to a volunteer I learned that last night’s storms killed both the babies – they probably died of hypothermia. The nest was on the ground and they were swept away in rushes of water. The Center was sickened by the tragedy.


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My reflection can be seen on the trail map.


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In low-lying parts of the one-mile trail, I sloshed through a few inches of water. It was worth it. This photo is loaded with different reflections on the "water trail". My feet were sopping wet but I was able to see raptors that looked me over as I did them. I must admit I was so surprised at the sweetness in their faces, knowing how fierce they are in the wild. Some perched pretty and some hid farther back away from me.


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At the end of my hike, I visited the eagle aviary. The size of it shocked me.

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Bald Eagle. Wow. It’s hard to focus through fencing and wire mesh. Most of my photos were trash-worthy but I have many that are OK.

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Bald Eagle with an itch. I counted four of them in their aviary.

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Golden Eagle. Gorgeous. At least four in their aviary.

There are many more photos to come! I’ll offer more over the weekend.

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The coral and pink pastel sunset reflects the way I feel ~ serene but tired, knowing the weekend is ahead of me to included scrubbing toilets. But I called the shots today and I'm worth it.

16 comments:

Lynne said...

You ARE worth it Mary!!

Your photos today are

A W E S O M E !!!!!

Wish I was with you today, no blue skies here. We all had a snow day (kids and Art too) and spent the morning digging out from under 17 inches- not counting the drifting...

Dee said...

These are lovely.

Laurie said...

Great photos, Mary. So glad you took off and went where your heart (and camera) told you to. So sorry to hear that the eaglets died though.

NatureWoman said...

Oh Mary, I'm glad you were spared of any of the wicked storms, too. Ohhhh, thank you for showing your Golden Eagle photo! I just learned about them last summer. And your Bald Eagle photos are gorgeous, too. What fun you had this afternoon. I am sooooo itching to get outside it isn't funny.
That's so sad about the two baby bald eagles. Poor babies.
Your sunset photo is gorgeous. Good for you for taking time for *you* today!
I can't wait to see what Susan has to say about your post!

Body Soul Spirit said...

I have never seen a raptor centre in our area. What great pictures you got. The sky shots are lovely. Storm clouds do make life interesting.
Ruth

Susan Gets Native said...

Yay! Raptors!

You will not regret volunteering there, Mary. Give it a shot.

Poor eaglets. But it's early enough in the season, and the parents will probably try again.
I think the pictures through the wire turned out quite nice.
Eagles need alot of room, don't they? Legally (on a permit) they need to have a minimum of 100 feet of flight cage. That's big!

Annie in Austin said...

You managed to capture the raptors perfectly. We have some hawks, but mostly see Turkey vultures here - look wonderful when swooping in the air currents, but not so handsome close up.

You probably know this? That last month some Whooping crane fledglings drowned in a Florida tornado - they're endangered and in an attempt to establish a new colony, some Whooping Crane group brought them down with an ultralight plane as a surrogate leader. The humans involved with the project were devastated, but will go on with their work.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Mary said...

Lynne, more photos to come. I can't believe you are still having "snow days".

Dee, welcome! Thanks for stopping by.

Laurie, sometimes it's good to break away from the routine. There was a somber mood at the center today.

Pam, I hope you get out to play soon. Won't be long!

Ruth, those storm clouds were wicked looking, alright!

Susan, the eagle aviary looked like the largest batting cage I've ever seen.

Annie, I didn't know about the cranes. Very sad for those who worked so hard...

Sandy said...

Mary, I thought of you when I saw the nc map on the weather channel. Those are mean-looking clouds in the background, for sure. I grew up in Oklahoma, aka tornado alley, and still have family there, so don't take storms lightly.
Too bad about the eagles, I know that it is nature, but still hard to take.

Trixie said...

Dango, Mary! What intense clouds. They really do look like a mountain range. What kind of terrain is around your area?

Zoey wants to start volunteering at Bird TLC here, I just need to find time to fit it in. My friend, Laura, spends her Mondays there, but I am working then. We will work it out!

Thanks for sharing your afternoon with us.

Laura said...

Hi Mary, I'm really glad you stopped by my blog! Loved seeing your pictures on here, especially the eagle photos. It sounds like a great place to volunteer and the photo ops would be amazing!

I'll be back to see the rest of the pics!

mon@rch said...

Looks like a great day you had! If you have time, do volunteer! I had worked at the National Aviary for 2 years and got in over 600 volunteer hours! Some of the best days of my life!

Mary said...

Sandy, it was an ugly storm - not the worst I've seen but the warnings were worth paying attention to!

Trixie, our terrain is high and low lands. We live on a golf course.... Driving - uphill and downhill. We live on a steep hill, too, and I'm afraid of tripping down the driveway and breaking my teeth.

Laura, glad you visited! I'll post more soon. Maybe I'll include that heron stinker.

Mon@rch, you were at the National Aviary? Cool. I don't have much spare time but I'll volunteer some hours each month.

LauraHinNJ said...

Looks like a much better way to spend an afternoon than at work.

Wish the raptor center by me was close enough to volunteer at on a regular basis. I transport bird for them whenever they call, but it's almost a 2 hour ride.

Hope to hear more about it! More pics please.

Anonymous said...

Mary! These pictures are awesome! The cloud mountain range is eerie and beautiful. I'm so glad you had some time to renew your spirits and that you know and believe 'that you're worth it.' Amen :0)
Cathy - form Looking up

Sonia said...

Great photos, Mary! The Bald Eagle is just gorgeous!