Final Lament

Final Lament

I paddle along a river on a quiet morning. Except for the hoarse “kee-eeeee-arr” of a hawk high overhead, the air is as still as the water. Drifting between the shadow of overhanging trees and the light of open air, I see a lone Mourning Dove on a branch of a dead oak at the edge of a small bluff. The silence is broken as it seems to address me with its lamenting call. As plaintive as it sounds, there is a comforting tone to it, perfect for the serenity of the morning.

I drift past, leaving it well behind me, when, far away, an interrupted cry reaches me. Dragging my paddle to the side of my kayak, I swing around to see the hawk dropping to the ground beneath the oak, dove tightly clutched, reminding me of the fragile nature of my surroundings.

This bit of flash fiction is my response to Prosery #1, presented by Björn at dVerse. With Prosery, the challenge is to write a piece of flash fiction with a 144-word limit. Included in the bit of prose is to be a complete line from a poem. For Prosery #1, the line to be included is “When far away an interrupted cry” from Robert Frost’s “Acquainted with the Night.” My flash fiction also meets the additional challenge of hitting the 144-word mark, exactly.

Image source: The Cornell Lab of Ornithology (edited here)

Passing Glance – #writephoto

Passing Glance

Passing Glance

What is the attraction of meadow flowers
to a passing hawk,
except to see them sway
and hear them rustle when there is no breeze
to make them dance?

Only then will the hawk pay those flowers
any heed, turning back
to touch them lightly as it collects the prey
that has had the misfortune of savoring
such beauty at a most inopportune moment.

This is my response to New photo prompt “Wings” and last week’s “Beginnings” round-up – #writephoto, from Sue Vincent at Daily Echo, with her photo.

writephoto

Looking for Owls in All the Wrong Places

Looking for Owls in All the Wrong Places

Having thoroughly offended a family of red-tailed hawks, I must take it all back. I have seen them before, flying in the vicinity – always at a distance, usually at a great height – but I’ve never seen them in that nest before.

(Clicking on each photo will open a tab with a larger view.)

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Last year, I took a photo of a great horned owl in a large nest located fifty feet above a river. While kayaking, I had seen it flying back and forth between the river and a stand of trees 200 feet away, and felt lucky to get a photo of just the top of its head, up in the nest. That photo is in my post from Wednesday, along with a new photo of a parent and chicks in that same nest.

Yesterday, I went kayaking with the purpose of taking more photos, before the nest would be obscured by too many leaves. On my first pass, there was no activity at the nest. I continued paddling downstream, and returned 90 minutes later to see an adult landing in the nest. As I got closer, I was able to see that it is not an owl. It’s a red-tailed hawk.

Looking for Owls in All the Wrong Places_1

Looking for Owls in All the Wrong Places_2

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For the next hour, I sat and took took photos, mostly of the head of that adult. While framing those shots, the other parent flew into the frame and landed on the nest. From the repeated motion of its head, it would seem likely that it was tending to the young that I could not see.

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They definitely are red-tailed hawks, so I humbly extend my apologies to them.

high above river
great horned owl leaves nest empty
young hawks wait for food

Owl Be Seeing You_4

Ken G.

Osprey Circles High

Osprey with Catch

Osprey Circles High

As I paddle downstream, a raptor tracks my progress from a tall sycamore. Taking flight as I approach, its wings lifting with broad strokes, it catches a thermal that takes it higher and higher, gliding as it watches. Taking sight on movement in the water, it starts an aerial dive, striking its prey just below the surface. The great bird flies away in a ballet of wings and fins as I continue to paddle, thankful for the beauty of nature.

osprey circles high
hitting water in steep dive
fish struggles in vain

Frank Tassone’s Hawk Challenge
Image: Osprey with catch, over the Osage River, Missouri