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Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Hawk

Yesterday was one of those glorious blue sky, sunny days in Salt Lake.  The temperature reached an almost summer-like 80 degrees; far above normal.  In the morning I worked in the yard for an hour and a half or so.  As I raked and bagged leaves and limbs in the wild part of our yard, I became aware of movement on the still bare trees above me. A hawk, a large hawk, a magnificent hawk, 30 feet or so above me.  He was in a tree which was some 50 feet from me on the other side of our back yard creek.  The limb he was on ran almost horizontal to the ground.  I stopped my work and watched him. There was great motion as he seemed to be cleaning his feathers with his beak.  Then he sat quietly on the limb, his head moving from side to side as though he was looking for something.  Was he looking for food, a mate or was he just enjoying the day as I was.  After a few minutes he flew off of the limb upward into the azure sky.  I lost sight of him through all of the trees.  This area is a wild area with standing and fallen trees and limbs on both sides of the creek that meanders through the neighborhood. At one time, the Lovely Sharon owned all of the land I could see but she has sold off much of it leaving us with an acre or so.  It is not unusual to see hawks in the yard.  One year they built a nest and hatched their babies.

 I went back to work for a few minutes but stopped again to look up, hoping to spot the hawk.  He had not come back to the horizontal limb that seemed to be a perfect perch for him.  So I carefully looked at each of the dozens of trees around me.  These trees are still bare.  In the summer there are so many leaves it would be hard to spot the hawk unless he was moving.  But today, if he was anywhere near, there was a good chance I could see him.  Finally, I saw him; high in a tree that was maybe 100 feet from me and 50 or more feet off the ground.  He was doing the same movement that he had been doing early in the closer tree.  Although I assumed he was cleaning himself, I don’t for certain what he was doing.  He flew off and landed again on the horizontal limb that was closer to me and that provided me a clear view of him. 

I was intrigued as I watched him.  I regretted that I did not have my camera to zoom in on him to see his eyes and beak close up and to save an image of him for all time. But I had a rake in my gloved hand and not my camera. 

I love to look at and take photos of birds but unfortunately, I know little about them.  I wished my niece’s husband Tim was with me to tell me about what kind of hawk I was watching.  Tim is a knowledgeable birder. He has him own birding website -  Tim would know about this bird.  For me, all I could do was to watch the hawk and admire its beauty.  I continued to watch until he again flew away. I looked through the trees for a sign of him but he was gone, at least for now.

I returned to my yard work but with less enthusiasm than I had before I had seen the hawk. A feeling of loneliness came over me and I wished the Lovely Sharon had been here working in the yard with me, watching the hawk with me but she is in Palm Desert and I am in Salt Lake.  I worked for maybe 20 more minutes and then headed back up to the house with my rake and clippers in hand.  After arriving at the downstairs back patio I put my tools away in the storage shed.  I took off my dirty shoes and entered the house.  I should have worked longer but watching the hawk made me want to go do something other than yard work so I quit working.  It was his fault.   

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