Saturday, January 20, 2007

Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

Thud. Thud. Thud.

I ventured out to a new birding spot today.
A few miles from our house, I spotted a turkey vulture sitting across from our favorite Italian restaurant, eating a deer carcass. I assume THAT wasn't on the menu.

TV eating at Mama Vitas

tim hortons
This photo is for Rondeau Ric...a Tim Hortons...

monarch lane
...and it was on Mon@rch Lane.

Thud. Thud. Thud.

On the way to this hot birding spot, I passed a gravel pit and saw this first glance, I thought it might be a immature bald eagle.
Nope...a dark morph red-tailed hawk.
Thud. Thud. Thud.
Know what that sound is? My head hitting my desk. Repeatedly.
I went to turn around (I was not trying to trespass...I swear on the life of my blog...), lost sight of the hard surface, and found myself in about two feet of wet sand.

front wheel stuck
It wasn't just my tires. The frame of the car was sitting in the sand.

sand tracks
I assumed that under the sand, there must be a hard surface.

pulling out
I called our car insurance "roadside assistance" people. After I told them where I was, they told me that our policy wouldn't cover a tow truck because I was too far from the road.

Here's part of the rut that the car left behind.
I am getting a headache from all this thudding.
I wasted a very large chunk of the afternoon in this quagmire, and sped off after paying the tow truck driver (he used a winch, and when I told my father-in-law, he asked, "How did SHE get you out?) Sigh.
And Geoff was not a happy camper about this, let me tell ya.

I only had about an hour of daylight left.
The boardwalk into these awesome wetlands was closed due to the high water.

bird blind

Look! I found a stage where the ducks can put on shows!
big ol feeders Spring Valley

The Ohio Wildlife folks have put up some groovy feeders here! These were about 5 feet long.
brown and white fur
Walking in the woods alone doesn't bother me, until I start thinking too hard.
I found a pile of white fur off the path...then found this chunk of white and brown fur a few feet away. White-tailed deer? And what ripped it out? I ruled out owls (too small to eat a whole deer), and thought suddenly, "Oh! I bet it was coyotes."
And the next thought: "Time to go. Now."
I hope our lovely Science Chimp chimes in on this one.

And this looks very much like a Wood Thrush, but it's more streaky than spotted. And no eye ring. And the tails too long... And aren't they supposed to be south right now? Anyone want to give it a try?

spring valley sign
I will definitely be going back to this place. It reminded me of Magee Marsh.
And I am never going into a gravel pit again.
We are in for a real winter day tomorrow...a "snowy mix" as the newfolks say. A few inches of snow and maybe a bit of sleet.
And here in Cincinnati, that can only mean one thing to the minds of the public:
"We are all going to die!"


The Swami said...

Weather Central just said: RUN FOR IT!!

That means we could get from 0-3 inches of snow.

Anonymous said...

Me thinks it is a Fox Sparrow.

What a day you had! I suggest you take some ibuprofen for your head(thud) and plan to stay home tomorrow. :)

commenting in the middle of my night shift (0307AM!) and I get "nosdqhnx" :0

Rachel said...

I agree, looks like a Fox sparrow, the naturalist at the Nature Center in Germantown pointed one out to us not long ago at their feeder stations. That looks like a great new birding spot!

Mary said...

I was just another day in the life of Susan Gets Native. Loved the story but I know you could have done without a tow today. Like Lynne said, I think you need to stay inside today and take some Advil :) Looks like it could be a fox sparrow.

NatureWoman said...

Owww! My head just hurts for you! Holy wet sand girlfriend you are brave. You really need a truck or a four wheeler so you can go where you wanna.
Bummer I wanted to see what you would find in the wetlands! The duck stage is cool!
Oh yeah, I hate it when you start seeing bad signs (fur, dead things, etc.) and start thinking too much.
Can't wait to see what you find at the Spring Valley Wildlife Area - if you don't die with the couple inches of snow you get today.
I'm just glad you got back okay!

Ruth said...

I drove too close to the edge of the road once in order to get a picture of an ice rainbow. Deep snow, $120 tow...smarten up Ruth. We have a good 6-8 inches of snow on the ground here, still not too much for a walk in the fields without snowshoes.

katdoc said...

Oh my dear Susan - I am so, so, so sorry for your disasterous trip. Glad you made it out OK.

I agree, Fox Sparrow. It is our largest sparrow (excepting the towhee) and does look "thrush-like." Yes, Wood Thrush have gone south by now, but we do have Hermit Thrush here in winter. They are somewhat similar to the Fox Sparrow, including the reddish color of the tail, but Hermit Thrushes are, well - hermits. They are usually prety secretive, not sitting out in the open like your fox sparrow.

I read the article in the paper about the Camp Denison garvel pits, aka "Grand Valley." (Now, ain't that just "grand?") It says that Indian Hill wants to "develope this area for nature." Well, if they hadn't noticed, Nature was doing just fine on her own, without man's stupid "development." They say that turkeys and a bald eagle have been spotted here since work began - like THEY are responsible for attracting the eagle, who was really there all along. And the boat you saw - they are dropping weighted Christmas trees into the water to serve as hiding places for small fish (so far, so good) in order to "develope" (there's that word again) the area for fishing. FISHING?!?!?!?! ACCKK!!!!

Buh-bye, nature. Hello, manufactured environment.

~Kathi, who is sorry she ever admonished you for walking around the pits

Anonymous said...

Oh Susan. What an awful experience! Your next car needs to be a Suburu Forester or better. Although that much wet sand might not have worked even with all wheel drive. Buuuuuuummmmmmmer!

Everyone has chimed in on the Fox Sparrow -- that was my first though but they are so different from our Fox Sparrows that its hard for me to be sure.

I'm surprised at the idea of coyotes being a threat to a person though. Do they really go after big game? Our coyotes are really timid around people.

But, I'm no expert on them and would enjoy being enlightened! :)

LauraHinNJ said...

What were you thinking driving out there???


Glad you and the car made it out. Hope your DH isn't too mad.

vicki said...

Susan- Hummers were made for you!

I enjoyed thudding along with you on this wild ride- you do such a great job of popping pictures in right when we could benefit from a visual. Thank you for that.

Don't die. Stay in your 'mamas, curl up with a good book and enjoy the weather.

Susan Gets Native said...

I love all of you.

I agree with everyone's opinion of fox sparrow. I am not the best when it comes to sparrows (i.e. little brown jobs) and the thrush-look threw me.
Everyone notice Vicki said that "hummers were made for me"? How do I feel about Hummers, y'all?

Laura: My reason left me as I tried to turn around. I don't do really stupid things very often, so this will do me for about 10 years.
We got four inches of snow, and I have a killer cold. So I am in floppy sweats, a huge t-shirt and I am sticking to the couch while Geoff has all the fun, shoveling the driveway.

Anonymous said...

Ha. Funny post, all that thudding. Oh, well. Live and learn and pay for the tow. That's life.

You make me miss Ohio, though my roots are in Cleveland...

We're getting our 'wintry mix' right now. It's funny; all evening church activities cancelled, and we have high hopes for a 'snow day' tomorrow. It's hysterical because there's NOTHING OUT THERE! I like your version:


Science Chimp said...

Your posse's got ya covered on the fox sparrow, for sure! That's a nice early record. We usually get them in late Feb/early March, but this isn't a usual winter.

I'm calling that hair part of a white-tailed deer tail. Without seeing the scene, I don't really get it, but I'm pretty sure the deer had to die to lose that much tail. You find clumps of hair when they're shedding but these are clearly attached to skin, ow!

I smell a human. They'll kill a deer and take just its antlers, and leave the rest for the animals. And hunting season is not long past.

Sorry about your tow. Arrrrghhhh. I'll be thinking about you on SNOW DAY (silent scream). Good luck with the wet togs in the front hall.

mon@rch said...

without a doubt, Fox Sparrow! They are very large in size and one of my faves! BTW: Love your monarch sign but sorry that it directed you towards the sand! ugg, that happened to me once but luckily I was on the edge (2 wheels off) of the pavement and some guy had chains with him!! It is amazing how quickly you sink to the ground! Too bad I wasn't 4 wheel drive (but that might not have helped you too much!

Rondeau Ric said...

It took me 10 minutes to stop laughing so I ccould respponndd. giggle, snort.
Been there and done that.
"Uh, you backed of the road?"
"Uh, why?"
'I was looking at a bird'
"A what"
'A bird'

Some days you can't win.
Thanks for the Tims. Where did you find it?

Susan Gets Native said...

It was so loud, that fox sparrow. And so Thrush-like. Like I said before, sparrows aren't my forte. Raptors are where it's at!
I laughed out loud when I saw the sign. And instantly thought of you.
I found the Tim's near the interstate, about 30 miles from where I wanted to be. Sigh. Glad I gave you a chuckle.

Susan Gets Native said...

Thanks. It was jarring, seeing a pile of white fur, just off the path. No bones, no blood. Just fur. CREEEEPY.