Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Bears, birds and a lazy afternoon with shade

I've got the National Geographic grizzly cam open in another window and the headphones on so my head if filled with the roar of a wild Alaskan river and the corner of my right eye with giant bears fishing its rapids. As usual there are plenty of seagulls hanging around on clean-up detail. It kind of surprises me that the bears don't swipe at them, especially when the birds crowd within inches while they strip a freshly killed fish carcass, but I guess it's ancient bear wisdom that seagulls are quick and not worth the effort. A bald eagle is also on the river today and that does seem to bother the bears. No doubt the going rap on eagles is that they are pushy bastards you have to keep an eye on. The grizzlies will be at the river all day, just like yesterday, and the day before yesterday, deep in ice water, amid the swirling gulls, eyes trained on the rapids, occasionally lunging into the swill and coming up with a fish.

In the corner of my left eye it's another scene, the Bird Park. Mr. Lee put the off-road trailer out there, the one he got in Idaho for a couple of weeks ago and the birds have claimed its shadow for themselves. They stand in it for hours nibbling in the grass, taking quick forays into the hot sun for a drink or a dip or a poop in one of the tubs. Periodically one arches its wings to get a little air under them. I'm sure it's hot in those down vests. I've been scattering bits of goodies in the weeds so, the birds not chilling in the 90 degree shade, are hoping through the bramble looking for treats. The house special today was a left over fish stick from last night's dinner. Yum!

Oops, a bear just grabbed a huge fish and is casually stripping it as a crow looks on longingly. He hops towards the bear, then jumps away but can't get his eyes off the feast. It's a huge bear with a big, sagging belly. Perhaps she's pregnant but I don't think this is the right season. I don't know. More likely, she's stuffed with fish. The crow is getting bolder and, at the same time defending his territory, running at sea gulls that land near by but you can see all this yourself, that is if it's between 1 and 5 pm Alaska time during the salmon run.

I graduated to a crutch the other day and started physical therapy for my knee. My god! Until now, I have completely pampered it but the therapist showed no mercy. He gave me one week to straighten it out myself. After that, he promised to straighten it for me. Shit. The first day and I was already yelling in pain. He is a nice guy though in spite of the torture but you can believe I'm doing the exercises he gave me. I don't want my poor knee straightened for me. Plus, I've got to get it straight or I'll walk with a damn limp the rest of my life.

A magpie who was here this morning just showed up again, this time with a friend. I recognize him because on each side he has a distinguishing little patch of gray feathers, but faster than I can write it, they're gone. It's slim pickings around here in the afternoon.

YouTube: Bird Park Afternoon - 00:06 seconds

So that's it. A lazy afternoon rambling. Nothing more. It's a quiet day here in Nevada. The quail will be by soon. They prefer visiting in the afternoon but, although I'm sure Bush has done plenty of things since I last checked that I could rage about, I just had a lovely baked potato with soy sour cream and salad and am feeling pretty mellow, like the bears. At the moment, the web cam is doing a close-up of that same bear with the sagging belly. She has another fish. Before that they did a close-up of a grizzly snoozing on the rive bank. Seems the bears have had a good day.

I did just finish an excellent book, Crashing the Gates, but I'll save the details for another time. It's worth a post of its own.

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