Thursday, March 21, 2013

In Which Three Bikers Have Close Encounters of the Bird Kind

Learning to use the timer in three steps. Step 1--is it on? (yes). Step 2--can you see a red light blinking? (yes, but it's been blinking a while). Step 3--success, the three bikers, Me, Matt and Ben.

Thanks, Amanda, for the title. Well, the winds weren’t too bad and the sun was shining, so I invited Matt and Ben for a Thursday afternoon ride.

I rode my bike, Ben rode his and Matt borrowed Audrey’s bike. Which I don’t think was his favorite, but he was still willing to ride. We set out shortly after 2.

It was cool, but very nice compared with yesterday.

I took them south on the Cedar River Trail, hoping that when we got to the river, we would find eagles. We succeeded way beyond my expectations.

Shortly after we passed the new Federal Courthouse, there in a tree between us and the river sat a very large, very majestic bird. She or he wasn’t in the mood for visitors, and the eagle leapt in to the air, spreading its 5-foot wingspan and launching into the sky over the river. It was probably just five feet from us. It was very much a close encounter of the bird kind.

As Ben said, when you see an eagle up close, you can easily believe that birds are closely related to dinosaurs. Matt noted that he’s glad he’s not a small creature, like a little dog. That bird looked big enough to abscond with such a critter.

Well, talk about good omens. The sun continued to shine brightly as we, jazzed by our first eagle encounter, crossed the river and headed east towards Mt. Trashmore.

And there, circling above us, being followed by a white gull, was another eagle. I attempted to shoot it’s picture, which was not easy with my point and shoot, but as you can see, I got at least one in-focus shot.

No doubt about it. What was circlng overhead was indeed a bald eagle.

We continued. In a woodsy areas, at the top of a cottonwood near the river, there was a third eagle. I stopped to grab my camera, indicated it to Ben and Matt, but the eagle was having none of it and, as these birds can, made a very quick exit.

Well, I think I might have seen more eagles the other week when I was on this stretch of trail alone—but most were distant. This was three clear and close eagle sightings. We were getting a bit chilled, especially Matt, who had not worn warm socks. California kid. We turned and headed home.

All in all, 2 ½ hours well spent. Despite the early spring cool, a nice ride.

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