I slept in a little this morning and woke to a world painted in shades of blue and salmon. It was much more subdued than our usual sunrise but no less beautiful. Maybe Mother Nature is wearing her Sunday dress. If so, the minister in the pulpit is the golden eagle perched atop Tower Rock. What a majestic silhouette he presents!
When I went out to feed the animals I noticed a flurry of agitated magpies about a quarter mile away. Magpie and raven activity is a great indicator of predator presence and being aware of bird activity is one of the secrets to successful wildlife watching. In this case I was frustrated by a large boulder that was blocking my view of whatever was upsetting the birds. By the time I finished feeding the commotion was over so I decided to walk down and see if I could find fresh tracks to explain the earlier hue and cry. What I found was a few fresh remains of a rock dove. The Falcon Strikes Again! (I just had to say that. Doesn't it sound dramatic? It brings to mind the cover of a DC comic book.) Anyway, I was sorry to have missed the event. I don't enjoy seeing anything killed but to see a falcon in action is really something. They streak out of the sky at phenomenal speeds and punch their victim out of the air. Then they follow their prey to the ground and finish them off. At least the end comes quickly for the pigeons.
Yesterday was a day of several great surprises. I got the notice saying my "Hollyhocks and Hummingbirds" coat has been accepted to the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival (MAQS). This is the first time I have applied to this show and the first time I have entered my quilted clothing anywhere so I am pretty excited about the acceptance. Then, yesterday evening, I noticed Pepper running full speed to the side of her corral. Knowing there had to be something disturbing her I grabbed the camera and quietly opened the front door. There, just 50 feet away, was one of the coyotes. She turned and looked right into my eyes as I started snapping. I am really mad at myself because I was so excited to see her there that I didn't pay any attention to my shutter speed and out of a dozen photos only the two of her rear end are in focus! I am also a little worried because I only saw one dog and they always seem to travel as a pair. I heard shots in the distance yesterday morning and I hope her mate has not been killed. Coyotes are regarded much the same as rats to most ranchers. In fact there is a bounty on their heads so shooting a coyote is actually profitable, unlike killing a rat. I'll be watching for the pair for the next few days. I hope I am wrong and he was just over the hill and out of sight.