As I sat down to paint this morning, movement in the field on the other side of the pond caught my attention. The distance, about 250 yards, from the window was a bit far for a nice shot. Tim and I quietly slipped around the south side of the dam, then belly crawled to get within 100 yards. This nice black-tailed buck in rut was watching a doe by one of the lower ponds.
We must have been a sight, laying on our bellies, in the rain soaked grass, stalking the deer for a photo. The buck did not notice us at all. He was captivated by her scent. She was nervous, people crawling through the grass and taking aim her way was more than she could stand. She bolted up the hill and over the ridge with him in hot pursuit.
The black birds hop from log to log. All the while, tilting their heads to and fro. Then after a brief pause they reach into the bark, and with surgical precision, pluck out a squirming grub. Then with heads thrown back they swallow the grub with the ease of an Olympic gymnast dismounting from a balance beam.
Hunting grubs on the burned logs.
This goes on all day in our log yard. As the logs from the fire salvage operations pour into the yard, so do the black birds. The swarm the logs for this feast of opportunity. Sometimes they engage in black bird battles for dominion over some particularly grub infested log. I think these birds get fatter every day. Soon they may not be able to fly.
Burned logs delivered to the log yard.
Salvage logging continues at break neck speed. The beetles invading the logs are an indicator of the oncoming decay. Next will be stain, splitting and then rot. Time and decay are our enemies. The black birds are a constant reminder of the ticking clock.
Ponderosa burn fire salvage. Where have all the squirrels gone?
So many of the loggers I know have big personalities. It only makes sense that they might have a little something that makes a big statement, or in this case a BIG something that makes a BIG statement. Why not have a vintage skid cat complete with logs and a chainsaw carved equipment operator of redwood.
Some days I need to experience the beauty in my world. Today was one of those days. Today was exceptional. Here are some pictures I would like to share with you. Today the sun shone warm. Tomorrow a storm is coming.