Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The hawk's afternoon...

...or l'après-midi d'un rapace !*

Cruising toward the I-15 on-ramp after work this afternoon, I saw a hawk dropping out of the sky near my road bordering undeveloped land. Its peculiar action drew my attention. Despite my speed, as it was on a corner that I have to take, I saw just about the entire movement.

It fairly floated by the time it was 10 feet above the ground with its tip feathers extended and talons deployed.

As I passed by within probably 20 feet of the spot, it settled on prey I could not see by reason of the ground being elevated just a bit above the roadway and the dry grasses being also just a little too high. Though there were no other vehicles on the street, I had to turn my attention back to my motorcycle: I did not see the mouse or rabbit that supplied the ensuing feast.

It was pretty remarkable, just the sort of thing you'd not think twice about after seeing it on PBS Nature, but this was live and within a few feet of me.

* Meant to evoke Debussy's tone poem, Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune and Mallarmé's verses that inspired it and which also speak of "prey."

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