Watch out for the Dinosaurs!!!

We got a TINY bit of snow, but the “snowpocalypse” that filled the news was never expected to hit the San Luis Valley. Hopefully the day will remain ugly enough that Bear and I can go traipse around without encountering earnest crane tourists with their dogs.

I got a little miffed yesterday (impotently so, as always) seeing a photo on the Monte Vista Crane Festival group on Facebook in which it seemed the photographer had gone “out of bounds.” She had captured a very interesting thing, though, hundreds of cranes lined up like soldiers in preparation for a very orderly flight — in shifts, or waves. She asked what was going on. I had a good idea what might have been happening, and I ventured a response. Later one of the wild life biologists chimed in and said I had been right. I felt like it was a little victory somehow, not just for me, but, strangely, for Goethe who advocated for direct observation vs. laboratory experiments.

The biologist also chided the photographer for having been in a closed area and mentioned the cranes’ behavior could have been caused by the photographer intruding into one of their hangouts.

Last spring as I was walking through the Refuge for nine millionth time, I realized that one of the the yellow-headed blackbirds who was often closest to the trail was no longer flying away when Bear and I approached. I understood, again, that predictability is safety for wild animals. I’ve learned this over and over in my hiking/walking life. At the end of crane season last spring the cranes were no longer avoiding flying over me. Not because they had grown to like me, but because they saw me as part of their place at a certain time of day.

For most of us humans, wild animals are a novelty. I think any wild animal we encounter wants to know what we’re going to do to them. Some of them shoot first and ask questions later. Even cranes. They are large, powerful birds with big feet and sharp pointy things at the ends of their toes. Essentially, they are velociraptors.

Like other animals, humans are acquisitive, and people who come to see the cranes are really here to acquire photos of the cranes. I have been that person, too, and I love seeing the wonder that the cranes inspire. But I think it’s important to realize that 1) these are wild animals who can hurt you (and would), 2) they deserve distance that the wildlife biologists — who KNOW things — have provided for them, and 3) sometimes a camera and what it represents (the future) comes between the human and the object of the photo, keeping the human from really SEEING what they’re taking photos of in this all-to-brief, passing moment.

Anyhoo… along with the cranes are large phalanxes of Canada geese and several kinds of ducks. It’s funny that though these are splendid birds, too, people don’t take their photos.

19 thoughts on “Watch out for the Dinosaurs!!!

  1. I always like to get a good capture of something, but it ticks me off when another photographer goes ‘out of bounds’ to get the ‘great shot.’ There’s a reason for boundaries. Martha, that drawing is beautiful.

    • Thank you, Lois. I like to get a good photo, too, but I try to remember where I am. I guess that’s why a lot of my birds are small specks in the distance! 😀

  2. What a shame that humans always seem to know better than the rules that are scientifically set out for the protection of nature (and of the humans involved)! I’m glad you responded, and even more that you were affirmed by a biologist! Have a great day with Bear traipsing in the ugly day 🙂 !

    • We had a beautiful service in the church of the Big Empty. There were a few thoughtful and kind parishioners out there, too. One of them gave Bear cookies. Maybe it was communion 😀 The cranes were extremely active and I finally spied an eagle high up in the sky. We get all thrilled by stuff the cranes are doing and they’re just trying to stay safe.

      • I’m so glad you had a good ‘service’ today — and just a few thoughtful others there too1 The cranes are motivated by instinct, and safety is one of the strongest of those — how wonerful that you saw the eagle that was causing their activity

          • One of the people I ride with regularly (or used to, and may again someday) has his calendar at work marked with “church” every Wednesday after 3. That is when we ride.

            • Yep. I dreamed the other night that I was able to just get on my bike and ride. I have a feeling that’s not just a dream, and if it isn’t… Only downside, no riding buddies and I can’t take the dogs. But they and I will have to adjust.

  3. I had heard that CO was gettng snow but I hadn’t hear about the “snowpocalypse. I am glad it wasn’t too much for you. We are supposed to get some snow on Tuesday not a lot but enough to annoy people.

    I love it when people think the rules don’t apply to them but to everyone else.

  4. I’m sure “a dusting” was not sufficient in Bears opinion… Being in the Big Empty is probably as close to God as one can physically get. I went to church “virtually” since I’m being extra careful to avoid exposures. I’m a wonk so following the rules is part of my DNA. I get more than miffed with rule breakers.
    BTW the drawing is very vibrant – it almost breathes and moves!!

    • I haven’t had such a good service in the Church of the Big Empty in a while. And yeah. God is all around, showing me things out there. It’s like that old hymn, “In the Garden” but the garden is the natural world, not my cultivated patch, except, of course, the beans. Did the book arrive?

  5. Here in my little town, we have to deal with elk. There is no doubt about how big an elk is. I see people (tourists) who think they’re watching puppies. And elk don’t like aggressive dogs when they’re loose. Those dogs die. I guess people don’t understand “wild.”

  6. I’m still undecided about cameras. I did a lot of traveling in my youth and never owned a camera. I still have pictures in my mind. I borrowed a camera for one trip to another continent. I do like some of the pictures I have from that trip. I bought a camera when I was about 60 (using reward points from my credit card) and I just bought a long lens for it, so I guess I’m moving toward the dark side; partly to illustrate a blog, since I don’t draw and paint as you do. Now that I have a cell phone it means I have a camera most of the time.

    • I think photographs are great, but for me there’s a point. My X took most of the photos I have of life in China but he didn’t like it there. I sometimes felt that the camera and the fact that he was always on the lookout for a photo op got between him and the actual world, but I tend to overthink some things. I need a new phone and the one I want (and won’t buy) has a great camera and a huge price tag! So…I’m going out more and more often with my camera in my pocket.

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