Turkey Vultures!

I guess somewhere in the back of my mind I had heard of turkey vultures but they certainly weren’t a bird that commanded much thought from me. Certainly not like Bald Eagles or Osprey or Red Tailed Hawks. Vultures are just kind of….spooky.

I think one almost hit us as we were driving through Hot Springs S.D. I know it scared me half to death (I was the driver ) and it was one ugly bird. By the time I was able to pull over for a look it was long gone. It happened so fast.

My next encounter was on the RiverQuest cruise in Connecticut. We were looking for bald eagles and we spotted a huge bird soaring on the thermals. Everyone got very excited. Cameras came out and then the bombshell…turkey vulture no eagle.

That brings us up to the present. Amid my distractions over the Alaska Cruise info I have been keeping my eyes open for chances to grab pictures of the fall foliage especially the cranberry bogs with their bright red berries.

 Sis sent me a link to the Yankee Magazine and suggested I enter one of my pictures of Rocky in the Cutest Cat in New England Photo Contest. While I was doing that I saw the  Fall Foliage Photo Contest. Although the leaves are only just starting to “pink” here in southern MA, the cranberry bogs are in full color and some are already harvesting.

In my search for the “perfect” bog picture I found what appears to be an abandoned cranberry bog.

There’s plenty of cranberries but it is filled with stumps and old dead trees. Even though it looks like it’s neglected there was something attractive about the way it was going back to the wild. As I was taking pictures of the bog I happened to look up at the tops of the dead trees and what to my wondering eyes did appear…not 8 tiny reindeer but about 15 – 20 big , big birds!

Just like the river cruise my first reaction was EAGLES! My heart began to pound and I tried to get a better look. They all had their heads tucked under their wings and against the cloudy sky I could only make out the silhouettes, not plumage or details. Then as I watched the one at the very top raised its head. As if on signal so did most of the others and they were clearly Not Eagles. They were Turkey Vultures and I couldn’t help but think of that old Saturday morning cartoon with the 3 vultures on the dead tree.

I remember the slow talking Beaky Buzzard from LooneyToons (Nope..nope…nope)

 and I think there was a buzzard in Jungle Book

and of course Vultures are prominent this time of year along with Ravens and black cats and witches.

In any case I didn’t realize that vultures roost in large flocks like that or that they resemble their cartoon caricatures so closely!

 I’m told that the flocks of vultures will stay pretty close to their roost so I may have a chance to try again to capture this in pictures.

 I need a little better light and a little longer lens.  I can see a great Halloween shot in my future!

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