Saturday, November 17, 2007

No Turkeys

Despite the time of year, this post is not about Thanksgiving.

A small flock of wild turkeys has moved into our neighborhood. I've seen them twice now - both times, en route to somewhere else and with no camera to hand. The first time, they were ambling down the middle of my city street at 5 o'clock in the evening, about 5 of them, and I saw them as I came out of the house to go to water aerobics. I tried to get a shot (from across the street) with the soi-disant camera in my cell phone, but it was not up to the challenge.

The second time (yesterday), my husband and I were driving toward the freeway around 8:30 in the morning, and there they all were, by the community playing field
fence, up the canyon. Still no camera except the cell phone, and besides we had an appointment to get to. But I clearly saw the comb on the tom turkey, and the color shading on his feathers.

Now, I really want a photo of these critters. This is why I bought that 300mm lens. They are elegant birds, long and lean, standing somewhere between knee and hip high to an adult human; and it amazes me that they're willing to come this far into civilization. The community playing field is right next to the elementary school, and the whole area was full of kids, and parents, and commuters on their way to work via the back route to the freeway. They obviously don't mind people; so I'm stalking them, camera in hand, in the morning and evening. No luck today, only pigeons and sparrows; although I did discover that someone has plastered the base of about two sections of the fence with corn kernels and some other kind of large brown seed.

Shades of my late mother-in-law, who used to be a regular customer of the feed store in her Wisconsin village; she bought 50 lb. sacks of corn to feed the deer and squirrels. I'm sure that some of the critters who grew up on her handouts must have starved to death after we moved her to California.

The turkeys may also have been deterred by this afternoon's soccer game, played by six-year-olds, in raucous progress on the playing field. The start of school is lively enough, but this was even more energetic. It's very odd watching six-year-olds play soccer - they're all about the same height (short; they looked like they were knee high to the adults) and moving very fast. With them all in similar uniforms, it was like watching a flock of wading birds flow back and forth across the beach, except that wading birds aren't screaming and chasing a soccer ball.

Still, it's a nice walk up the canyon to where I saw them last, and you never know, maybe I'll get lucky one day and there they'll be. I'm keeping the camera just inside the front door.

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