When the heat of summer comes bearing down on you there is really only one thing you can do.

When the heat of summer comes bearing down on you there is really only one thing you can do. Well maybe two, that is if you are a swimmer, of which I am not, leaving then the one thing. You have to get out early. Enjoy those few hours before you have to tap out, then heading to locations of a much cooler climate. I see no reason to have to suffer through the heart of the day when the heat and humidity do nothing but make you miserable.

 

I did just that the other day as I made the rounds of my morning routine. They were calling for a scorcher of a day, so I only planned on being out for a few hours before settling into the cooler portion of that routine. 

 

In typical fashion I head to the marsh first. This is always a great place to start for you never know what you might see. The sightings might not be as grand as you hope (like a badger) but there is always a high chance that you will see something. 

 

While warm, it was the humidity that had already made the day lean toward the miserable side. It hung heavy in the air, as if pressing down on you, sucking the air from your lungs. Slight movements already caused the sweat to bead on my forehead. 

 

The sun was just breaking the horizon. The heavy haze of the morning would offer some relief as it dulled the burning rays of the morning light. It would burn off shortly then turning the day into a blazing inferno. But for now, I welcome the brief relief.

 

A hen pheasant is walking down the road edging far in front of me as I drive. I slow to see what might follow her, possibly still hidden in the grasses. Sure enough, a pheasant chick appears, soon followed by another and then another. Five in all are now walking behind their mother. Could there be more still hidden? If so, I do not see them. 

 

They are all wet from the moisture of the early morning dew. The walk along the road gives them relief from the dampness, offering them time to dry. I drive at a snail’s pace as they walk in front of me. None of us are in a hurry.

 

Despite my diminished sense of smell these days I detect an odor. It hangs heavy in the air. I have smelled it before but never here. It is the smell of rotting fish and what appears to be a lot of them. I get to the source. One of the ponds has been drained. Some water still exists but very little. Littered throughout the now dry basin are the carcasses of numerous carp, now rotting in the heat of the sun. The pond has never been drained like this. The carp seemingly the reason for the draining of the water. Something to look into later.

 

I then see an adult Bald Eagle and then its mate. The pond, now a goldmine for this scavenging predators. Food is now everywhere and easily accessible. I then see two juvenile eagles, the young of the adults.

 

I am assuming that this family is the one that nested just down the road. However, I only see the two of what I thought were three offspring. One is missing. 

 

The two young ones fly to the shore and begin to tussle with what appears to be a large carp. They are soon joined by the adults. They all fight over that one fish, despite the hundreds spread out in front of them. I wonder where the other youngster is at.

 

Far off a group of 15 or so Great-Blue Herons are circled around one of the remaining water holes. Nearby is another hole with a lone Heron - I watch it fish. It shoots its head into the water and comes up with a large carp. It looks too big for the heron to eat but the heron maneuvers the fish in its bill and then swallows it whole. What a meal! The heron will only eat live prey and it appears soon that this little water hole will dry offering nothing in the way of food for the heron.

 

I hear the scream of an eagle and see what I think is the third juvenile. It swings toward the family gathered on the shore. The adults however do not allow it to land within the group, driving it away. The third eagle lands some distance away. 

 

I ponder. What I thought was a nest with three young, based on the fact of seeing three young in the road near that nest a few weeks ago, was not the case. I now believe that this third juvenile bird could have possibly been some offspring from last year and just decided to hang out with this year’s crop. The adults were not present on that first sighting which allowed the conference to take place. But now, with the parents present, they are not allowing any play time. Just a thought.

 

I watch the eagles for some time. The family sticking together, the outsider staying a safe distance away.

 

The haze is now lifting, and the heat is bearing down. Time to head to a cooler zone.