Yesterday Bear and I fought our way out of the house (seriously, poor Teddy… No no, he’s fine. I just had to force him to stay behind by shutting the door) so just the two of us could have a quiet walk on a cloudy day. I really needed it, and I think my Bear did, too. It couldn’t have been more perfect. Wait, how can something be “more perfect?” It can’t. And that isn’t even true. Snow would have made it more perfect. OH well… That’s like “More best.”

We had an audience — some friendly crane tourists had come up from New Mexico and were making do with some ducks in an irrigation ditch. “What’re you seeing?” I asked.

“Ducks, mostly, mallards.” They had the gear, the cameras, long lenses, everything. They were READY. One couple even had a VW camper van (sigh dream on, Martha). They also had what some crane tourists don’t have — a sense of humor. “We saw some cranes, maybe 25,” the man gestured to a barley field to the southeast. I nodded. It’s important to see cranes. Every crane tourist wants to — well, almost every crane tourist. I’ve met a few people who were happy to see whatever they saw. Those are my kind of crane tourists. Of course, he wanted to know when they were usually here in the fall. They hadn’t come all that far — just from Taos, a couple hours away.

“They don’t come in that huge group in the fall. But, I’m no expert,” I said, “I’m just out here all the time.”

“That makes you an expert.”

“OK. Well, from where I stand as an expert, cranes do whatever they want whenever they want.”

“Nature, huh?” said the guy, grinning.

“Yeah. We’ve had a warm fall — it hasn’t even frosted yet — so…”

“You think they are affected by the weather?”

“It seems to me they are. In 2020 when we had that early snow, they were early. Well, have fun!!”


Bear and I continued our Bearigrination. It was such a pleasure walking in the cool breeze. While we didn’t see any cranes — this time of year I don’t think anyone can be out there without wanting to see them — I saw a Harris Hawk swooping low over the ground and a Red Tailed hawk hunting. Bear studied the ground with passion and feeling, liberated from the responsibility she has when Teddy goes along. When Teddy comes, she feels she needs to stay beside me.

There were many dead garter snakes along the road attesting to two things; one, they’d been dropped by birds. Two, they’d been run over by cars. I could kind of tell from the position of the corpse and it’s location on the road what had happened. I don’t want Bear being interested in them — dead or alive. They won’t hurt her, but…

Because of Bear’s attention and scrutiny to the edges of the road, I picked up a Red Tailed hawk feather and a soda (we say “pop” not “soda” in Colorado) can I might not have seen. It was beautiful, relaxing, soothing and just what I needed after my tussle with gravity on Monday. The aspen are rapidly turning up in the mountains. I couldn’t get a good photo without borrowing one of the cameras belonging to the crane tourists, but believe me, wow. The featured photo is from around Kenosha Pass and was taken by my friend Lois a few days ago.

12 thoughts on “Bearigrination

    • My eye looks like something out of Rocky but it’s OK and so am I. Teddy will get a walk tomorrow either with or without Bear, depending how she feels about the whole thing. Sometimes she just doesn’t want to go. He was so cute — the moment we got home he ran out the garage. Since he USUALLY gets to go, I didn’t feel sorry for him. 😀

  1. What a wonderful ramble! It makes me smile a little inside to know that Bear was having a good time and so were you. The changing of of the leaves is always magical – and that bright yellow of the Aspen trees is outstanding. I bet when the sun shines on them it looks like gold!!

  2. A lovely-sounding walk, Martha. I’ve always loved to wander among the autumnal colours. Glad Bear enjoyed the outing too, but it must have been a bit disconcerting to find all those dead snakes in your path. Has that happened before or was it just a one-off?

    • It’s normal to see dead garter snakes. They are food for a lot of different animals and the migratory raptors are returning now. Luckily for the species they’re prolific little guys.

      • I can imagine they’d need to be prolific if they’re that tasty a treat for so many species! Sounds as though the raptors need to improve their grip if they’re not going to keep losing so many ready meals though! 😀

        • Having watched raptors for decades, I’ve seen that they hunt constantly, and their prey has evolved to be pretty good at escaping. But snakes — raptors often pick up a snake and then drop it to stun it. Then they eat it. BUT between the cup and the lip… The snakes were all under a small grove of trees where I know a red tailed hawk has a nest. In the last couple of days I’ve found his feathers there, too, which says someone was ready to steal the meal. Looks like no one got to eat. BUT the snakes also go into the road to get warm this time of year and there are tourists.

          Once I picked up a Rosy Boa (California) — a very nice snake — that had been dropped by a hawk. I put the little snake in the pocket of my cargo shorts and took her for a hike with me. She liked the warmth. Then I let her go where she would be able to hide. But…you can’t take sides. I love the raptors, too.

          • That’s nature for you I suppose, red in tooth and claw. But I know exactly what you mean – we love both sides too. Trouble is, there animals can’t go to supermarkets and buy their supper! The snakes sound very cute though, and fascinating as we don’t see many at all over here. It must have been a great and rewarding experience rescuing one and taking it for a hike! 🙂

  3. A PET spider? Wow – how come? I’m intrigued… and terrified! My daughter has to rescue me from any we find lurking in the house whilst I run away screaming! 😮

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