3:30 am was the time given to be able to see the Sagittarius Full Moon Eclipse…whatever, I’m delirious and without a doubt need to get some more sleep. 3:30 am our normally cloud free, Arizona desert skies turned into a fuzzy haze covering the eclipse and stayed there long enough for me to miss the entire Lunar event. Wide awake with coffee already brewing, I figured I will just stay awake and try to catch up on some sleep later if possible.
Fear of missing out is a significant cause for my lack of sleep ever since moving to Gold Canyon five years ago. It only magnified once I committed myself to starting a non profit entirely dedicated to showcasing the animals who live all around me. I had no idea how many different species there really were here ( our count is up to 56 species seen on or flying above our 3.5 acre property) and just how active they are at all times of the day and night. I just knew that it seemed like there was always an animal or reptile or bird doing something fairly cool and I wanted to share it with as many people as who were interested!
I poured a cup of coffee and made the simple mistake of looking out the window. The roadrunner was there! This made up for the clouded over eclipse if I didn’t scare the bird off! Roadrunners are unique birds. WE have one that sleeps in the garden gazebo thing on the property over by our bedroom. The water bowl has been active from the minute we put it out right in front of our living room window. The location makes for great observations of birds who otherwise wouldn’t come close if I was actually sitting on my patio. Some birds couldn’t care less who is around and will happily hunt for seeds at your feet. Other birds won’t land at all if a human is anywhere near. We have a combo here. I don’t like to video from inside the house because you can’t hear the outdoor sounds, just the hum of our fish tank or music from the stereo. But if a quiet video allows me to catch baby Gambel’s Quail coming for a first drink of water I’m fine with that.
I needed to get outside and down before the roadrunner took off. Slowly, in bare feet, I crept outside barely breathing. Surprisingly, the bird seemed like it recognized me and with eye contact and a slight nod just fluffed into a ball and sat there! I laid on the ground quite a few feet from it so I didn’t disrupt hunting. I got some video but nothing I will win awards for. I only use my iPhone so live action with wild animals as my subjects is not easy. I’m lucky I catch what I do. Being at the right place at the right time with a lot of patience and endurance for no pay off is more accurate. Today was no exception. Yes, I had a Greater Roadrunner feet from me, as I often do, but it still doesn’t translate to good viewing. Todays audience needs action! A bird can’t just be beautiful and sitting there relaxing! NO! Make it hunt or “do something”. I gave up after about twenty minutes. I needed more coffee and my body was feeling every bit of laying on the ground.
Out of the corner of my eye I see a brown flash fly by. Its a hawk and I know it. But I’m tired. But its a hawk. I slowly walk around the corner and see it sitting up on the telephone pole. Will it stay long enough for me to video it? Arms up, camera on video zoomed in, I creep closer and closer. Even perched safely high on a pole, hawks do not like to be closely watched or even be around humans. For almost 8 minutes this gorgeous juvenile Harris’s Hawk sat up there with me standing below. My arms and neck on fire. There was no way I was hitting the stop button! Not until it flew off. I committed. It’s not the same if you have chopped up video. No editing, straight video is the goal.
My neck has a weird, painful crick in it now, my shoulders are sore but I got to spend a chunk of my morning with a roadrunner and 8 minutes with a Harris’s Hawk, alone. To me, that is a blessing that comes with the obligation of sharing. Sharing to those who may not ever get to see. Sharing for those who are curious and studying. Sharing for those who love birds and watching them. Sharing for those who keep track of the birds and know they tell us about our planet.
Too tired to fall asleep, I set up my phone on the tripod aimed at a lone hummingbird feeder and hit time lapse for a half hour while I found food. The larger birds are drinking all of the hummingbirds jet fuel ( sugar water) lately. This seemed like something I should monitor and document how the hummingbirds responded to losing their water source. Though I have videoed a hummingbird at the large water bowl, 99% of the time they go to a flower or feeder. I took away the other 4 feeders that are normally out leaving just one. I caught the action but hated the angle of the shot. The clouds looked great but the birds were not easily identifiable. I’ll try again later.
A couple of hours of sleep came with the help of a herbal pill, a full belly and a purring cat and a brain fairly satified with a full mornings work.