A walk with Ellie B takes flight

A long loop walk with Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle this week took us behind the apartment complex more than a few blocks away from our home in the Syracuse city neighborhood home of Eastwood.

I noticed a Fed Ex truck stopped on the extreme right side of the lot, hugging the bit of unkempt grass pressed up against brush.

Closer up, I noticed the delivery guy holding his smart phone in camera position, quietly aimed toward the bushes. And then a majestic, huge bird took flight.

The falcon had been feeding on a snake, the man informed me, still a little breathless, and I apologized that Ellie B and I had scared it into action.

He said he’s been shooting its natural state down low for five minutes and was glad to see it up high.

The fall respite for a falcon in Syracuse, N.Y.

The fall respite for a falcon in Syracuse, N.Y.

The beautiful bird landed midway up in a tree about a third of a football field away. Ellie B and I approached as quietly as we could muster. She appeared to understand the beauty and unique nature of the moment as I slowly pulled my iPhone 4 (still) from my shorts pocket and snapped the shot above.

Braver, I hoped for a closer perspective.

The falcon had other ideas and took off.

Cropped version of the photo above.

Cropped version of the photo above.

Perhaps my limited technology will allow you to recognize the falcon in the middle of the second version of my one captured moment.

Fish of Gold

Have you ever walked upon a beautiful wildlife situation in an unexpected location, and if so, where and what did it entail? What’s the largest non-domesticized animal you’ve seen, and did you scare it away or did it scare you away? What’s your wish list for seeing an animal in its natural habitat, and why?

67 thoughts on “A walk with Ellie B takes flight

  1. Ha. I’m with that guy, Mark. I would have been doing the same thing. I have the worst habit of pulling over and taking pictures. The falcon was quite a catch. Recently, I’ve tried to get a picture of the moon, knowing it isn’t wildlife, but it is out in the wild, at night and shy. It has been huge lately and every photo I’ve taken has been horrid. A tough one to get with a smart phone.

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  2. That’s so cool! And a beautiful photo! I think the largest non-domesticated animal is going to be an elk or a deer, and they didn’t scare me. Oh and when porpoises come up when I go swimming at the beach, they don’t scare me. Manatees do, even though they’re vegetarian and very friendly, but they are so big, they’re daunting! I had a small bear in my backyard once which did scare me. And every time I see alligators, they always scare me! Also, sharks scare me.

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  3. I love watching wildlife. I came across a bobcat once when I was running, and it scared me a little bit. My cat, of course, likes to bring things into the house. I always feel like it’s my lucky day when I witness animals in the wild, see a deer or a coyote. Occasionally, I see them around here. How cool you got to see this!

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  4. Doggone it! I hate it when nature won’t cooperate and sit still for a photo. I know how frustrating that is, Mark. Years ago, when visiting Beaver Lake Nature Center, a doe and her fawn bounded off the path we were on and dashed off into the woods. We’d just started our walk and I didn’t have my camera out.

    But it looks like you did get a great shot of the falcon. They are an amazing bird.

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    • Thanks, Judy. I even yelled for the Falcon to come back and the darn thing didn’t listen. ๐Ÿ™‚ Fawn and doe should have doubled back fo you when you had your camera, right? ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks. That was an amazing bird.

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  5. I love wildlife. I’ve had a few encounters with it myself. Once with a bald eagle, which was awe inspiring. Now you talk about a huge bird! We had a falcon around another house I lived in, unfortunately it was killing and eating the blue jays that would come in our yard to eat. Falcon’s are protected here in Canada, it was yucky to watch but also fascinating. He would catch them mid air.

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    • Seeing a falcon catch a blue jay in mid air must have been very inspiring, minus the yuck factor, Jackie. I think that’s something.

      When I saw the eagle, I was on a golf course in Maryland and I hardly wanted to keep playing. The eagle had a nest in a tree off the green. Big and beautiful. But on we had to go because others were behind us and needed to get their turn to putt and then stop and watch the eagle for a bit, too!

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  6. Your falcon is beautiful Mark. Nice shot. I’m seen quite a few animals from behind the windshield – some pretty close – i actually hit two moose, in separate incidents over the years. I’ve seen many bears, all of them black bears and some very close – again through the windshield. I’d have to feel pretty safe – i.e. in a boat or vehicle – to deliberately get up close to a wild animal. I respect their turf and honestly there could be young ones around or it could be mating season – hard to tell. I’ll view from afar, if given the chance. The funniest one that I can recall, was on a visit to St. John’s Newfoundland where a moose wandered into the city during the night to check out the dumpsters and couldn’t find his way out in the morning. I didn’t see it, but watched on TV as they tried to get the moose out of the downtown. Ha! They had to tranquilize him and then get a crew to load him into a truck and drive him out. They tried giving him directions but he kept getting lost. Ha! (Just kidding).

    Fun post Mark – and say hello to Ellie for me.

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    • I remember seeing that news story about the tranquilized confused moose, Paul! Poor thing.

      Yes, you were smart to say safe up in the cab with the wildlife you spotted on your routes.

      Ellie B says hi back to you!

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  7. I was at Heffley Creek, just outside of Kamloops, British Columbia. Just minding my own business, walking down a dirt road when I saw a moose and her calf at the edge of the forest looking at me while I was looking at her.

    Only about 15 ft. apart, I think we saw each other at the exact same time and were both caught off guard. I hadn’t known before, but moose are really, really big animals and because she was a mom, I was scared she might charge me. But I backed away slowly, and she finally turned and ran into the bush.

    Diana xo

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    • Great story, Diana. Smart move to back off a bit and let Mom do her thing. Because I watched the TV show ‘Northern Exposure’ 20 years ago, I may have been lulled into thinking the moose would be friendlier than it would be in the wild! ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • I may have already mentioned that my friend, Jenny and I were single, me with children and she none, when we met. Anyway, we would choose a show to watch and call each other afterwards to ‘discuss.’ This made it a special friendship over 23 years long. Now, our two shows we watch, she DVR’s and we watch together on my half day Friday. One of our all time favorites was “Northern Exposure,” Mark! I have always been thrilled to see the main characters when they are on current shows or guest spots on other shows. John Corbin, the radio announcer, really has gone far from being in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” “Raising Helen” and other comedy movies, along with his voice being used in product ads.

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  8. This was so interesting, Mark! I like when I see wild critters and glad your Ellie B. is a great walking companion. Imagine all the things you would miss by not having a dog to walk…

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  9. I see it! I see it! I was walking my dog once in a field of wildflowers and oak trees and came into a clearing and there was a snake reared up about waist high. We turned on our heels and ran fast as lightning. Scared the beejeezus out of me. I’d rather have seen a falcon.

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  10. Bears smell bad…
    Cool beans….check this out; Bald eagle in Winter Haven, Fla! I watched it snatch a muskrat or furry thing from a pond next to a place I was delivering at and watched in horror as he/she began to dismantle it….I do not want to be eaten by an eagle. The sucker must have had a 3′ wing span!

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  11. I was gonna say (Until Sheena mentioned it above)… there are worse things than a snake the falcon could have been feasting on rather than a creepy snake. Death from above has never been more accurate…

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  12. Gorgeous picture! I love those moments.

    The most majestic, up close situation I saw with a falcon was also kind of disturbing…it caught and was killing a squirrel in front of my office building. Circle of life and all, but people walking by (including classes on field trips) would do a double take when they saw what was happening.

    You don’t realize how large those birds can get until you are up close and personal!

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      • The walk was earlier this week, when the afternoon temperature was in the high 50s, Rami. I’m a diehard on the shorts thing. I wore them to my bowling league Thursday night, temp in the low 40s. Soon they will be put away for the winter, though.

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    • That is a disturbing location for the Falcon to decide to demonstrate that portion of the Circle, Jeanette. School children need a quick lesson from the teacher after seeing that.

      Yes, they are really big. If the Fed Ex guy hadn’t been shooting his camera video and ready with his label of falcon, I might have thought I saw an eagle. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  13. One day last year, I was driving towards the house and what looked (from the corner of my eye) to be a brown plastic bag blew up towards the hood of my car. As I hit the brakes and the bag soared over over my hood I realized it was a hawk holding a small mouse-y something in its talons. Missed my windshield by about a foot and scared all the goody out of me!

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    • Bird-car encounters scare the bejeebers out of me, Kimi! When their radar is a bit off … Bam! Nothing you can do about it. I’m glad that hawk and mousey-think went up-and-over your hood!

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  14. Fantastic that you caught a picture! ๐Ÿ˜€ We once saw a bear on the side of the road whilst we were on our way to the beach…of course we had to turn around and (safely) get a picture. I’ve also seen alligators a couple of times (from a safe distance, thank goodness). I’d love to actually spot the coyotes that I occasionally hear around here at night…just not while I’m walking my 20 pound dog. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    • I was really hoping to get the closer shot, and Ellie B and I were sneaking up as quietly as man and 70-pound curious dog can creep when the falcon spooked. Thanks, nerd.

      That bear-brush must have gotten the adrenaline going! Smart play moving backward to take that photo. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I encountered gators playing golf in Myrtle Beach on vacation with the guys several times and, well, not my favorite moments on the links. Yes, be careful with pooch around the baying coyote. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ Glad to chat this morning, my friend

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      • Hehe…I got a giggle picturing a 70 pound dog sneaking up on a bird. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Yeah, the gators are pretty thick around the coast of NC and SC…I’m glad your encounters weren’t *too* close!

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      • My Ellie B does not do quiet so well, no, she doesn’t, in all her enthusiastic 4-year-old beloved rescue mutt glory. The vet pokes her side and yells at me. I walk her every day. Sharing my table food, though, I can’t help it. Karen looks at me … Yeah, bird-sneaking, not so much.

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