previous post next post  

The Eye of Horus

There's a surprising amount of wildlife sharing the base with us. The usual ants, scorpions, ants, camel spiders, ants, crested larks, ants, sparrows, skinks, toads, ants, rock doves, bats, ants and other smaller critters (including ants) are omnipresent, but the larger fauna are represented, too -- the hunters. Feral cats live in some of the old fighting positions in the woods and hawks nest in the higher branches of the willows. Foxes live in the graveyard behind my hootch and trot around the airfield perimeter after nightfall -- I see one every so often sitting by the bombed-out watchtower on my trek back from the office, waiting for me to pass so he can continue his rounds.

This morning I was heading for my shortcut through the blast wall between my hootch and the main drag -- I got two steps from the opening in the wall and a sparrow flew from behind the wall and landed in the opening. I got one step from the opening and a falcon appeared from nowhere, pounced the sparrow -- and then looked at me. He snapped his head up, our eyes locked for less than a second and he vanished back behind the wall. Those amazing black eyes had enabled him to see the mottled dust-brown sparrow against the mottled dust-brown earth from hundreds of feet away.

Dazed, the sparrow hopped into a crevice in the blast wall.

I've developed a bit of a metaphysical bent over the years -- you don't wanna take the same path that I did to get there -- and I've always had a sort of empathy with animals. Here's a secret -- it's all about the eyes. Those of you who've never met me may find what I'm about to say a bit hard to swallow, but in the brief instant my human eyes met the twin pools of liquid midnight that were the falcon's, I *knew* what he was thinking.



*chuckles* Sometimes, it just works out like that.... Easiest way for folks to see this in person: be around a very young, hungry cat. That yowl is FOOOD!! NOOOOOOOWWWWWW! (side note: jealous about the foxes. I am stupid about foxes.)
Foxfier - Here's where they live. Lots of cover and a willow for shade during the day. I can track them after dark when they hunt: a bark to startle small things, a leap above the grass to see if anything moves. Lather, rinse, repeat. All. Night. Long.
Bill, you haven’t been dumping leftover food there – have you? That always attracts all sorts of critters...
I grew up on a ranch. I sleep through 1k+ calves yelling "Mom! MOOOOM!" all night long. I'm still an idiot when it comes to a fox. Thank you for feeding my addiction. *grin*
Nooo, Ledger, I don't bait 'em. Only seen one rat so far, and a hawk the size of a B-2 grabbed it. Which reminds me -- the frogs living in the JDAM hole and the bats that make *one* pass through the AO at sunset haven't been doing their job. The mosquitoes are getting ornery... Foxfier -- I'm an enabler. BTW, does FbL know you're over here slumming?
Bill- what's the turquoise blue building in the back of your picture?
BillT- *evil grin* I think FBL would approve-- after all, even summer foxes are fuzzy.
does FbL know you're over here slumming? I wholeheartedly approve. Besides, I obviously don't blog enough over there to keep her busy. :P Very cool story, Bill. It reminded me of meeting you after visiting the VA for the first time. I don't have feathers, but you had to have read my mind, because I'm sure I was unable to properly communicate my experience to you. Maybe it's the fuzz. ;)
Hi, Sis! The turquoise mosque is the "martyr's chapel" in the graveyard. Unused, now -- it's the military cemetery for the airbase. The color is actually green, but the light on the day I took the pic makes it look turquoise. Green is the color of "martyrdom" in a Muslim cemetery, but the paint they used in the shrines is distinctly turquoise. The ironwork is a "martyr's shrine" -- like the one I mentioned here -- marking the grave (or graves) of someone KIA. Some are more ornate than others, which generally only means he was an officer (even "Saddam's Soldiers" think that's just wrong), and the paint they used *is* turquoise. Those who died of disease or in an accident have adobe brick coffers around their graves -- and some of those have designs in turquoise paint on the outside, which I'm guessing was a little extra gesture from the guy's friends. It reminded me of meeting you after visiting the VA for the first time. I did *not* pounce on you -- although you did look around for someplace to hide...
Ah... Thanks, Twin!!
"Nooo, Ledger, I don't bait 'em. Only seen one rat so far, and a hawk the size of a B-2 grabbed it." –CW4BillT Good to hear. Dam, those hawks can be big. I kinda understand about the hunters (hawk) and the hunted (small sparrow). It can be a jungle out there. Speaking of jungles, and critters I noticed you mention ants: "The usual ants, scorpions, ants, camel spiders, ants… ants, sparrows… ants, other smaller critters (including ants)…" A can of Raid comes in handy with ants. If you don’t have a can of Raid, I would suggest a can of spray starch. You just spay it on the ants. It’s environmentally friendly and tends to dry quickly, encasing the ants’ breathing mechanism with starch killing them quickly. Or you could just try to stamp them out with your boots but, that is cumbersome and doesn’t always kill them. As for the hawks, you could try spraying them in the eye with starch but make sure the wind is not blowing your direction (check your wind sock for wind direction) You know, kind of even-up the odds between the sparrows and hawks. As to the frogs use starch. Now, to the bats, I have found and old tennis racket strung with wires works well to stop them in flight. If you don’t have one use starch…
Well, if the ants ever visit *inside*, they'll get a cup of coffee poured on 'em. I figger they'll get so wired, they'll have a hole dug halfway to home before they finally croak. [cue the frog joke]