It is a whirlwind in here



Nature Raw In Web And Claw

It is not often that I wait for a city bus and hope that it is late. But this is what happened a few days ago as I stood waiting for a 5:15 evening bus.
At about 5:12 I noticed a commotion in the sky. I was about three minutes from the harbour as the bird flies. Overhead, above some low-rise building,s was an eagle being chased by four crows. I have seen this before, and understand that the crow risks its life by swooping too close to the eagle. I assume the crow knows this also, and no doubt those swoops toward the large bird are some safe distance. However, an eagle is a fast bird of prey, and can move at speed. So, although from my angle, the dive bombing crows (and they each took their turns) appeared to be within a wing-length of the eagle, perhaps they did not.
However, the odd situation – which I have never seen before – was that above the circling and diving crows were three seagulls. And they were also taking their turns swooping down toward the eagle. It was a bit like an Aerial dogfight, with the black birds keeping a similar distance from the eagle, while the white birds would occasionally come down to the level of the crows and take a charge at the eagle. I have no idea if the crows and seagulls were coordinating their attacks, but they did not get into each others way. The eagle did little more than keep a steady and straight flight.
Of course, this time the bus was on time, and I didn’t want to wait an additional half hour. Generally, the smaller birds will eventually go their own way as long as they have chased the eagle from the area. I assume this is what happened. But what if I missed a more coordinated attack, with all birds in tandem against the eagle, and an explosion of feathers? Did the bird of prey end up praying?

Flying Fish in Halifax Harbour

fresh and tasty



There is a relatively new and very long pier at one of the container terminals in Halifax. It seems to go out a quarter of the way into the harbour. It offers the best view of the mouth of the harbour, along with some (now) unique views back into the harbour itself.

As I was standing at the end, jutting into the harbour and watching the passing ship traffic (hello, cruise ship), I noticed a man with a fishing pole, casting away. He did not seem too successful, but did toss the occasional fish (mackerel) into a large pail. As I watched my ships, he cast away. Sometimes his fish leaped from the pail and flopped about on the pier. He did not seem concerned, though I rather hoped one of them would slide under the fence and return to the water far below.

I stayed about an hour and was preparing to leave. So was the fisherman. He called me over and asked me if I wanted any fish. I did have interest, but, in addition to transporting fish on a bus, and also having to gut and clean them, I declined. It was then he offered the grandest of shows.

He reached into his pail and started tossing the fish over the high, barbwire-topped fence which enclosed the container terminal. On the other side was a vast platform, upon which waited a flock of seagulls. As each mackerel sailed over the fence, and slid across the cement, the gulls descended. I anticipated many bird fights. I was surprised to see each gull that reached a fish first, just swallowed the mackerel whole.


Slide into gullet.

Fly away gull.

The other gulls then turned their attention to the next flying fish.

It was quite the entertainment.


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