Thursday, March 1, 2012

Doing the Wave

Driving is something that takes up a large part of my time.  It is one of the hazards of my profession.  It goes along with the flying.  It seems that I am constantly flying or driving somewhere.

The advantage of so much travel is the chance to see many different things.  I have been from coast to coast and border to border of this great country and have even had the opportunity to go to other countries a few times.  Unless you've experienced the type of business travel that I do, it is difficult to imagine that after awhile it gets pretty tiresome.  Motels and airports look alike no matter where you are.

When I travel I try to keep it as interesting as possible.  If time permits, I really enjoy stopping at historical sites along the way.  I have posted a number of times about places that I have visited.  The other thing that I am constantly watching for is wildlife.

I guess some people really don't pay attention to the wildlife that can be seen along the highways and byways of the U.S., but I do.  I find myself counting the number of antelope I see or the number of coyotes or deer.  I see flocks of ducks and geese crossing the sky.  I see mourning dove and songbirds.  I see raptors of many shapes and sizes from the Kestrel to the Bald Eagle.  I even took note this morning of two crows which seemed to be on a mission to somewhere.

I have always been intrigued by the behavior of large flocks of birds.  Other than ducks and geese, such flocks are not as common as they once were.  I'm not certain of the reason, but many would blame the demise of such large flocks on poisoning.  After all, those flocks can devastate a field in a very short period of time due to the sheer numbers.  This morning I saw three different large flocks of starlings.

Starlings often look like a smudge in the sky when seen at a distance.  There can be many thousand individuals in a flock of starlings.  They move in a way that makes them seem to flow across the sky.  The entire flock turns or rises or dives as one organism.  I don't know what makes them move in that manner, but I suspect air currents have something to do with it.

This morning, each of the three giant flocks although separated by many miles, was doing the wave.  They would rise and fall in a rippling pattern as they made their inevitable headway against a brisk breeze.  I know it was due to the breeze, but in my mind the thought occurred that they were celebrating the morning.  After all, it was a clear sky with the sun just cresting the horizon in the east.  It was almost as if they were cheering it on saying, "here comes the sun, here comes the sun...."

Sometimes it's the little things.


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