This is just a photo that I dug up from 2017 — those great winged horrors that you see are carrion-eating turkey vultures (cathartes aura). They were seemingly everywhere when I first came to Roanoke that year — but I haven’t seen too many since. (Or maybe they just haven’t again roosted near enough for me to see them — there are plenty of birds with tremendous wingspans overhead, and I don’t think they’re eagles.)
Turkey vultures are truly ugly beasts.
I’d hate to think of what he hides for the children to find.
As I’ve said before, I’d love to get a picture for you guys, but these guys really stick to the shadows — like stinky ninjas.
They’re definitely a bit LARGER than you might expect — or at least they are around my neighborhood’s woods.
I was incredibly impressed with Virginia’s Covid-19 vaccination program. The Virginia Department of Health’s sign-up process was easy enough, the VDH FAQ page covered everything, and the Carilion Vaccine Clinic staff at the Berglund Center off Williamson Road in Roanoke were speedy, pleasant and courteous — even by Southern standards. (I got in and out in no time at all.)
Everyone involved did a truly admirable job. Way to go, VA.
The FAQ page over at the Virginia Department of Health is detailed and expansive. Check it out.
How’s that for a name for a species? It sounds like either a horror story or a children’s book.
If you get a really close look at it, that spot on its back is sort of in the shape of a heart — which suggests this guy would make a pretty creative Valentine’s day present. Also — that spot ought to be orange or white, geographically speaking. The ones with yellow markings are only supposed to be found in certain parts of Florida. Yet our friend found sunny Roanoke, VA.
Anyway … if you zoom in reaaaaaally close, you can actually see his ring of eyes.
I’m not sure who our mystery predator is here. As I’ve noted before, there is a notable dearth of stray cats in Roanoke. I occasionally see one — but it’s nothing like my native New York, where stray cats outnumber people with a clean driving record.
Maybe the pupper next door did it. I dunno. He seems to be one of those gruff dogs who’s nevertheless timid (and adorable). He sort of grumble-barks tentatively and then goes instantly quiet when you make eye contact with him. He wandered into my backyard last summer and spent at least five minutes literally trembling in front of an empty tent, before he got up enough courage to bark at it. Eventually he even ran away from that.
Whatever the case, I hope that the little patch of ground below doesn’t lie along a suburban game trail. The is a place where bunny buds are known to roam. And the last one I startled there just ran in a confused figure eight — and then mistakenly ran at me for a moment instead of away. (Little brown fella had some kind of spatial relations problem. Or maybe he was channeling General Woundwort.)
Two last summer pics before I start getting in gear for fall. So long, blue Virginia wildflowers.