Seasonal observations of an ever changing coastal landscape 
by Bold Bluff host Tamar Griggs 

Bold Bluff Nature Diary

First Night in Tipi and Turkey Vultures

From: Tamar
Date: 6/9/02
Time: 1:32:57 PM
Remote Name:


It was with enthusiasm that I prepared the tipi for my first night spent in it. The wooden platform is complete and the tipi is furnished sparingly with a grass matt, 6" thick air mattress and a few cushions on the floor. The whole idea is "simplicity". Even though I was toasty warm ON TOP with 2 blankets and a down quilt, I froze from UNDERNEATH, and spent a miserable night huddled up. I need to get some insulation on the air mattress to make it comfy for anyone who wishes to "camp" on the bluff. Nevertheless, I heard a sea lion splashing in the Narrows at night, and heard the crows call this morning. This will be a great place to hear the killer whales at night should they travel through Sansum Narrows. This morning, back at the "Lodge", I saw 8 Turkey Vultures dine on the beach at low tide - they were eating a giant dead crab and a big sea star that one of them turned over. Do you know that Turkey Vultures are a threatened species? Do you know that they migrate to warm climates in the winter like senior citizens who can't stand the cold, and come back to Salt Spring every spring? They are a thrill to see, with their bright vermillion red heads bare of feathers, and their bulky brown feathered bodies like an eagle's body, and their hooked pale yellow beak to rip up dead meat. As I watched them strutt around the beach, a Bald Eagle flew right over the lawn and extended it's feet to land in a nearby tree with a surprising WHOOSH sound as it nearly landed, but missed! Later, the Vultures lifted off the beach and soared in small circles over the trees that line the edge of the cove, their shawdows moving below them on the green trees. Wider and wider they circled and 4 more joined to make a total of 12 flying over the cove. Finally they dispersed in the blue expanse of sky! And I was left with the sweet chatter of 2 barn swallows who have their nest on our front porch and a host of hummingbirds at our feeder.

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