I had a little extra time this morning and took my camera and binoculars out looking for Trumpeter Swans. We often have a few in the valley this time of year, but it’s hit or miss. I drove out along Pioneer Way, River Road, Stewart, 66th Avenue, and Gay Road. I was striking out early, but chanced upon a Red-tailed Hawk fairly low in a tree along Gay Road. It stayed put when I stopped and rolled down the window.
As I got my camera up and ready, I noticed it was eating something. I started snapping a few pictures and noticed that part of the hawk’s meal was dangling from the branch. I focused on that and saw that it was a fish head! Then I saw the tail on the other side of the branch attached to a spine that had been picked pretty clean.
I’ve never heard that Red-tails are adept fishers, but maybe they are. More likely though is it found a carcass that had been abandoned and took it to a nearby tree for an easy meal.
Red-tailed Hawk with fish carcass
After attracting the attention of a nervous resident in an Army Ranger jacket, I decided to move on rather than tempt fate.
Continuing back onto River Road then back over to Pioneer, I noticed a group of large white birds in the distance from 52nd Street. With my binoculars I confirmed a flock of about twenty swans too distant to photograph or sort out species, but I would guess the majority would be Trumpeters. Like in past years, they congregated near the railroad tracks that parallel Pioneer. The elevated road bed for the tracks make it so they are not visible along most of Pioneer, and where they are visible it is only a peek-a-boo view.
I drove back onto 66th, and stopped at the Pierce Conservation District office. I asked if they had a view of the field in question. Mike Baden of the PCD accompanied me out to the back of the facility and told me the extent of their property. He then left me to it and I proceeded to walk along a fence row hoping to find an open view. Once again I got just peek-a-boo views of the swans, and finally had to turn around as the soil in the field got softer and softer. Shoulda worn boots!
Published in the Puyallup Herald: 09/21/11 1:51 pm
This afternoon I’ll drive to Terry’s Berries to pick up fresh produce. For a number of years my wife and I have been buying a share at this local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm.I’m a strong believer in buying as close to home as possible, something that’s not easy in the 21st century. I regularly check labels for place of origin when buying any product. I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot any time I find clothing with a “Made in USA” label.As I write this, I’m wearing a pair of jeans, a polo shirt, and running shoes, all made in America. It took a little effort to find them but well worth it.
It’s even better if I can find a product made in my community, county, or state. I feel good if I’m putting money in the pocket of a fellow citizen.
When we dine out we prefer locally owned and managed establishments over chains.
The local food movement seems to be having a noticeable effect.
Shopping at Fred Meyer, I noticed that produce is labeled with a special sign if it is produced locally or regionally. This is a positive development and gives me hope that our buying habits can have an impact in the wider economy.
Currently, our two motor vehicles are American made. Future vehicle purchases will start with looking at models made at home, but we aren’t stupid. If a car is clearly a bad purchase, we won’t buy it, American or not.
Personally, I see buying close to home as a security issue. I can see a day coming where we as a nation become vulnerable because we’ve outsourced so much of our manufacturing and food production.
The more of us who seek to buy locally, regionally, or nationally, the more pressure we put on the producers to change their habits. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be spending more money either. When you stop to think about what you are buying, whether it’s where it was made, or whether you really need it, you’re more likely to make a purchase that you’ll be happy with for some time.
Spending time at the local farmers market is a good way to build community.
You’ll run into friends, neighbors, and co-workers while you patronize local merchants. Walk around downtown, too. You might discover a shop you didn’t know existed. It could be just what you’re looking for!