I interrupt my observations on the coming eclipse to comment on the vultures Shyla and I watched this weekend circling the eastern shore of Lake Champlain. I took the above photos of Turkey Vultures on Sunday at Basin Harbor, and Black Vultures on a trip to the Everglades three years ago. Vermont seems to be somewhat of an extension of the Turkey Vulture’s usual range, while Black Vultures rarely fly north of New Jersey.
Vultures are, of course, homely creatures to look at, and would not be pleasant to hold, if given the opportunity. They rarely speak, but when they do it is to utter hisses and groans. I have not smelled them and would not want to. In short, there is nothing to recommend them except the important work they do in cleaning up deceased creatures. It is for this reason many indigenous cultures acknowledge them as gatekeepers between the worlds - bridges between the living and the dead. I regret to report that they also do a bit of harm, occasionally harassing with culinary intent young mammals and baby birds.
They glided effortlessly on the breezes that prevailed throughout Sunday and were entirely absent on the rainy and breezeless Monday, when they were likely waiting out the day in caves, under rocky ledges, and in hollow logs.
Yours From The Field,