One of the reasons I started a blog was because I feel so blessed to be in our particular location. Besides being in a supreme site for growing grapes, it also happens to be a nature-lovers wonderland. There are some eucalyptus trees far on the hill above the winery where golden eagles nest every year and every year is marked with some of the patterns of their lives. At this time of year, it's particularly exciting as the eagles raise their young and go about their daily chores.
There are critters that are not too excited about their presence, naturally. In the same neighborhood are ravens who have marked their territory to end right over our winery so any time the eagles venture south of that mark, they come bustling over in a noisy clatter and viciously harass the eagles. This clatter is always a sign to look up and take in the breathtaking view of golden eagles trying to act non-chant with the pesky ravens dive-bombing and hollering at them.
Yesterday, I witnessed this aerial dance as I was returning from lunch and stopped to watch as it was happened just above the winery. After a little while, the eagle caught a big updraft and shot up much higher and the ravens peeled off to their territory. I though it was over when, all of a sudden, the eagle was dropping like a brick with wings tucked in, talons out and heading into the trees just north of the building about 100 yards away. It then was chirping away (yes, they have a sort of chirping call) and I figured it was signaling it's mate to come dig in. The ravens then returned to muck up the proceedings and I went back to work.
Today, I heard the telltale sounds again in the same area in the woods -- I figured the eagles were feeding on their quarry with the noisy onlookers helping dial in their location so I followed suit. I wandered the wooded area, a preserve on our property unplanted to vines, and finally found the subject. I expected to find a dead jackrabbit but instead found a Grey fox. I was a little sorry to see this small, almost feline predator as the victim in the brutal game of nature. I consider foxes and eagles to be on my "team" since they generally keep the rodent population in check so I was a little bummed when the eagle took one of our own. In the words of the late, great Kurt Vonnegut, "so it goes." No analogies to the wine business on this story...