After getting up at o’dark hundred yesterday morning I drove up to northern Utah and on the way watched as darkness became twilight then twilight as it became dawn. I was heading north to find owls, Short-eared Owls in particular and Burrowing Owls too because they have begun to perch higher in the mornings instead of staying right at the edge of their burrows which makes them easier to locate.
And I found them. Lots of them!
So why am I posting a Turkey Vulture instead of owls?
Because I found an exceptionally obliging Turkey Vulture in Box Elder County warming up in the morning sun. It wasn’t skittish, it wasn’t nervous, the light on it was wonderful and then there is my belief that vultures are often overlooked. So this vulture is show-cased on my post this morning.
The owls will have to wait.
After about 5 minutes it seemed that the Turkey Vulture wasn’t going to do much so I headed down the road and hoped that the vulture would be there when I came back up the road and that it would be doing some thing interesting.
When I came back to the same location almost an hour later the Turkey Vulture was still there plus the light was good so I stopped and took many more images of the vulture. The vulture seemed far more active and I photographed it as it roused.
And settled its feathers back into place.
Then it started to stretch one wing out to the side as it also fanned its tail.
Until its right wing was fully extended showing the lightness of the underside of its primaries and secondaries. I laughed to myself because it almost looked like the vulture was directing traffic in this pose.
And then it pooped all over the ground next to the fence post it was perched on.
And gave me a great view of its side for a bit.
Plus an over the shoulder look at me. I thought the vulture might preen at this point.
But it turned towards me and raised both of it wings over its body bilaterally which showed the warm brown plumage of the scapulars and coverts.
After that great wing lift it started to scratch its head with its foot. While it scratched it had the nictitating membrane overs its eye the whole time.
And finally before it took flight it turned sideways and gave me another nice series of images of a bilateral wing lift. When it did this I should have removed my teleconverter because when it lifted off I clipped every one of the images and was disappointed in myself.
I’ve never had a Turkey Vulture be this obliging before. I believe it didn’t mind the woman with the one glass eye watching it get ready for its day.
Life is good.