I’m sitting in a meadow near Harrison Lake, watching a pair of Short-eared Owls courting high above me. Their soft “wup-wup-wups” and the wing-clapping of the male is surprisingly loud, even when they’re hundreds of feet away. A pair of courting loons calls to each from the other side of the lake, and a Northern Harrier decides that it’s time for him to do his roller-coaster mating dance as well. No female Harrier that I can see: maybe it’s just a practice run.
I don’t want to be anywhere else. This is what it means to be here now.
Of course, it’s not surprising. It’s a perfect sunny day, in a beautiful place. Why would I want to be anywhere else?
But, of course, there are plenty of times when a beautiful place is not enough to stop my “monkey mind.” Today, though, is not one of them.
The owls are intent on each other…at least the male is intent on the female. She seems more interested in looking for dinner.
The male, though, is interested in what the heck I’m doing down there.
At one point they both land on a hillside, and disappear into the browns and greys of the sagebrush. I keep watching, though, and suddenly…
A dance? I don’t know, but it’s pretty lovely.
Even without the owls, the Montana countryside is breathtaking in April.
And when the owls decide it’s time for a rest, the Northern Harrier gives up his mating dance rehearsal and starts hunting for dinner. It doesn’t take him long, either. If I were a female Harrier, I do believe this example of hunting prowess would be more impressive than his silly roller coaster acrobatics.
Of course, the Meadowlark and the Yellow-headed Blackbirds need to add their two cents.
The sun sets slowly behind the Tobacco Root Mountains, and all is right with this little corner of the world.