Saturday, November 8, 2014

November by David Holt

The November Watch

As the cold front passed through both of them knew
that northwest winds would be close behind.
They'd hie to a mount, a veritable fount,
of hawks of singular mind.

For south through the skies the hawks would now fly,
seeking land that is more provident.
So the wife and the man would take up a stand,
to witness this marvelous event.

All season they waited, their yearnings unsated,
for weather that just now occurred.
But the weather stayed sober through September and October
and the man and wife were deterred.

But with this happenstance they had one more chance
to view hawks majestic and near.
They both had agreed that all they would need
was a place where the skies would be clear.

They should have known better, but their zeal without fetter
took them up to a place they both knew.
A place they oft went to view this event
but where young skies rarely showed blue.
(They called it Pott's number two)

Now high in the sky what came to their eye?
Not a hawk nor even a cloud.
For the fog settled down, around all around
engulfing them in a gray shroud.

Now the fog rolled and rolled,
borne by winds that were bold
keeping hawks even vultures from sight.
They'd committed their day yet struggled to stay
to witness a marvelous flight.

Not only the shroud (that infinite cloud)
would hamper their efforts that day.
But the air that was cold borne by winds that were bold
caused their bodies to tremble and sway.

What brought us to this? They would now reminisce,
balmy days that were theirs in September.
They'd come face to face with faltering grace,
of the fact that it is now November.

They decided to persist while nature would insist
on their ouster with all of her might.
We've come here this day and, by God, we will stay
to witness a marvelous flight.

By the hour of eleven the sky seemed to leaven,
and for moments the sun did peek through.
Putting them in new light, an astonishing sight,
the sky was still there and still blue.

By twelve the shroud lifted, its vastness was rifted
breathing into their spirits new life.
On hopes that now soared, “We'll get our reward,”
said calmly the man to the wife.

As the hours now passed they kept up the glass
scanning vistas in new winter's form.
But the hawks were not there in that cold northern air.
They wondered if they'd ever be warm.

A Redtail hung high with ground searching eye
'cause by now it needed to prey.
And Ravens flew 'round - those ebony clowns
'Twas all they'd seen there that day.

Defeated and in anguish they dared not now languish
for the sun was sinking down low.
But the air was so clear, forty miles seemed so near,
they slowly made ready to go.

When the car had been loaded and its engine was goaded
 to whisk them briskly away.
“Permit one more scan,” said the wife to the man,
for something to rescue this day.

As she searched in the blue there came into view
a bird of enormous size.
She called out in glee for the man to come see,
she surely had garnered a prize.

From out of the blue on wings straight and true,
came a bird with an aura so regal
They felt not the cold nor the winds that were bold.
They were watching a young Golden Eagle!

It reveled their eyes as it wheeled in the skies
showing wings with patches like snow.
Gold hackles were seen as if it had been
put out there, just for the show.

Now both of them knew they must savor this view
as it soared with such pride, white tail spread so wide.
Too soon it will end and let the cold creep back in.
Even now it had started to glide.

And, breaking the spell they bid sad farewell
to its visage as southward it soared.
“In all of my life,” said the man to the wife,
“There was never a sweeter reward.”

They'll always remember that watch in November,
with a sense of utter delight.
Even nature's harsh way can't tarnish that day.
It was truly a marvelous flight!

David Holt
March 1984

October by David Holt

The October Puzzle

Flap, flap, flap, sail
on stubby wings and a long thin tail
flies a raptor thru the steel gray sky
which we now must try to identify.

The very first traits that meet our eye
puts it in the genus accipterii.
Though our task thus far has been met with ease,
we now must choose one of three species.

The mighty “Gos” we reject out of hand,
as it rarely passes by our stand.
So akin are the two that now remain
they strain our eyes and boggle our brain.

Protruding head and rounded tail,
wing beats of strength, less flap more sail,
all of which when seen without a squawk
should declare the bird a Coopers hawk.

But, if the bird is not so near
as to render these traits pure and clear
We simply deduce right there and then,
that the bird in question is a mere Sharpshin.

But, how can we say with certainty,
of a bird that's just too hard to see
It has traits that make it a Coopers hawk
Or if indeed it is a Sharp-shinned hawk?

When the traits we need cannot be had
'cause they're just too vague when the view is bad
We simply must swallow our birding pride
and call this bird unidentified.

David Holt
November, 1989

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Tribute

Harvey's Knob
A Tribute

There is a hawkwatcher named Bill
Each fall he climbs a great hill
To seek out a flight 
of raptors that might
in the end give him a big thrill.

There is a hawkwatching host
who spots more raptors than most
when the skies in her view
are less gray and more blue
She is known as Bluesky Joyce.

And Baron too climbs that hill
to see raptors that give him a thrill.
He keeps a good count
of what is seen on that mount
So we all can share in his thrill.

And then there's Barry, what more can be said,
as he brings to us gravy and bread.
He picks the best days 
that don't always pay,
but we are always glad to be fed.

And then there is Carl, KT, Matt, Dillard, and Dave
who fill in for all, to catch every wave
Of raptors they count 
up there on that mount
to see that the record is evermore saved.

Now, where is that mount?
Where we view hawks and count
that marvelous migrating mob.
T'is a ridge that is blue
where they fly straight and true,
O'er a place that's called Harvey's Knob.

Dave Holt