[Tweeters] A Crepuscular Phoenix In Port Townsend

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign15 at gmail.com
Wed Jan 9 12:57:25 PST 2019

Last week I was up at Dark O' Clock in the morning, as usual, and as the
sky to the southeast gradually brightened to a dim twilight, I saw a
Phoenix flying by the tree tops outside my window! I didn't realize we had
such around here, but it sure looked like one!

OK, so maybe I've watched too many Harry Potter movies (I have), but a big
long-tailed bird - what else could it be, I thought. A Peacock? No, it was
flying too high, plus I think that Peacocks lose their tail feathers in
Winter, and besides, I have never seen or heard a Peacock in PT either. So
I was inclining my ID towards the Phoenix. I checked it out on the
Internet. I wasn't gonna take Albus Dumbledore's word for it, so I checked
the history on Wikipedia, and came across Herodotus.

Now Herodotus (Greek historian of the 5th century B.C.), had never seen a
Phoenix himself, but he'd heard accounts about it. Apparently it was
supposed to be gold and red in color, "while the general make and size are
almost exactly that of the Eagle".( Herodotus aka "The Father of History"
did tend to make stuff up when he didn't really know what he was talking
about. I imagine he would've loved Wikipedia), It was too dark to see
colors, but that whole eagle thing fit the bill.

Well, as is often the case, sunlight was the best disinfectant for cleaning
up my ID ills as the increasing daylight revealed an actual Bald Eagle out
there, It was trailing another big wad of grass clutched in it's talons -
the wad a bit longer than the Eagles body! Even in better lighting it came
off like a tail. So, alas,no Phoenix, but pretty cool anyway. Actually,
I've seen the Eagle- hauling-grass phenom a number of times and always do a
double-take.Makes me smile.

Ever since their return from summer vacation, back in mid-Oct the Eagle
pair here have been hauling sticks and grass up to their nest -busier some
weeks than others- and really piling on the grass lately. The nesting cycle
of Renewal - something else Eagles represent, along with the Phoenix,
although no flames are involved.

Yesterday I decided to find the eagle nest. The "Eagle Tree" (viewing tree,
and yesterday, copulation tree) is right in my line of sight as I look out
the window behind my computer. The nest is in a PT city block full of tall
firs several hundred feet from the roost. I looked for it in the fall but
for some reason, maybe a sore neck, didn't find it. This time I did; about
65' up, near the top of sort of a wimpy 14" diameter dougfir in a dense
section of other firs. It moves around quite a bit in the wind - what a
dynamic home! I can't believe it took me so long to get around to finding
it; I've been Eagle watching here for decades!

Anyhoo, I have noted the Eagles hauling stuff early and late - crepuscular
verging on nocturnal. I've also noticed Anna's Hummers out in fairly dark
conditions. Cottontail Bunnies, white-tailing it down the road also keep
crepuscular hours.

Jeff Gibson
flubbing initial ID's in
Port Townsend Wa
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