VULTURES are quite common in our area, but usually in more rural parts. Imagine, then, our surprise when we saw one feasting on a delicious dead animal on a lawn not six feet from the road in a quiet neighborhood just behind the school. We stopped to snap a picture but the bird got spooked and flew onto the roof. Then we saw the others - a total of four waiting in a tree for us to leave so they could finish their lunch. In flight turkey vultures and black vultures are easy to distinguish from one another - turkey vultures have white wing tips and white feathers along the back of their wings; black vultures have white only on their wing tips. Up close, the grey heads (not red) gave these away as black vultures. Beauty could not be seen in the eyes of this carload of beholders; however we did appreciate the cleanup work they were doing. I bet the homeowner did too.
Saturday, April 7, 2012
WHAT a treat to be taken fossil hunting by a friend's dad. The children had the best time digging around in the earth with old screwdrivers, and were delighted when they found impressions of plants and animals. Millions of years ago, this area in North Georgia was covered in swamp. Dead animals and plants fell into the water and were covered by many layers of mud, which eventually hardened into shale. In between these layers, hidden treasures wait to be discovered. We found brachiopods and crinoid stems. Crinoids are sea animals which resemble today's sea lilies. Brachiopods appear similar to today's bivalves such as clams, but researchers believe they are a distinctly separate group. Not quite as exciting as dinosaur bones, but almost.