Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Who Says There's No Free Lunch?

P and I are on Day 2 of the South Beach Diet. I have 12 more days to look forward to of the so-called "Phase I". It is going to be Hell, I can already tell, but I made a pinkie promise with P, and a deal's a deal, so I must soldier on.

I am getting my resolve tested at work. Yesterday, one of my coworkers generously brought pastries from Ramone's, a local bakery. I resisted. Then we went to our farm for the first veggie box of the season, which came with strawberries. I caved and ate three. Bad me. No strawbs until Phase I is over.

Today, one of my other coworkers came back from chart rounds bearing chocolate covered eclairs. So cruel! I hovered, watching eclairs I can't eat right now. I am in a tough business to endure for dieters. There is food EVERYWHERE.

In a move to get some exercise along with the diet, P and I headed out to east of Arcata after I got home from work to go for a walk in the Azalea Reserve, which should be in full bloom right now. We forgot our county map, however, and tried to find it from memory and failed. Still, we found a nice road called West End Road, which we decided to follow because it was pretty.

Our little mosey led us to The Mad River Fish Hatchery, which turns out to be open to the public during daylight hours. We parked and started poking around the place. The hatchery grows steelhead, apparently (aka ocean-going rainbow trout). Most of the fish runs were empty, but a few were packed. P had his little cybershot and took some pics.

Whole lotta big fish:

The area above the runs was strung with wire to keep predatory birds out and we soon saw this was for a good reason. There was a large osprey perched on one of the light poles looking down at the fish. I thought to myself "Poor bird. Those fish are like the eclairs I was pining for this afternoon: right there and out of reach."

The osprey is on the light pole, reading the menu:

The smorgasbord is OPEN:

What chance to the fishies have in such close quarters?:

What are YOU lookin' at, eh?:


What wires? Clever Osprey with a finny snack in the center of the frame:

Silly me. Who ever decided that "bird brain" meant "stupid" obviously didn't spend much time around birds. I should have known better. We walked close and got a right sharp bitching out from the osprey and then he flew and started circling. Finally, when we were at the head of the full adult run, he flew around, swooped UNDER the wires, snagged a fish and flew off.

A few minutes later, he was back, but our presence made him hold off. We finally walked to the other end of the run and he recommenced his routine, finally nabbing another trout. Obviously, this bird has has his hunting routine wired. I hope he doesn't get himself in trouble. Still, with that packed run, I don't think I could resist either, if I were an osprey.

Regal and well fed:

Back for more:

"These look nice! I'll have one of these!":

Gotcha! Yum! :

On the way back, we saw another osprey scoping the Mad river for fish the old fashioned way. No easy prey for him! So it goes with the prime nest site. Either the other birds haven't caught on to the hatchery or the one bird chases them off. Perhaps he is setting himself up for a heap of hurt for stealing fish. I hope not. He was a very pretty (and clever) bird!

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