Gathered

๐˜•๐˜ฐ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ 26, 2021

Sometimes the hardest workday is the one before a holiday vacation.  Many of your coworkers have already bugged out, which means any work that does need to be done is left to the one not fast enough to call dibs on the days just before and right after the holiday.  That is what happened to Melissa this Thanksgiving week.  By noon she was starting to feel overwhelmed and suggested we make a lunch and go sit at the town reservoir.  I finished what I was doing, put together some quick sandwiches, and we took off.  When we arrived, we noticed 12-15 vultures circling in the sky.  We never figured why they gathered here, but they were fun to watch as they soared in and out of view.

When I looked online, I found the Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus) is an abundant species of broad-winged scavenger in the southeast, although scarce in the southwestern US.  In low flight, the vulture proceeds with several quick flaps followed by a flat-winged glide.  When rising thermals provide good lift, it soars high above the ground.  The birds are usually gathered in flocks.  Although the shorter wings and tail make it appear smaller than the Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura), the body size is about the same.  Black vultures are also more aggressive and often drive Turkey Vultures away from food.  During the day, Black Vultures soar in flocks, often gathered with Turkey Vultures and hawks.  They roost in groups in trees and transmission towers, waiting through the early morning for the air to warm up and thermals to develop.  Then once more they are gathered in the sky to soar the thermals. 

After eating lunch and enjoying the vultures gathered in the sky, I convinced Melissa we should at least try dropping a line since we were already at the reservoir.  I previously mentioned how I carry my fishing poles in the back of the jeep โ€œjust in caseโ€, and today the worms had somehow managed to sneak in as well.  I set up Melissaโ€™s line then broke out my fly rod.  My trusty trout magnet quickly caught one of the biggest bluegills of the day.  After several fish I decided to join Melissa sitting on the edge of the patio that had been built this summer.  When it comes to bluegills it is hard for me to keep up with Melissaโ€™s prowess and she out fished me.  It seems the fish had all gathered around the boat ramp and were feeding voraciously, fattening up for the winter.  Since they had gathered, we were able to catch 35 fish in just over an hour.  Melissa mentioned while it was nice to catch so many bluegills, she would have liked some variety.  The last fish she caught was a large crappie.  As we left for home, we came across a group of vultures gathered beside the road.  Now that is a way to relieve stress. 

๐—ง๐—ต๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ด๐—ต๐˜๐˜€:  Like many in America yesterday, we gathered with our close family for a Thanksgiving meal.  While we had chosen to not be gathered last year, we have been vaccinated (even boosted) this year.  The CDC said prior to the holiday the most critical way of protecting you and those around you is to get vaccinated.  Dr. Anthony Fauci implored people to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday safely.  As Thanksgiving and the December holidays draw near, some experts fear that being gathered and increased travel could lead to a new surge in covid cases.  It is predicted that Thanksgiving travel will return to pre-pandemic levels as flight bookings were just 1% lower in 2021 than they had been in 2019.  It is safe to be gathered, but we need to do so wisely.  Follow the science.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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