Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Best Show in Town

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Velvet just posted about the return of a young male peacock that she is so enamored with. I too share her passion.

When I moved here just over six years ago, I immediately decided someone had a very loud baby. After listening to this creature cry in the night, I decided it was instead a very loud cat. And then, on a walk with Maggie, about a 1/2 mile away, I realized the noise was coming from a tree! It was then I discovered we have peacocks!

I could only spot two, male and female, at first. A fellow hiker told me there were actually six, three of each. But the most I would ever see was two males and one hen. I never believed there were six. After some months, I stumbled on two hens and one male... ah... so there were at least four in my mind.

That winter, Maggie and I spent an entire month in Baton Rouge with my mom. Another really awful Christmas. I was almost suicidal by the time we came back to California. My first day back, all six peacocks came strutting by and hung out in my front yard for the longest time. That is the ONLY time I've ever seen them this far east. It was like they knew I needed a little boost that day.

Over the years, I've learned where they hang out and drive out of my way several times a week in hopes of seeing them. I've watched with great expectations as the hens have chicks. My heart has sank as the chicks have, coyotes, winter.

But still our flock has remained at six until two summers ago. Three young males lived and thrived. And last summer all the new chicks died and one of hens disappeared late summer. But she surprised us in October with a new bunch of chicks.

The best show in this sleepy neck of Los Angeles is when the peacocks all retreat to their home tree come sunset. It's not unusual to find many of the hikers I know up on the hill watching these incredible birds fly to roost in the early evening hours.

I've tried photographing them over the years and found it so difficult. I tried again a few weeks ago when I stumbled on several of the young males playing chase. My camera only captured a bunch of blue blurs.

But after reading Velvet's post and looking back her fabulous pictures, I was determined to get our bunch photographed. The big male above was the first one I spotted. I drove around a bit and had given up on finding more of the flock until I realized the big male kept staring at the house across the street. There I found four more.

The hen is between the big male and little male. Below is their "home." This tree is on a T-bone street corner. Most all the neighbors love the peacocks except the jerk that just built a house directly across from the tree. But he would be an idiot to try and harm them.

After walking Mabel, I returned, determined to photograph them flying. I counted 13 peacocks in the dusk but was too excited to keep track of sexes. Below is a few of them preparing to ascend into the tree. All in all, I attempted to take pictures of nine of them flying... and only got a blurry mess of tree limbs.

This young male became fascinated with me and came over for a closer look. (Hey, at least I now know I can still attract a man!)
But he too left me for the rooftop and then home.

This left the last big male on the ground. This is part of their ritual - the big guy goes home last. He wasn't too sure about me and wandered around a bit. He went next door, hopped up on the fence, then to the roof, down the fence between the houses, up to the roof next door, onto the chimney and then home.


Anonymous said...

OMG, I can't believe this. I'd just LOVE to see those peacocks 'in person'! It must be some sight - they are so big - and so beautiful. You're very lucky to be able to see them. Thanks so much for sharing.

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

Jackie, They ARE so amazing. I am beyond fascinated with them!

Anonymous said...

You've got quite a population there! I especially like that last photo of peacock against a pastel sky. Carmon

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

Carmon, I love that last photo too. I also love the little guy on the roof by himself, staring at the tree, longing for home.

Linda@VS said...

Oh my, these are wonderful! I can't even imagine how much fun it must be to see so many of these magnificent creatures at once. Amazing!

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

Velvet, I just wish I could get decent photos of them like some of yours! They really are a hard group to photograph. But I'm gonna keep trying.