Today, my department took a trip to F&M for IT discussions and kickball. We had a good visit. The folks there were nice and it was helpful to exchange technical experience, questions, and personal stories. I didn't play kickball, but I did keep the water stocked in the shade and urged everyone to stay hydrated :)
A highlight of the trip was shortly after we arrived. We started walking toward the offices and overhead, a pair of raptors were flying low. "Look, turkey vultures! You can tell by the two-toned color of the wings and the 'fingers' - feathers at the ends of the wings." I had been reading about them recently and it was exciting to see some in person :D
They were gliding in circles over the power plant. According to what I read, they don't circle prey like a lion; they actually fly in circles because they're riding the thermals - allowing the warm, rising air to lift them so they can glide with minimal effort. That way, they can glide for long periods of time until they locate food. They use their sense of smell more than sight, unlike black vultures, which rely on vision. Once they find something to eat, they don't stay airborne long. They want to be sure that they eat it before someone else does. Vultures are usually fairly solitary and they nest in quiet areas away from people. They are some of the largest birds in the world.
So after today's outing, I'm reading more about vultures and listening to the opening of this dubstep mix from 2014:
all that remains
of a world in chaos, broken by change
light in the dark
calling now for something to spark"