Creature Feature

Posted March 2018

The big blue orb spins, swirls around the Sun, and the next thing you know, it's almost spring.

A big improvement in Seattle this weekend...clear skies, no wind, and temperatures getting up into the high 50s.  Great day for a little Fly Baby aviatin'.

Mid-50s is still cold enough for the leather A-2 jacket, but I decided to celebrate spring with a lightweight white silk scarf rather than my heavyweight polka-dotted RAF one.  Preflighted, mounted up, cranked the engine, and taxied out to the departure end of the runway.

To be stared at by a flock of Canada Geese.  They were on the far side of the runway, about a dozen of them within ~20 feet of the runway edge.  They didn't care about my runup check, nor when I rolled on the runway and unleashed the mighty Continental.

Oh, well, off into the blue.  Flew over the south end of Puget Sound, watching the container and ROLO ships load in Commencement Bay and watching for whales.  It's migration season, but for a whale to end up in the south end of the Sound, they have to be really confused...but it HAS happened.

Time to head home.  Turned the radio volume back up.  "...and there's geese on the runway...."

Hmmmmm.  Did they actually move into the runway itself?

Another radio call.  "There are two eagles circling around the base leg."

I didn't worry about them, so much, since that plane had turned base ~1/2 mile further out than I was going to.

On final, I stared down at the end.  The blacktop...looked....clear.  I guess.

Getting closer, I could see gray and black blobs near the left edge. They weren't ON the runway, but were only about ten feet from it.

With ~40 feet from the centerline to the edge, I figured I'd have enough clearance...unless they panicked and darted in front of me.

Kept high, slipping down to actually touch down past them.  The distraction extracted its cost; a rough landing, with some wiggling about.

Power on for takeoff.  Lift off, and realize I'm paralleling Raoul the Red-Tail Hawk.  He's along the edge, and I'm outclimbing and passing him.  I can't claim to be able to beak-read, but he seemed to be grumbling "Amateur!" as I went by.

A couple more T&Gs. The geese seem happy where they are, Raoul makes himself scarce, and I never did see the eagles.

Back to the hangar, turn, shut down, and climb out.  I started to walk back the hangar, tugging off my lightweight white scarf.  It actually hadn't done its job as well as the heaver polka-dot one; something to keep in mind for the future.  It's more suited to weather in the 60s.

But when the scarf comes free, I realize how really lightweight it is. I flick it up and down several times, fascinated about how it floats around.

Then it hit me.  My fellow airport tenants might be nervous about the birds, but seeing a fat old man in a leather jacket wafting around a white scarf might scare them worse......

Ron Wanttaja

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