Thursday, June 23, 2016

Three Baleful Bunnies, Five Thunderbirds, One Sunny Summer's Day

A couple of extremely random acts of photography. There are more. Might as well get ‘em out there.

It was the second day of June. This month, this year. Only three weeks ago as of this writing, but of another age entirely when I looked out the window and saw these beady-eyed monsters looking back at me.

Six years out from the Summer of Half-Eaten Cats, when coyotes and foxes chewed through our north Colorado Springs neighborhood, the rabbits have multiplied in number. They have gotten so numerous and so bold you can walk up close enough to pet them. They won’t allow that, naturally—not yet, and I don’t advise trying it with these rabies and plague (yes, plague) vectors. 

Aside from the awkwardness of being mean-mugged by famously timid creatures, my wife and I have both been charged by bunnies in the front yard. They will break off and run away at a neat 90-degree angle once they get close enough, but it’s unsettling all the same. 

I’ve been telling myself for three summers straight this increase in the rabbit population cannot continue, but here we are with two or three grown rabbits per yard—I’m talking two or three to every front and back yard—and the little cottontailed creeps are starting to get territorial. I saw two bunny fights in the front yard in one week. I was fortunate enough to get part of the second fight on video, but I’ve yet to edit it. You’re not missing anything, really. Just a big bunny jump high in front of another. 

It’s when they rear up on their hind legs to do the kangaroo boxing that you realize they’re serious.  Keep in mind those front claws they’ve deployed are designed to dig deep holes in hard earth. That first fight could have ended bloody, but the second party wisely opted for retreat.

After a point, it’s no longer noble Hazel, Fiver, Bigwig and the rest of the good rabbits from Watership Down, but troops loyal to General Woundwort’s camp. Seriously, one hopes the predators do return sometime to thin out the population. It’s that, or disease. Disease can be even messier, what with all the intact corpses lying about.

Back in my office, I heard the roar of jet aircraft overhead, and I realized this was the tenth, and likely last year I'd be in Colorado Springs for the graduation of the US Air Force Academy cadets. The Thunderbirds had been practicing throughout the week, as is their custom, and we were now closing in on the final flyover of Falcon Stadium on the Academy. As the Air Force Academy grounds lie due west from my position up the ridges on the other side of I-25. I might be able to catch a glimpse of them from Frontier Park, across the street just north of my house.

They made several passes, but these were the best shots I got.

I wonder if this was where that fifth jet ran into trouble and separated from the group. The pilot later ditched in a field, the jet's fuselage skidding largely intact into a field as the pilot parachuted to the ground. 

As always, Pikes Peak was looking like the usual adjectives, serene, majestic, etc.