Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tales from Alaska - The Gray Jay and the Pork Chop

It must have been day 8 or so of a 10 day road trip to Alaska. We had stopped for lunch at a Provincial park somewhere in the Northwest Territory of Canada, and were cooking barbequed pork chops under a beautiful northern sky. As I plated the last chop, I noticed a gray jay feeding on the dead insects stuck in the grill of the van. A photo op if I ever saw one.

I put my delicious pork chop on my plate along with all the side fixings and set it down on the picnic table. Quickly grabbing my Pentax ME Super, I walked over toward the van, slowing as I got near. Using my zoom lens, I focused closely as the jay nibbled on an unfortunate dragonfly. Bug to bug the jay hopped, a smorgasbord of beetles, moths, butterflies, dragonflies, and other unknown mush. But there was something interesting about this jay. I swear I saw it looking at me in between hops.

All of a sudden, the jay flew faster than a jet over to the picnic table, grabbed my barbequed pork chop and flew off to the other side of the camp. It, and my delicious pork chop, landed in the dirt 20 feet away.  Of course I kept snapping pictures, and we watched the jay devour what was to be one of the best meals of the trip.

The distraction tactic used by the jay was nothing compared to the one that 15 foot alligator pulled off in the Okeefenokee Swamp. But that is a tale for another day.

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