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Nature & You: Something's afoot in nature

A golden eagle keeps an eye out for prey. [OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES PHOTO]

A golden eagle keeps an eye out for prey. [OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES PHOTO]

Something's afoot in nature

November weather can be a mixed bag. Some days, bone-chilling temperatures will make you regret venturing outdoors. Nevertheless, this is Oklahoma. One need only be selective of which days to schedule a nature hike, and that person can be rewarded with exceptional adventures.

Let me tell you about one of mine.

It was a chilly morning when I hiked into the wilderness at Oklahoma's Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. At midafternoon, however, the abundant sunshine gave me a nudge to seek a shady place to rest. Such a task was easier said than done, because shade trees are few and far between there. I finally settled on a place where a large boulder offered a small puddle of shade. I sat with my legs splayed out in front of me. My brown-colored hiking boots were out in the sun; there wasn't enough room to squeeze all of me in the shade. About then I started daydreaming, wiggling my boots as I kept time with the musical "ear worm" inside my head.

Seconds later, a huge eagle came at me like a jet fighter! I am not sure who was more surprised: Me or the bird who had mistakenly identified the brown moving object as a rabbit.

The eagle put on the brakes right before he got up close and personal with me. I was so close to this bird, I was able to figure out it was a mature golden eagle.

What happened that day will probably be my only chance to see an adult golden eagle that close.

Then again, my heart can probably only endure one shock such as that.

— Neil Garrison, NewsOK Contributor

Neil Garrison was the longtime naturalist at a central Oklahoma nature center.

Neil Garrison

Neil Garrison is an outdoor nature enthusiast. He is a graduate of Oklahoma State University/Stillwater; he earned a B.S. degree in Wildlife Ecology. Prior to his 2009 retirement, he was the Naturalist at a central Oklahoma nature center for 30... Read more ›

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