Monday, 31 October 2016

Bran Tub # 6: King Vulture … and tentatively Halloween, with a nod to the Mayan civilisation for its glyphs … then there’s an anaconda thrown in for good measure …



This chap seemed to match so many things … Autumn colours, being eye-balled, a bird I needed to find out about … and it’s Halloween – one of those putting their head over the hedge would trick a few …


King Vulture - Wiki's photo of the day
on Friday 28th October 2016

Isn’t he magnificent … just stunning – nature is so incredible … these guys live in the tropical lowland forests stretching from southern Mexico to northern Argentina.




An adult
Its ruff, flight and tail feathers are grey to black, while their heads and necks are bald with varying skin colour.


King of the Dead … this king has the perfect tools for feasting on bodies … the thick curved beak is strong enough to tear open even the armoured skin of alligators …



I bet that pumpkin didn't last long ... 

… the beak’s edges are as sharp as scissors and can slice away strips of meat.  Its claws are too weak to tear flesh, but … they are large and give the scavenger perfect balance when it tears into bodies, even those floating in water.



The King Vulture is the world’s largest vulture … its colours scare away smaller scavengers … so it gets the tastiest flesh … the rest will fight for the scrag ends …


An anaconda .... it could have eaten a cow:
I think it will be satiated for a while?!  Yugh!


Horror of horror … the Anaconda … can reach over 37 feet in length … they live on a variety of animals or in this case – your sleepless night is as good as mine!





Slightly enhanced image of a tropical forest


Tropical Rainforest … this is rather an idyllic view … but some of those pictures above sent me into horror Halloween mode …





However these Kingly vultures are a species of ‘least concern’ … with as many as 10,000 to 100,000 wild individuals …. there is a decline primarily due to habitat destruction and poaching.


Cozcacuauhatli
from the Codex
Laud

The archaeological glyph is easily distinguishable today by the knob on the bird’s head, and by the concentric circles that make up the bird’s eyes. 




'Signo Quiahuitl' -
in the Codex Laud at the Bodleian
Library Oxford

It is one of the most common species of birds represented in the Maya codices … a codex is a folding book from pre-Columbian Mayan civilisation (2,000BC to Columbus’ voyages of 1492), written in Mayan hieroglyphic script.






I'm eye-balling you!


So we have a Halloween aversion and abhorrence to the Anaconda with its abomination of a greedy guts … to some history on the glyph … archaeological version …




… leading us back to that magnificent bird the King Vulture … he is extraordinary … and I had never seen one before – hence he’s here in all his autumnal Halloween glory … 


Happy Halloween to one and all … that anaconda and I do not get on!


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

75 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

LOVE the vulture - which I hadn't heard of.
I don't do snakes well. Even non venomous ones.
And a very happy Halloween to you too.

D.G. Hudson said...

The only vultures I've seen were the ugly ones in the deep South. That was during my early years, and the feeding areas may have changed. I saw them circling near farms during calving or whatever it's called looking for leftovers. This King Vulture has gorgeous colouring, but he's still a scavenger. Interesting as always at your blog, hope your Halloween is merry not scary.. .unless you like it so.

Mason Canyon said...

Never knew a scavenger bird could look so pretty and colorful. I'm not generally afraid of snakes but I think I would make an exception for the anaconda. Happy Halloween, Hilary.

Mike Goad said...

Vultures seem to be more common than they were when we first moved here in 1981. A snake that large would be quite a fright, I'm afraid.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I love feeding birds in the backyard, but those vultures! This one is beautiful, unlike the 'turkey vultures' (this may be Southern US dialect and not their actual names!) are not as pretty as this guy!

That anaconda--wow. I feel like that after Thanksgiving some years...;)

Karen Walker said...

Gorgeous bird! Oh dear, Anacondas are terrifying to think about. Happy Halloween, dear
Hillary.

Out on the prairie said...

I like the vulture, very unusual. I see that snake has had a recent meal so one might be safe. I am amazed when people want a snake for a pet

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ EC – I thought the vulture would ‘amuse’ … and I’m not that keen on snakes … but as it’s Halloween and all things creepy – Mr or Mrs Anaconda seemed to fit the bill …

@ DG – good to see you … yes the only ones I’ve ever seen were in South Africa after a kill, or at an opportune moment of weakness somewhere – as you say calving or similar. This King Vulture is still a scavenger … but I couldn’t resist him …

I am going out this evening to hear a story of someone who escaped the Holocaust … and lived to tell the tale … not an ideal Halloween talk, but perhaps sadly appropriate …

@ Mason – when I saw the image in Wiki – I knew I had to write him up … and that anaconda is ‘the pits’ for me … I’m glad it has had a meal!

@ Mike – vultures are survival experts … in South Africa they were being poisoned, but I’m not sure now. Certainly that snake would horrify me if it slithered by …

@ Elizabeth – I agree watching and feeding the garden birds is a wonderful pastime … but vultures in groups can be fairly intimidating. This chap is handsome … but after reading what he can do … I think I’ll steer clear.

Oh yes … me too – on occasions … eating way too much is definitely not a good idea – he will live for a while on that ….

@ Karen – thanks he is a gorgeous bird isn’t he … and I don’t want to meet an anaconda – really of any size.

@ Steve – oh great … he kind of went to my heart he’s so pretty! Yes the anaconda does look well satiated for now … but I agree I get really quite stressed when I go into someone’s house and see a range of snakes in various glass cages … I always hope they’re well looked after, but I do want to leave quickly!

Cheers and Happy Halloweens to you all – don’t eat too much candy! Enjoy the fun with the kids and oldies though … Hilary

Bish Denham said...

What a beautiful bird. Though many may find buzzards and vultures repulsive, I have a deep fondness for them. Their soaring ability is next to none. Their eating the remains of dead animals helps to prevent disease and pestilence. And the ones we have here in Texas hang out in groups, they are family oriented.

Great choice for Halloween.

Jo said...

No I'm not too fond of anacondas either. I first came across them in Forsythe's Exploration book from many years ago which they have subsequently pooh poohed as nonsense or exaggeration. Either which way, I wouldn't like to meet one. Interesting about the King Vulture and it is certainly recognizable in those glyphs. Nature is incredible isn't it?

Annalisa Crawford said...

The colours on the King Vulture are amazing, but wow, he's kinda ugly, isn't he? I had to look away from the anaconda, ugh!

Christine Rains said...

I've never seen a vulture so beautiful before! And for the snake, yes, I'm backing away from that one. Happy Halloween! :)

Chrys Fey said...

That anaconda is creepy. I wonder what it ate, but...I don't really want to know.

Happy Halloween!

Ann Carbine Best said...

King Vulture - magnificent king indeed, and a fitting figure for Halloween. Such colorful pictures as always. LOVE them. How amazing, also, that I just barely finished putting up my post - and there was your beautiful face, first comment. A very Happy Halloween to you, dear friend.

H.R. Sinclair, Southpaw said...

Yes! That bird is beautiful! The colors are outstanding. The anaconda though is creepy. Have a great Halloween.

Joanne said...

aversion and abhorrence abound at Halloween time. Your vocabulary just raises each post to a higher level. The King Vulture rules. The anaconda however gives me the creeps any time of year.
Boo! Enjoy your celebrations and bonfires in the UK

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

The vulture is colorful.
Guess that anaconda won't be going anywhere for a while.

My Life in the Charente said...

That vulture is so much more beautiful than then the ones I know from South Africa. Thanks for enlightening me that they can be gorgeous. As for snakes I am quite fond of them, though I am happy to keep my distance from the more poisonous ones. That anaconda though looks like it has had a meal that might keep it quiet for some time :-) Hope you are well Diane

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Bish – isn’t he beautiful. I agree vultures can be pretty daunting to see and watch – but this chap is magnificent … and as you say their soaring ability is just superb, while their diet cleans up the landscape. Are they family oriented … that’s interesting to know. Thanks re my choice for Halloween …

@ Jo – any snakes I’m not keen on … but this large – I’d be off! I hadn’t heard of Forsythe’s Exploration book … I’m sure it was a very good reference book … and after all we find out things aren’t necessarily correct decades or years later …

Nature is incredible … the King Vulture stands out – no wonder the Mayans immortalised the bird …

@ Annalisa – vultures aren’t pretty I’m afraid, but this chap’s colours are just wonderful. Oh the anaconda … I had to put him in – just glad it’s an image!

@ Christine – nor have I Christine … I think I’m in love with the vulture! I’ll be with you … backing away from the Anaconda!

@ Chrys – I’m not sure what it ate – but it was a largish mammal … and I too don’t want to know … it’ll have a long digestion with strong stomach acids and no doubt some noxious belching!

@ Ann – he is a magnificent bird isn’t he … and thanks – I thought he was fitting for Halloween. Glad my comment appeared … I hope you both have a happy evening …

@ Holly – same feelings from you … wonderful colours on the vulture – ghastly thoughts about the anaconda!

@ Joanne – it suddenly came to me … that I could add a little alliteration in to the post – so I’m delighted you picked up on it. The King Vulture certainly rules in my life of ‘pretty birds’ … but I’m with you on the Anaconda … I am loving the bonfire aromas I get when I’m out and about …

@ Alex – the vulture is stunning isn’t he; while anaconda can remain mud-covered for a long while me thinks!

@ Diane – that’s what I thought when I saw the photo … the only vultures I’ve known were the South African ones. I just can’t come to terms with snakes … especially poisonous ones … but I wouldn’t know which ones were which. I think that chappy is going to digest his food slowly for a while …

Cheers to you all – thanks so much for visiting … glad you’ve enjoyed ‘my happy pretty vulture’ – we’ll forget the revolting anaconda!! I know they have to live … but … Happy Halloweens. Hilary

Jacqui Murray said...

What a duo. I haven't heard of the King and didn't know an Anaconda could eat a cow. Happy Halloween to you too!

Patsy said...

As vultures go, that one is quite attractive. I'm going to try and pretend I never saw the snake.

Janie Junebug said...

I saw a vulture once just outside of DisneyWorld of all places. He was quite the ugly fellow. Snakes terrify me.

Love,
Janie

cleemckenzie said...

Those featherless necks are a perfect adaptation for vultures. Think how messy feathers would be after a delightful feast on carrion. Euuu!

That anaconda has some mighty big thing tucked inside. That snake won't be eating for a while, so I feel a bit safer for the moment. No snakes for me please. Big or little.

Suzanne Furness said...

Wow, what amazing colours! Isn't the natural world fantastic and full of wonders? Don't have nightmares about the snakes!

Fil said...

What fabulous colours - hard to believe it's a vulture... but the snake is really scary.
Happy Halloween :)

Liz A. said...

Now this was a Halloween post I did not expect, and yet it ties in perfectly.

rosaria williams said...

I do not think I have ever seen a vulture. Yours is fantastic. Great animal, through and through.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jacqui - I was somewhat surprised by both ... but to be able to see the Anaconda was a little much!

@ Patsy - I couldn't resist him ... and me too - I avoid the snake if at all possible ...

@ Janie - vultures are ugly ... but this one is very pretty?! Snakes and I aren't that compatible either ...

@ Lee - yes, you're right ... great adaptions for their slot in nature ... nature is extraordinary in its evolution. The snake had had an elegant sufficiency for a while ... my father used to hatch snakes at home ... I wasn't too happy!

@ Suzanne - exactly what I thought .. amazing colours. You are so right in noting that the natural world is fantastic and full of wonders. I'll try and not worry too much re the snake!

@ Fil - these are the thoughts I had ... and I needed to keep the vulture in my memory bank - the blog is a good place ... snakes are a no no for me.

@ Liz - so pleased you thought this is an appropriate Halloween post - a little different yes ... but it did tie in ...

@ Rosaria - they're not pretty birds ... just this one is rather elegant - not something one normally says about a vulture!

Thanks so much for visiting ... I hope you had lovely fun Halloweens with the kids and family ... cheers for now - Hilary

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I think it's a gorgeous bird. Such vivid colors.

beste barki said...

You've said it Hilary, 'nature is so incredible'.

Dominica Sygula said...

OMG nature I amazing the birds look stunning! I personaly love peacocks and peagons they so cute and friendly and people take advantage. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.. :-) Have a lovely day! Visit me whenever you have time www.its-dominica.blogspot.co.uk kisses Dominica! xXx

Gattina said...

An impressive bird ! Looks as if somebody who loves colours has painted it ! He earns his name "King" !

Nilanjana Bose said...

I don't get along with anacondas as well, any snake for that matter...the vulture is just magnificent, truly regal colours!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

He really is fabulous. I watch the vultures in Mexico. They are black with a bright red head. Some might say they're ugly, but I don't think. Nothing is more graceful in flight than these huge birds.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Diane ... isn't he gorgeous .. thanks

@ Beste - nature is quite incredible so very true ...

@ Dominica - good to see you here ... and so pleased you enjoyed 'King Vulture' ... peacocks and peahens are lovely too ...

@ Gattina - I know he does look painted doesn't he ... the colours are extraordinary ...

@ Nila - I haven't met many anacondas - none I can think of!! As you say the King has truly regal colours ...

@ Joylene - I can imagine you'll spend lots of time in Mexico watching the birds ... and vultures are magnificent soarers - I loved watching them in South Africa - but not so pretty as here. Your black and red ones must be wonderful to see too .. they're not pretty ... but they have magnificent flight ...

Thanks so much for visiting and enjoy 'My' King Vulture! Cheers Hilary

Anabel Marsh said...

Don't like the snake either! But other than that, gorgeous.

LD Masterson said...

The King Vulture is impressive. I guess the anaconda is too in his own way but he gives me the willies.

Nick Wilford said...

Fascinating! I thought all vultures were just grey or black. No wonder this one is called the king.

Trisha F said...

Nature is indeed amazing! I love all the fascinating creatures we can now find out about on wildlife documentaries and so on. I've got a particular fascination with the weirdos that live under the sea ;)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Anabel - the snake (poor anaconda) is revolting isn't it ... but glad you like the rest ...

@ LD - impressive - another good word for the King Vulture. Willies for the anaconda - well I think that's a fun one too ..

@ Nick - me too ... black and grey - and I have never have known if Wiki hadn't highlighted him for us ...

@ Trisha - there's lots of wonderful creatures in the sea ... I'd love to know more about them. Fascinating fabulous nature ...

Cheers to you all and thanks for visiting .. Hilary

Nicola said...

I'm a big scaredy cat and would run away screaming should I see any of the mentioned creatures - no matter how amazing they are :) A wonderful post, Hilary. Thank you for sharing. Wish you a lovely November.

Susan Scott said...

37 feet! That's almost 4 stories high! I can't even imagine it!
The King Vulture - both beautiful and ugly...the beak that is.
Well, Hilary, Halloween may have passed without any terrifying incident in the night but I'm not sure I'll sleep well this night! Here's eyeballing you!

Hart Johnson said...

Oh what a handsome fellow! I love King Vulture! Around here all we have are turkey vultures, which are preferable to the desert sort which terrify me, but never mind... this colorful guy would make me happy. The anaconda, not so much...

Lynn said...

Snakes - oh my, not a fan! Good Halloween post!

Silvia Villalobos said...

Oh, that anaconda and I would not be getting on either. Gotta love the colors on the vulture, the intensity in the eye. Nature sure is extraordinary.
Halloween was fun and cheery. So many creative parents, putting their little ones in beautiful costumes. I hope you enjoy the season, Hilary. Cheers.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

That is one colorful bird! The strange protuberances on the beak are fascinating. I'm sure they serve some evolutionary purpose, although I can't imagine what.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I've seen pictures of that vulture. It is magnificent and frightening. The regular vultures that live around here make me uneasy. I see them often on my walks and sometimes up close. They're not timid creatures and don't mind that I'm walking near them. I don't mind all the little snakes I see around my place and am glad none of them are near that big.

Elsie Amata said...

Well that made me shudder to think about: tearing into bodies floating in the water. Gasp! That can stay in the warmer climates thank you very much! :)

Mark Noce said...

Ok, that anaconda is fricking terrifying...Happy Halloween? :)

Crystal Collier said...

The most terrifying part is that there are a ton of Anacondas in the Florida glades, not far from here. There a whole long story, but they were actually transplanted here by some people who anticipated building an international pet snake company. Short version of the story, all the snakes escaped and now live out in the wilds. Yay for us.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

The only vultures I've ever seen in person are rather drab and... dare I say it? Kind of on the creepy ugly side. But that king vulture is actually beautiful.

The anaconda resembles me after Thanksgiving dinner...

M Pax said...

Cool looking bird. I find its clear eyes fascinating... like those eyes you buy in a craft store. Snakes are OK by me, but I'd rather not run into an anaconda.

Liza said...

That is some bird! Marvelous!

A Cuban In London said...

Beautiful bird. Such colours! :-)

I did not like the anaconda either. :-)

Greetings from London.

Lynda R Young said...

I've never seen a King Vulture before. Gorgeous colours.

Robert Bennett said...

Never seen a king vulture before. Although, a couple days back, there was a flock of a dozen turkey vultures just hanging out on a church near my house.

Ana coelho said...

Fascinating....always thought vultures an ugly bird, but this one is quite amazing...

dolorah said...

I'm not sure I'd use "beautiful" to describe the King Vulture; but he is interesting. Looks diseased. But yes, nature is awesome with everything it creates. Except for the anaconda - can't imagine something that large fitting in its jaws. Truly scary.

This was quite the colorful post Hilary :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Nicola – I think you’d be safe from the vulture … he’d be high up soaring away looking for carrion – but if that slithered thing should come near I’d be worried indeed.

@ Susan – 37 feet … yes they are long, long and in some cases well fed fat! Isn’t the King Vulture fabulous … nasty but amazing. Thanks .. and hope you slept ok!

@ Hart – isn’t he handsome … I’ve written about your turkey vultures … but this chap just stood out from the crowd … the slithery chap – suited Halloween.

@ Lynn – Shakes I thought you had written, but I see it’s snakes alive! Sorry … good for Halloween though ... thanks

@ Silvia – the anaconda seems to strike fear into us all. I was amazed at the vulture, I love the way the skin/feathers have developed round the eye …
So glad to read you and the family had lots of fun for Halloween.

@ Dianne – the protuberances are strange aren’t they, as too the way there’s that rope look in its feathers around the eye … and as you say evolution at its best – for what we’ll never know …

@ Susan – I’d never seen the vulture before and was amazed at its colour – usually I associate those colours with jungle birds. Vultures do congregate … and seem to know their limitations or ours … and small snakes are ok (sort of)!

@ Elsie – the descriptions of what vultures are capable of, do give rather gory ideas … Crystal reminded me there are anacondas in the Florida Glades …

@ Mark – I know … I am still here … so I guess the anaconda is still digesting and my brain didn’t send me any appalling nightmares.

@ Crystal – I know about the Anacondas in the Glades … the interesting bit (apart from the fact they’re not meant to be there and are found due to human stupidity) is that they are evolving very, very quickly to be able to live in those conditions … that was a very very interesting tv programme – they dissected a couple of them to see the evolutionary change – can’t remember what now ... or the programme! Sorry …

@ Susan – I’ve only seen ‘plain’ vultures … but he is brilliant isn’t he. Oh yes after a big meal … all one wants to do is splodge out!

@ Mary – I just found the King Vulture extraordinary … and as you say those eyes …. But snakes I’m not so happy with …

@ Liza – isn’t he magnificent …

@ ACIL – well I’m glad we’re looking at the post from the same page …

@ Lynda – I’m glad I posted about him – he is just wonderful to look at.

@ Robert – they do flock don’t they … that is the normal vultures …

@ Ana – well that’s what I thought … but this slightly belies our intentions to slot things into similar categories …

@ Donna – handsome then?! No …those appendages are very healthy … Nature is extraordinary … even down to the anaconda being able to flex its jaws to eat its meal – that’s one large meal …

Thanks everyone – so glad you enjoyed the Halloween post … (well most of it!) … cheers Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Going back to my reply to Crystal and her comment ... I've just checked and see I think the programme I watched was on Pythons in the Glades ... but the information is interesting ... here's the link:

Monster pythons of the Everglads: Inside Nature's Giants series 2, part II
http://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology/2010/09/03/ing-ser-2-monster-python/

It is interesting reading ... evolution being observed ...

Cheers - Hilary

Empty Nest Insider said...

Hi Hilary! What a bright and colorful looking vulture. It's pretty frightening that the King Vulture's beak can tear through an alligator! I also find the anaconda quite intimidating. Hope you had a Happy Halloween!

Julie

diedre Knight said...

The King Vulture does have a natural Halloween costume! It’s funny that the beautiful colors would scare little critters.
Leapin’ lizards! Did that snake just eat a goat?
I find the rain forest so enchanting! Even the most terrifying animals are dressed in brilliant colors ;-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Julie - he was so appropriate for Halloween ... and I guess I can carry the anaconda over til Thanksgiving ... that might be hungry again by then! Good to see you ...

@ Diedre - I just loved the King Vulture and as you say is all dressed up and rarin' to go ... The colours and the scare effect is a little odd, when one considers other vultures are fairly drab in their colouration ...

I have no idea what the anaconda ate .. but it was one large animal. The rain forest is wonderful and so full of amazing creatures ...

Thanks for visiting ... I hope you all had enjoyable Halloweens - cheers Hilary

Haddock said...

Wow.... that is a lot of information.
Never seen such a colourful vulture before.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Hilary,

What a very UNUSUAL and scary looking creature. Perfect for a Halloween post~ Hope you enjoyed the holiday and have a MAGNIFICENT weekend!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Joe - good to see you and thanks for the comment .. he is pretty isn't he!

@ Michael - just what I thought ... he needed to be shown around ... so with the anaconda they matched up for Autumn and Halloween ...

Thanks so much - cheers to you both - Hilary

TexWisGirl said...

he's very cool!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Thanks Theresa .. he is, as you say, very cool!

Rhonda Albom said...

What brilliant colors. The bird is gorgeous.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Rhonda - he is extraordinary isn't he ... good to see you - Hilary

Jeffrey Scott said...

That is an impressive Anachonda. Doesn't leave much for the King Vulture to pick through, does he? Well, unless the Anachonda itself dies.
Thanks for sharing, what a beautiful bird.

Susan Kane said...

An impressive bird! Too beautiful to be a vulture.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jeffrey - he's an impressive anaconda ... but as you say clever enough to grab the whole meal ... and that beautiful bird missed out here. Thanks for visiting.

@ Susan - I know it seems strange he's a vulture, but he definitely is ... impressive, as you say.

Cheers to you both - Hilary

Juliet Batten said...

What weird and wonderful creatures, and not exactly pretty ones either. Thanks Hilary.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Juliet - I just couldn't resist him ... and so appropriate for Halloween - colouring just right. Cheers and good to see you -Hilary