Tag Archives: wildlife

On meeting a fox

Earlier today I approached the edge of a wooded area on foot and saw a fox, who was clearly surprised to see me. It turned tail and headed back into the woods a bit, then stopped, stood still, and looked at me. I just looked back, happy to see it, and trying to send “I come in peace” vibes. In this suburban area, foxes are not a wildly uncommon sight, but infrequent enough that I consider a sighting special. Plus, um, they don’t bother me or other people so far as I know – nobody is raising chickens or other livestock around here for them to attack and so forth – so I don’t have any reason to take issue with them.

The fox appeared to be an adult, in good health, not limping, bleeding, or frothing at the mouth. I mention all that because what the fox did next was very unusual in my estimation. It looked away from me, initially, nosing some low-lying vegetation and then trotted a bit further into the woods and lay down. I mean it curled up they way they do on TV! (TV is my reference point for fox and most wildlife behavior. I’ve only ever seen real-life foxes running away; that’s what they typically do when they see me or other humans to the best of my knowledge.) I couldn’t help it; although I’d been silent till that point, when the fox curled up on the ground, I automatically said, “Awww.” Mind you, it was still maintaining eye contact, but that comfort level it had, both surprised and pleased me.

In time I went on about my business nearby and when I looked again for it, the fox was trotting to a little hill where it looked back at me.  We made eye contact again for a moment and then went our separate ways.

 

A frog and Oregano update

The other day I posted a photo of a frog in the Oregano. He (let’s just call him he) has stuck round; I probably first saw him a week or more before I took that picture.

Since the frog was a relatively big hit on the blog, here is another shot I took the same day, which adds to the perspective.
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I like to go out and say hello (granted, he does not appear to enjoy these conversations as much as I do) but I don’t try to touch or otherwise bother him. I like to think he’s grown used to me. We’ve each given the other a start a few times when one or the other of us was taken by surprise. Once I saw him leap up onto an Oregano stalk and appear to stand on his hind legs against it. It looked odd but I figured he knew what he was doing. Surprisingly, the Oregano did not keel over from his weight.

For want of sun, Oregano is one of the few herbs I can grow here successfully and that’s mainly before the trees leaf out. I HAD planned minimally to cut down half the Oregano to dry it while it still looks good (it will soon turn gangly and grow ever-tinier leaves). I’d further thought to dig out half of it to free up space to plant other herbs so that they might also wither and do poorly. These plans are shelved for now. I want the frog to stay as long as he cares to and if I go in there messing around too much, let alone committing what could only seem like a calamitous act of deforestation from his point of view, he’d probably move along.

Here he is this morning, nestled comfortably behind the Oregano. What a good spot. I know one day he just won’t be there anymore, but for now, he is a small delight, worth a bit of inconvenience.
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Frog in Oregano jungle

Frog in Oregano jungle

Mocking the squirrel

I saw the squirrel jump onto the six-foot tall shepherd’s hook to get to the bird’s suet feeder. I opened the door and reprimanded him with a firm, “Excuse me!” Instead of frantically leaping to the ground as typical and expected, the squirrel, defeated, slowly slid down the length, clinging, as if it was on a mini bat pole. I laughed and laughed.
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Short Thought 67 (What was THAT?)

Although I live in the suburbs of a large city, I’m fortunate – very – to have a few places nearby to enjoy nature and wildlife. I was visiting one of my favorite spots when I heard a strange “heh, heh, heh” sound. I quickly looked around expecting to see someone’s unleashed dog, panting. But there was no dog, no nothing. I was alone. And then I saw it. An eagle had just flown directly over my head and that sound – heh, heh, heh – was the flapping of its wings.

Short Thought 55 (raccoon)

The other week, not long before dusk, I was sitting outside in the garden relaxing. I’d had the radio on but turned it off just to hear the natural sounds. I don’t know which of us was more surprised when a raccoon appeared suddenly at the bird bath. We stared at each other in one of those dramatic, loaded pauses, each taking a beat to register just what the other was. His reflexes were quicker than mine, as he turned, foregoing the drink he’d come for, and disappeared soundlessly under the hostas.

My bird bathing station is all the rage

These aren’t good photos (taken from a tablet on zoom, through a screen tent & cropped – shocking they aren’t high caliber) but I wanted to show you a couple visitors to the Bird Bath Station this summer. No, I don’t mean the stone lions.

This was just before the dove freaked out as doves are wont to do

This was just before the dove freaked out as doves are wont to do

Chickadees are the cutest

Chickadees are the cutest

Each titmouse gets their own pool

Each titmouse gets their own pool

Mr. Squirrel takes a dainty sip

Mr. Squirrel takes a dainty sip

Catbird had been shy but not today.

Catbird had been shy but not today.

How very refreshing!

“How very refreshing!”

Let me shimmy this way.

“Let me shimmy this way.”

Getting into this.

“Getting into this.”

This one might be better.

“This one might be better.”

Oh, I love it when I have all the pools to myself! The way it SHOULD be.

“Oh, I love it when I have all the pools to myself! The way it SHOULD be.”

Well, that oughta do it for today. Damn, I wish the snack bar was open.

“Well, that oughta do it for today. Damn, I wish the snack bar was open.”