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Nightly Visitors

The sun has just dropped below the hills. The first bats of the evening flit spastically through the air, looking for those giant beetles that helicopter around on hot nights. Once the bats go to work, the raccoons know it’s dark enough.

One muted sharp chirping bark calls the team together.

It’s time to go to work.

They creep through the hedge, sniff the air, and advance towards the safety of the island of trees.

“Now, Ralphie! Stick close to Mama,” says Rebecca. “And keep that mask on. There’s still Covid around, and even if masks don’t work, it’s better than nothing.”

Rhonda’s family comes out too, gathering around for a quick meeting to discuss the best route for foraging¬† through the yard. Richie, Ronnie, and Rachel mill around waiting for someone to make the first move. “But what’s the bright light?”

“Don’t worry. It’s too dark for anyone to see us now. That’s only some would-be photographer. Just hide behind your mask.”

The group scratches and paws at the ground. Some of them find the ten-lined June beetles that foolishly think they are safe to fly around at night, landing on anything and everything.
But any that land near a raccoon, on the ground or in the trees become just another hors d’oeuvre. Chomp! Chomp! Another one down the hatch.

“But where are we going? Are we going to check out the squirrels’ sunflower seed leftovers first? How do we get through the gate? ”

“Oh, come on then. I’ll show you the way. Never mind those squirrels in the woodshed.”

With a snort, Rebecca motors through the space in the fence, and all four of them follow her on the next stage of their nightly trek.

Once the raccoons started to run for cover it was hard to follow them with the camera, so apologies for the scrambled ending of the video below, but I did spy a small set of eyes hiding behind the tree.