wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Reggie Raccoon

Apologies for the fuzzy photo. In the middle of the night, I took this picture in a big hurry through the dining room window while the Captain shone a flashlight at this guy from the deck. Seconds later the bandit was gone.

 

Reggie saunters through the yard,

Looking for a treat,

Doesn’t want to work too hard,

Tired are his feet.

 

Sneaking ‘cross the lawn at night,

Hears a spaniel bark,

Though he jumps up in a fright,

Tiptoes through the dark.

 

Motion sensor light comes on,

“Oh, which way to go?

Hurry, get across that lawn,

Feet are much too slow.”

 

Soon he comes up to a tree,

Ponders his escape,

Opens wide his eyes to see,

And his mouth’s agape.

 

No more danger, no more dog,

Woodshed is quite near,

If he makes it to that log,

Nothing more to fear.

 

“Yikes! What is that brilliant light?

Shining right on me,

Wish I’d scampered out of sight,

Up that big fir tree.”

 

“Nothing else to do but smile,

Hope the photo’s good.

Then I’m getting out of Dodge,

Right behind this wood.”


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Bald Eagles

I saw an eagle land in a tree below my house, so I went out onto the deck to take its picture.

Then I zoomed in on it and got a close up of it, but had no place to steady the camera and just took my chances.

In a second closeup, I saw that he had his beak open and I could see its tongue, but I see that the photo is quite small on the blog, so if you want to see the eagle’s tongue, you’ll have to click on the photo to make it bigger. Even so, it will be hard to see.

These birds are much bigger than they look. If you had one sitting beside you with its wings spread out, tip to tip those wings could span 8 feet. The bird might weigh about 14 lbs., the size of a small turkey. 

Anyone walking a small dog or worse yet, letting it run around in their backyard in eagle territory, had better watch out for it. They make a nice snack. Although eagles are not water birds, they will do what they have to do to procure food. I have seen an eagle with a loon in its beak, dragging it across the surface of the water as the eagle swims with one wing paddling like a lifeguard saving a drowning person, until it got to shore where it cold devour the bird. I have seen it do the same after swooping down to pick up a coho salmon just below the surface of the water. They are incredibly strong birds.

At this time of year, the herring come close to shore to spawn. This means a bounty of food for the eagles. You can see these birds showing up in the tall trees near the beaches in greater numbers to await the arrival of the herring. 

Eagles are not totally scavengers, but they are like a cleanup crew of a different kind. They are opportunists and will eat what is already dead, but they pick off sick or injured animals, whether they be land- or sea-birds, small mammals, or fish.  A crippled duck won’t suffer long with eagles around.

This is why you will often see eagles high up in a tree. They observe a large area, watching for stragglers in a flock of birds, or any weakness in animals small enough for them to pick up.

 

This raccoon may have been sick, injured, or dead, and became an eagle’s meal.

“Hmm…. There must be a little morsel left.”

 

“He’s messed up my nice white head feathers, but it’s worth it. What’s a bit of blood when you can fill your boots like this?”

“Just a few tidbits left. I hope I can still fly up into that tree with my stomach so full.”

 

Once when I was playing with Ruby, our late springer spaniel (then a small puppy), in the backyard, two eagles had been sitting unnoticed by me, in a nearby fir tree. They swooped down low across the yard, heading for tiny Ruby. I ran for Ruby and spread out my arms to provide an “umbrella” over her, and the eagles lifted up like two jets making an aborted landing. If I hadn’t been out there with her, she would have been eagle food that day.

 

So take care if you live in eagle country and have small dogs or cats. 

 


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Prowlers

Smoke from California wildfires is back again. This is the sun in the late afternoon.

Hours later, I saw the full moon rise, looking just as red.

I didn’t know whether to open or close the sliding glass door for the night, but decided on a compromise, half open.

Once the moon was gone, the household was asleep in pitch dark. Emma’s sudden sharp barking had me leaping out of bed. After shushing her, I stood by the open deck door, listening. Scritchety-scratch, scrabbling came from the nearby fir trees. I got the flashlight out and discovered the prowlers. Two of them!

They weren’t shy. I know they’ve been here before. This time they were after the hazelnuts that Lincoln hadn’t managed to steal yet. The Captain held the light while I snapped the picture.

In the morning I found new holes dug in the grass. I felt guilty about having accused the rabbits of making those holes a few weeks ago, but maybe they were all guilty of having digging parties. Not sure what they were digging for, but they could get jobs on an open-pit mine site.


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Night Prowlers

On the BC coast, if you have trees around, you’ll have raccoons. About three years ago, this fellow and his friends visited our yard and I managed to snap some pictures. It was easy enough to do in the daytime. But it’s the nighttime when these guys are most active. We hear them snapping and snarling and scrambling up and down the trees. Since I don’t have chickens, I don’t mind the raccoons being around too much, as long as they don’t interact with my dogs. I hadn’t seen any raccoons around for a while and had forgotten all about them until a couple of nights ago.

raccoon

I was in bed, almost asleep at about 11:30 p.m., when the room got a little bit brighter. I got up to find the source of the light. It was outside – the perimeter light on our workshop. Someone or something had walked by near the workshop and made the light come on.  I shone a flashlight around the yard and there he was. He had his mask on and was prowling around the backyard looking for trouble.

I ran for the camera while the Captain held the light on a second bandit who was climbing a tree not far from the back deck. I snapped a picture but it didn’t come out very well. The spotlight was too bright. The gray thing to the left of the raccoon is the utility trailer hitch, messing up the picture even more.

Anyway, we now know what has been causing our light to come on in the yard. I’ll be careful not to let the dogs out at night without a leash. Wouldn’t want them to tangle with one of these guys. They can be quite vicious when cornered.

 


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A Party, You Say?

Yes, wake up Mr.Raccoon. It’s Canada’s 150th birthday party. Imagine! 150 years!

But I’m so cozy up in the crook of this big tree. Will I have to come down to join the party? I saw a dog down there on the ground.

C’mon down, Rocky. We can play party games.

Don’t worry about Emma. She can’t climb. You can watch the celebrations from the safety of your tree. Just enjoy the wonders of living in this great country. Smile, be happy, be grateful.

Well, if you put it that way, of course. I can have my own little party up here in the tree. Plenty of room on this raccoon tree rest. So let’s get the party rolling. Sorry, Emma. I don’t like playing tag with dogs, but would ya bring me a beer, eh? And Happy Canada Day!