Friday, June 22, 2007


It's too hot and muggy here to think, so I thought I'd do a lazy picture post. These are a few of the critters I've encountered in the past few days on my trail walks. No rarities among them, but they were all a pleasure to meet. The big water bird is a Great Blue Heron. I see them pretty often. In fact, they fly low over my house every now and then, drawn to my neighbor's pond. They have a wide wingspan and cast a large shadow as they pass, which sometimes freaks out the dogs. The one I saw yesterday was about 50 feet up, cruising along with characteristic grace. You can see a clip of a heron flying here.

The Scarlet Tanager is one of those common-as-dirt birds that I am still always excited to see. They are so beautiful, and they do a fine job of posing in the sun-dappled branches of trees--"Look how pretty I am!"

I was surprised to see a box turtle on the trail very early in the morning, well before 6:00 AM. The sun had just come up, and it wasn't really warm yet. He actually seemed half alseep, didn't even bother to retreat into his shell when I bent down to say hi. It was Solstice morning, so maybe he was up early to observe the holiday.

While the turtle was up early, the raccoon was up late. I almost never see a raccoon on the trail, because they go to bed long before it gets light. So I was surprised when I came around a turn and saw a smallish one nosing around the edge of the trail. He rose up and looked at me, which made me a little cautious (lots of rabies hereabouts.) I spoke to him and he retreated a few yards. After climbing a couple of feet up a tree, he turned his little bandit face to me and watched me walk by.

This big green dragonfly is a female Eastern Pondhawk--a very apt name. I saw her perched on a rock in a pond, and I couldn't understand why she didn't fly away as I leaned down to get a better look at her. Then I saw that she had a cricket locked in a death grip, and she was waiting for me to go away so she could chow down.

Speaking of chow, I was delighted to find the first ripe blackberries of the season on Solstice morning. I picked a few and ate them in honor of the day. The drought this spring has made them a little bitter and grainy, but I was still happy to find them. Apparently, so was somebody else. By the next morning some human or critter had stripped every ripe berry off the vines.


Lou said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lou said...

^sorry. Paradisaical. What pictures!

BitterGrace said...

It is sometimes a bit like paradise around here. I can't take any credit for the pics--remember, it's a "lazy" picture post. These are all scavenged off the 'net.

I do wish I wasn't so hopeless with a camera. Right now out my back window I can see a male goldfinch feeding at a sunflower, and 2 little bunnies chasing each other around my day lilies.

Anonymous said...

Hi BG!

I almost got a tattoo of a Blue Heron. They are beautfiul birds. I think in the animal medicine / totem world, they mean balance.

Beautiful pics.

Dawn :)

Anonymous said...

Lovely post. I never thought of scarlet tanagers as being very common around here. We see them very rarely, but it's sure a treat when we do. We have a raccoon who raids the cat food in the barn at night. We've live-trapped him several times and taken him up the road a ways but he (or one of his brothers) always comes back. It's funny to see a 'coon chowing down with a bunch of cats. Our blackberries are dry as dust and not very tasty, but with a little rain maybe they'll come around. It's early yet. Love your blog, Bittergrace.

BitterGrace said...

Hey, Dawn, good to see you. Aren't the herons amazing? There's something so majestic yet delicate about them.

Bozo, I bet your raccoon is trying to figure out how to get the cats to move out so he can have the Friskies all to himself. I used to feed a feral cat outside, and he shared his food with the possums, mostly. Then one night a raccoon came and actually carried the feeder away. I found it weeks later back in the trees behind the house. They like to steal my suet feeders, too. They're a nuisance, but I can't help loving them.

Juvy Santos said...

Maria, I have a 'thing' for raccoons. I love them...

Once, my b/f's aunt adopted two baby raccoons that had lost their mother to traffic. She found them living underneath her porch, and took pity on them, fed them dog food for a little while. She said they were really sweet...and even though I know you shouldn't take wild things into your home, my heart melted when I saw pics of the two baby raccoons on her lap.

They eventually left, but came back from time to time.