Critter Roll Call


The pandemic down-time has further heightened my appreciation of nature; so much so, I’ve become more attuned to how critters have been paying visits to my neighborhood; especially the after-hours goings on at the time of the full lunar phase. Here’s the brief run-thru; spanning the creatures from large down to small…

Four deer have been habitually making the suburban scene. Personally, I cannot fathom why they’d even opt to wander forth from the more pristine, nearby woods; i.e., just to graze on the chemically toxic lawns. I mean, that crap has got to leave a yucky aftertaste. One would expect their very survival instinct to kick in; Yes? No? Maybe?

Next on the list comes “Spot”, the cat, who I’ve had to shoo away several times; not to worry, my M.O. never involves more than the loud click of my patio door’s lock. While, normally, I’d be more hospitable, I do draw the line when the stalking / aggressive instinct targets the three newborn bunnies, who call my backyard home; the irony being this cat appears to be well fed by the owner. And, btw, I do admire mother rabbit, who doesn’t excessively fuss and interfere; how she fosters her young’uns’ independence.

Of course, I’m not entirely sure if this white furred feline with two major ovoid black patches is named “Spot”, but, obviously, it’d be an apt moniker. Also influencing me was the recollection of Star Trek TNG’s Data choosing that very name for his non-spotted cat.

Several robins have also been in motherhood mode. And they don’t overly-baby their babies, either; even seem to welcome the eventual, empty nest syndrome.

The Tiger Swallowtail butterflies (which have been absent for several years), of late, have been flying by day. Ditto the, by night, flight plans of the countless fireflies; flying in random formation to put on a spectacular light show.

Noticeably absent has been the waddling woodchuck, however, this may merely be a matter of not looking out my window at the right time.

That’s it for now.

So, what about your own sightings? Any critters you’d like to add to this roll call?

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The Only Game in Town!

The pandemic, which has noticeably quieted our human hubbub, has certainly created a far more inviting, critter-friendly habitat… inclusive of my own backyard (which, btw, is situated less than 0.8km from a small forest). Case in point…

Today, mid-afternoon, I spotted a small furry visitor, which, most assuredly, was not one of the countless rabbits who, since this past February, have successfully set up housekeeping within the immediate vicinity.

Anyway, this critter’s vision must’ve been impaired, seeing how she (or was it a he?) could not spot me directly behind my patio door… not even when we were “socially distanced” at a mere 0.6 of a meter! Or maybe the screen and reflective glass was sufficient to render me invisible?

Whatever the case, remaining out of sight and at a close vantage point, had afforded me the opportunity for comprehensive study… in particular… to ascertain the exact species (my hypothesis being either a wolverine or woodchuck). Fortunately, my Funk and Wagnalls encyclopedia includes fine photography of both.

However, it wasn’t until I had read about the differing fur lengths and my visitor struck a standing up pose (just like in one of the photos) that I became reasonably certain that this small short-haired mammal is a woodchuck.

However as for what purpose Woody was visiting me? I could only guess. Perhaps it was wood chips still remaining from three recent tree stump grinding projects? Well, apparently, wood would not be on the menu.

All the sudden, there came ol’ Woody lumbering (more like waddling) in hot… more like tepid… pursuit of its intended prey… the far faster, fleeing for its life, panic-stricken chipmunk (belated apologies to both for my being gender unspecific).

As for my post game analysis of this small game hunting expedition… pandemic edition…

I’d say the chipmunk should feel damned lucky that ol’ Woody had not been schooled by my neighborhood’s feline mousers… the veritable clowder of cats… who are always on the prowl, too. From what I’ve seen, their laid-back, stalk and capture techniques seem to be damned near close to 100% successful. In other words, neighborhood mice don’t stand a chance.

As for my op-ed… pandemic sports edition…

Seeing how the coronavirus crisis has already sidelined most fall season, collegiate and professional sports… and factoring in how the animal world has been routinely reclaiming suburban… even urban… areas… perhaps the TV sports networks need to dispatch their play by play announcers and full camera crews into my neck of the woods. It’d appear that…

I’ve got the only game in town!


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