Friday, December 31, 2010
Well, I do have one confession. I lied just a little bit. Yes, part of it really is a costume. Look closely at my face in the picture. I'm embarrassed to say it, but I disguised myself a bit. Alright, I'll just come out and say it. It's the eye patch, okay! I'm just wearing it because I think it makes me look cool. C'mon, everyone does some small thing like that, don't they?
Nature Center Magazine - Gloofhrtd goedfrig sedrik un tro wersd facvolm! And that's the bottom line, 'cause Ratty said so! (You figure it out!)
Thursday, December 30, 2010
But then clear at the back of the park I had a small change of luck. I heard some very faint cheeping sounds coming from high in the trees. Then I saw some mysterious white bellied birds up there. I stood there with my camera, hoping for any kind of picture. But the bird I targeted flew away. There were more sounds, but I never found the birds.
The bird in the picture above is a black-capped chickadee. You can follow that link for more information about it. But as I said, I didn't get any pictures. This one is from almost a year ago. But I've never shown it here before, so I say that counts as brand new. How do you like it?
I hoped my luck would be better this time. But of course, different sounds, same situation. Actually, I never saw the woodpecker, but I know what kind it was. It was a downy woodpecker, like this one. There's another cool link for you. This is the kind that just loves this park.
Anyway, after standing there stupidly staring up at the treetops for about five minutes, I heard somebody coming with their dog. I knew there would be no finding my little woodpecker now, so I moved on my way towards the front of the park. Game over man. Game over.
|The best picture of Ratty ever|
My adventures aren't all nature related. I've been writing a serial horror story over at Rat Tales. The first episode is already up, and the full story is going to be a long one. I've been wanting to write this one for a long time now. I'm well on my way, and the second episode is coming along nicely. There's only one unexpected problem though.
I've wrapped myself up in the story so much that it's been giving me nightmares! I've put myself in the point of view of the main character so deeply that I feel some of his fear. I thought that was a bit of a crazy road to go down, so I decided to take a short break from that today. It's been fun to write this one though. It all made me a little too nervous, but I'm feeling muuch better now.
Oh. Wait. What about this last picture? This is just the side of Carpenter Lake. I liked the look of the area this time as soon as I looked at it. And the picture seemed to capture it perfectly. Sometimes something you see very often can just look so beautiful if you look at it right.
I'll be back soon, soon, sooooon...
Nature Center Magazine - Gloobidy gliggl fllibbi gerf fgapugs ferbul nerj. Figure that one out.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
|This photo was originally posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2010 in my post, "A Time Of Chickadees"|
You see, these little chickadees have given me a great gift. It's the gift of knowledge. When I entered the edge of the forest, I heard familiar little peeping sounds in the trees. And for the very first time I immediately knew what kind of bird was making them! As expected, these tiny little birds with black caps showed themselves. And without conscious thought I knew that these were indeed black-capped chickadees! I am now becoming what I wanted ever since I began my adventures into the natural world!
I know I still have so very long to go before I may finally feel like some kind of expert, if that really ever does happen. I mean, does our learning ever really stop? I know mine never will. But I still feel a sense of accomplishment. I knew what I was hearing and seeing without having to go home and study.
The darkness of the day and my lack of practice turned out to be the downfall of my camera. I just couldn't quite get the camera to focus on the birds. I knew the whole time that I would not get good pictures, but I was still happy because I did have the opportunity. And that's all that matters to me right now. It was so fun!
There have been better days recently to go on a hike, and I've had the energy, but other obligations have stopped me from my favorite activity. Whether I feel good or bad right now, my health takes priority over everything else. So now I will give a promised health update, since many of you said you still wanted them, and because of some developments on my end.
MRI on my brain. My regular doctor also insisted that I go. So yesterday was the day. When I got there, they had me lay on a table that was connected to a big machine and hooked me up to an IV. Once I was ready, they moved the table into the machine, for what seemed like an eternity but was really a half hour. I laid in there hearing all kinds of banging, whirring, vibrating, and many other loud machine noises.
Then they finally pulled me back out of there and it was all over. I won't know if they found anything until a few more days. This is just one of many trips to doctors I've had over the past week and a half. This has all kept me very busy, and I'm not finished at all. Next comes the memory test. I don't think I'll do very well on that one.
Rat Tales. This is the beginning of a long serial that I've been wanting to write for a long time. I've had this one in my mind since before I was even an adult. I'm very excited about telling it. It's the one Rat Tales was always intended for.
I also hope to make my presence known in the blogging world in the next few days, until my next doctor's appointment. I'm happily anticipating reading some of your blog posts a little more thoroughly. One of my favorite pastimes that I have been missing more than you'll ever know.
One last thing for today. We have an extra special Nature Site Of The Week up at Nature Center Magazine today, Photography By Ginny. Ginny is one of my very favorite people in the blogging world, and her pictures are always the very best. It was her blog I was thinking of when I thought up the concept for Nature Site Of The Week. I'd like for each and every one of you to take a look at her blog and say hi.
Nature Center Magazine - This week we are featuring the blog that is the inspiration for Nature Site of The Week. We only waited this long so we could show it to the most readers possible.
Monday, December 20, 2010
So I'm back with a bit of a mystery. Take a close look at the bad pictures I have of this bird here. The first thing you might notice is the bright yellow belly. Then the darker back, which is either gray or maybe more possibly an olive color. The front of the neck appears to be white. That last part is very hard to see.
I found these pictures while browsing through my archives. I took them at the beginning of May last year with my old camera. I don't remember the event at all. I'm guessing that's because I must have thought at the time that this was an American Robin, which is very common around here. But after doing quite a bit of research over the last few weeks I suspect it is really a Yellow-Bellied Flycatcher, but I am far from sure. It's definitely not a robin.
So now every time I find a new bird I am very excited. It's more fun to know the bird is new when I actually see it, but seeing the picture is pretty good too. I actually have stumbled across several very interesting pictures of birds in my archives. I only wish the quality could be just a bit better.
Nature Center Magazine - This week begins the start of a series of some very good nature videos that I found. Today we feature some very special Reindeer that have a taste for magic mushrooms.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
So, what are these snowy pictures showing? What you are seeing above are a set of squirrel tracks. The thing I have the most fun with in the snow is tracking animals. Snow is the only thing that makes this easy. You wouldn't think it at first, but finding their tracks in the snow is just about as fun as actually finding the animals.
But why would this be? It's because the tracks show us in a very good way what the animal was actually doing. It's difficult to study an animal's activities so much when we encounter that animal, because they almost always run away and hide. Then we're stuck with only a fleeting glance. But the tracks tell us so much more!
And squirrel tracks almost always start at the base of a tree and end at the base of another tree. That's of course if you follow them from start to finish. Not many people would follow the tracks of a squirrel, but I do it all the time. Of course there are other animals to track as well, and I will probably show you those as the winter rolls on, but for now it's the squirrels.
This was something I never expected, but my hopes were high. I really thought all the chipmunks had gone underground by now. I have read that chipmunks don't hibernate, but they spend almost all of their winter months underground.
Now you may wonder if they are maybe really from a bird or some other creature. Well, take a very close look at the picture above. The tracks toward the top show front and back feet. Obviously a small mammal. Too small for much other but a chipmunk or maybe a rat-like rodent. Very similar tracks, but I've only ever seen chipmunks here.
(Ratty) tracks, in case you were wondering. You'd never mistake them for a chipmunk or any other animal. Well, they might be mistaken for a Bigfoot if not for the fact that this creature was wearing shoes. They're certainly big(gigantic) enough. For a picture of the elusive Ratticus Giganticus you can click on this link. Trust me, it's a strange sight indeed!
That's about it for today. I'll be back with another post as soon as I'm able. Even though it's been incredibly fun, all of this activity has taken a lot out of me. Plus, our temperature here has dropped drastically. I make it a rule not to go hiking when the temperature is under 15 degrees Fahrenheit. I could probably do it, but it's just a little too cold for comfort. Until next time, this is your Everyday Adventurer, signing off!
Nature Center Magazine - I have an article up on Nature Center Magazine today that talks about more snow fun. It's actually somewhat of an extension of this one. No rat pictures, but I have some rabbit tracks on it.
Monday, December 13, 2010
But something changed my negative point of view to one that's a little more positive a few days ago. You see, I don't really own a good heavy coat. It's not that I can't afford one. It's my preference for something different. What I like more is to wear two jackets together. One by itself isn't good enough for the winter, but the two of them together are much better than any winter coat I've ever tried.
I don't even feel the cold with those two good jackets on. I had forgotten my second jacket until a few days ago, and I've been freezing! So I went and dug it out of the closet, and I've been okay ever since. And that's what gave me the courage to get myself back to my hiking trails, with only a few small problems.
One thing about snow or rain. When you see any precipitation, you know the temperature outside is probably going to change. That change is usually why we get it. This time the snow happened to be a prelude to a warm up. The next one we have coming is supposed to have an opposite effect. That won't be much fun.
Another problem was that because I'm not used to doing much, I ended up with a cold in my back. It feels like a backache, but also a coldness that goes right to the bone. So I was unable to go back out for our second sunny day. That's okay though because I got some interesting pictures that only winter and snow can provide.
I'm glad this whole park is there. It's small for a nature park, but it's just right for me to get back to things. I can walk the whole park without messing myself up too much. And this time I didn't have to have anyone else along with me. I call that progress.
I'll be back in a few days to show you some interesting things I found there in the snow.
Nature Center Magazine - The videos are going to be getting extra interesting here. I found some really strange subjects, so they're going to get better each week!
Friday, December 10, 2010
The bird in these pictures is called an American Goldfinch. They are maybe my very favorite type of bird because of their bright yellow color. The first time I ever saw one I was amazed by that bright color. I never knew that a bird could look like that outside of a tropical climate. I've learned a lot of things since that time long ago.
The goldfinch was so hungry that I was able to get very many pictures while I observed him eating his meal. I have several identical pictures of each of these. He would dig into that plant and then pull out a mouthful each time. It really was fascinating to be able to watch him for so long.
I want to pause right here to mention that even though I still am not feeling well, I will not be talking about it anymore. This blog has always been intended to be a happy place to talk about nature and my everyday adventures. It was never intended to talk about me, and I am uncomfortable doing so. The nature stories are so much more fun anyway, so that's what my subject will be from here on out until I have something good to say about the other. So let's move on back to the goldfinches.
They are both very beautiful, and also a fun subject on this cold winter day. I'll have some wintery pictures coming soon too, but these fun warm weather pictures help take the bite from the cold weather. Cold is something that I'm not quite as prepared for this year, but I'll be out there.
Nature Center Magazine - There have been a few changes at Nature Center Magazine, and there will be many more coming. We are always striving to become a valuable resource for all bloggers who are interested in nature.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
But this isn't just any black squirrel. It just happens to be the subject of the best pictures of a wild black squirrel I've ever had. I've had some better pictures of some tame squirrels that liked to beg for food, but this squirrel is one of those that I like to call Ninjas of the Forest. And they are usually only seen as ghostly black streaks.
This one either missed my presence in the forest, or it found itself paralyzed under my astounding hypnotic gaze. And, of course, it could have just all been a coincidence. We can never be sure which it may be, but I have no doubt that you can figure it out.
Because of this, I have been having a bit of trouble keeping a proper concept of time. I had no idea that I hadn't posted anything here for so long. I haven't been out visiting nature much either because I'm just not up to it yet. It doesn't help that the days have gotten so much shorter here and the temperature has dropped so much.
It all gives my mind the feeble excuse to sit here and stare at the wall rather than do what I really like. I actually have to concentrate extra hard to get anything done at all. But I've decided to do just that. I'm going to make a bit more of an effort to get back to my old self again. One of these days I'll be back here every day again. But let's move on from the whiny excuses.
It's all very interesting to witness, but I don't want to lose my precious fox squirrels altogether. The variety is what I like so much about the squirrels around here. I can walk just a quarter of a mile and find three or four different types of squirrel. Black squirrels are a fun novelty for me, but the fox squirrels are my oldest friends among them.
I started this blog to keep me going back out to my hiking trails. And as I write all of this right now, I wish I were out there right now. Maybe that is the key. I need to get back to what I love the most. I miss the squirrels, the trails, all of the other animals, and nature altogether. Just this last time I saw this wonderful black squirrel. Who knows what I might see next!
Nature Center Magazine - I'm still here at Nature Center Magazine, writing mini versions of my normal posts from The Everyday Adventurer. The format is a bit different, but it's still all about the enjoyment of nature.
Friday, November 12, 2010
It was the day I had gone to the neurologist. I told myself at the time that I would begin by visiting all of my favorite blogs and leaving a few comments. And I was able to do a few. But I was given a prescription for some pills to try to get rid of the headaches I've had since the accident.
Ever since all of that, things have been nothing but a blur. Oh, the headaches never went away, but everything else did. The one thing I have had has been a whole lot of sleep... And some crrraaazzy dreams. But those aren't fun for me to share. What I'm more interested in is nature.
I think I've taken pictures of that first one from every angle and at every season now. I never get tired of it, but I only share it rarely because nobody wants to see the same thing over and over all the time. I actually see something different every time I approach that bridge. It's a thing you have to be there to experience properly.
The second picture just above is the walkway that leads to the fishing platform on the lake. This walkway was among the first pictures I ever showed from this park. The difference is that I took those from the opposite direction, from that hill in the distance of the picture.
And I think we'll end it there for now. I'm not sure when my next post will be right now. It could be tomorrow or it could take another week or two. I might pop up in your comments section before that. I just can't be sure. But I've decided that's okay for now. I can only do what I can do. I'm just glad that I can still do it at all.
Nature Center Magazine - We're still rolling along at Nature Center Magazine. There are so many things to see, and we are getting better all the time. Come over and see for yourself.
Monday, November 1, 2010
I'm going to attempt to take you through my little adventure, but my mind is still mostly in fiction writing mode. Writing fiction is actually quite a bit different than what I write here. It takes a different mindset, and it is much more difficult. Both methods are satisfying in their own way though. Anyway, here's what happened on my walk.
Driving to this place is a short trip for me, so I can do that, but not as often as I'd like yet. I had already decided to be careful and take things slow. I knew I had to turn around as soon as I began to feel anything odd. And with those thoughts I got out of my new Jeep and entered the trail.
Unlike many people, I'm not the biggest fan of the fall season. In the depths of my mind it represents a form of death, or at least a deep slumber. I think of it as the end of nature for the year. Logically I know that's not true. But as much as I try, I still can't change that feeling.
As I got deeper into the forest I realized that below my neck everything seems to feel as good as ever now. But my head was throbbing just a bit, which I was very conscious of. I knew I was going to have to be careful.
Shortly after my meeting with my little friend I began to feel something familiar in my head. The pain was coming back, along with a fogginess of consciousness that all told me it was time to turn back. This was the first time I've been out with these feelings, and it wasn't pleasant at all. It was like being in a bad dream.
I had to slow my pace quite a bit, but I knew I was fine enough to make my way back to my Jeep. The farther along I went, the more I stumbled as if I were drunk. I had to be very careful, but I also learned exactly what I was capable of for now.
This very short hike was a huge step in my return. I know I still can't hike or blog every day yet. I still have to rest more than anything else, and even be careful not to think too much. But this was a beginning. I now am pretty sure that my head injury is the only thing still holding me back. And maybe more hikes like this one will help with that.
All I kept thinking throughout this short hike was that I'm back. I'm back!
Nature Center Magazine - Today I have for you another in the great collection of some of the best nature videos on the internet.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Okay, here goes. I said I had spent some time out in the last week. What I was doing was searching for another truck to replace the one that was smashed up in the accident. And I finally did it! It took me awhile to replace my old one with one of equal value, but that's just what I was finally able to do. This one is a Jeep, and I like it a lot.
The only problem is that I can't drive very far in my condition, so I had to ask someone to drive it home for me. But I have been able to drive it on a couple of short trips to get a feel for it. So that is one huge step towards getting back to normal.
My next post will also be another step. I'm not sure when it will be yet, but my next post will be something I haven't been able to bring you for about two months. I don't know how exciting it will actually be to some, but it's huge to me. I'm looking forward to writing it. But for now, here's the conclusion to the story of the raccoons!
raccoons as I began walking down the path in the same direction the baby raccoons had fled. It was probably foolish to do it, but I had been already going that way and I thought they were leaving me now.
Here are links to parts one and two if you missed them:
As I rounded the bend that the raccoons did, I saw that they had not disappeared into the forest, but they were watching and waiting for me. This time their were only four around though. The other two decided I wasn't so good after all. Just as they spotted me coming down the path they darted towards me again!
As I was taking my pictures of them though I began to realize something. They didn't seem as curious of me as they did last time. This was something different. They were looking to me for comfort. That's when I looked around for their mother again. She was nowhere in sight.
There was one little raccoon that kept climbing up my leg. I had to shake it off a couple of times. I had to be careful not to touch any of them with my hands, even though I had an overwhelming urge to pet them. I didn't want to put any unnecessary human scent on them.
I didn't know what that would do to them when they got back to their mother. I thought they were probably too old for it, but I didn't want her to reject them because of human smell on them. Still, where was she?
I was assuming hopefully that the mother was fine and she had just taken a little stroll. If that was the case, she would be back shortly. If she saw me with her babies I would be in very big trouble. I definitely did not want to have to fight off an angry mother raccoon.
This is an animal that is much bigger than a house cat, and could kill it with ease. An adult raccoon is almost the size of a middle sized dog. The raccoon would usually win in a fight with a dog that's bigger than it. Either way the fight went, the dog would come out of it hurt. Like I said before, I was in trouble.
So I started to walk down the trail, and the little raccoons followed close at my feet. They were still closely surrounding me. I had to be careful where I stepped so I wouldn't hurt one of them. This was way out of hand now! I had to do something, and I had to do it now!
I quickly moved away from the crowd, and they came right back to me! I moved one direction and then another but they still kept coming! I finally stomped my foot at them in a threatening manner, but it didn't work either. They liked me too much now. I even growled and hissed at them to no avail.
I stopped to rest once. I turned to see if they were still coming, and off in the distance I saw them running towards me! So I turned and ran again even further and faster than before. I ran down a huge hill to the creek, and then up the other side with equal speed!
From the top of the hill I turned around again, and to my relief they were nowhere in sight. I had finally lost them. I have to admit that I felt bad about it, but it was the best thing to do in that situation. I couldn't lead them through the park only to have them get lost from their mom. Yup, I was finally away from them and I felt like a jerk for it.
That's the end of my encounter with the little raccoons. This one was extra long only because I promised it would be the final part of the story. I hope it teaches us in some small way that you can't make friends with or a pet of a wild animal. Just try to stay away if you can. Let me know what you think.
I have written another story over at Rat Tales! It's called "A Nightmare In The Forest". This is actually an update of an old story from this site, but I updated it and brought it back especially for Halloween!
Friday, October 29, 2010
I've had a few other trips away from home as well. I seem to be able to do physical things just fine now, but if I try to think very much I become exhausted. And I forget things much too easily still. It seems like information goes in my head and then falls right back out. I almost forgot to write this post today.
Oops! And I also almost forgot to mention that I have a new story posted over on Rat Tales. This one doesn't involve spaghetti in any way.My new story is actually an updated version of an old one I did here a while back. It's about what happens when a person goes for a midnight hike at the worst time.
Anyway, enough of the bad stuff and on to nature, my favorite thing. When I originally posted this story of the raccoons I had to limit the amount of pictures because there were already very many. But this time I have added a few extras to go along with them. This was really a big event for me. It's not every day that a person is chased by raccoons and still gets a lot of pictures to show. Today you get a good hint of why they came after me! Here goes...
raccoons were running towards me. When I first saw them I had no idea what their intentions were. I only knew that they were very interested in me. I thought they would run away when they saw me, but they only came on faster.
If you haven't seen part one of this story, you can go here to read it: Raccoons
As they were quickly moving closer to me, I noticed that the majority of them were only juvenile raccoons. They were not full grown yet, and they were only about half the size of a full grown raccoon. I watched to see which one was the mother, but I quickly realized she wasn't there.
That was a relief! I didn't want to deal with an angry protective mother raccoon. Raccoons can be very dangerous animals. Probably the most dangerous I've met yet. Their teeth and claws are very sharp, and they like to use them. This could have turned into a very bad situation for me.
They were staying very close to me. I had the whole crowd of them at my feet. One of them was walking in a circle around my left leg. Two others decided to stand up on my legs a little bit so they could get a better look at me. They were trying to figure out just what I was. They were more curious of me than I was of them.
Make no mistake though, I was very curious about them. I knew this was the best opportunity I've ever had to get closeup pictures of wild animals. I was alternating between trying to focus my camera on them and making sure I got to really look at them with my own two eyes. This was maybe the most amazing experience I've ever had!
While I was looking at it, the shy little raccoon finally let it's curiosity get the best of it, and it finally joined it's family at my feet. I continued to hold my ground. I wasn't sure what to do now, so I took more pictures while the little raccoons kept walking around me.
Finally I decided that this was enough so I moved my feet a little bit, and the shy one turned and quickly started walking back down the trail from where it came. When the others saw this, they decided that it was best to keep the family together, so the whole group turned and reluctantly followed the other one down the path.
This was not the end though! I happened to be going in the same direction as these little ones. It probably would have been wiser for me to turn around and use another path to the back of the park, but I honestly thought they would stay away from me now. I thought they were afraid of me now because they decided I was a threat. I was never so wrong before.
If you haven't guessed yet, the story doesn't end here. The next part will be the third and final part. The best stories are all trilogies anyway. It will be the most action packed part of the story. There will be another twist to this story that you might guess from these first two parts. Can you guess what it might be? Don't miss tomorrow's exciting conclusion of my encounter with the raccoons!
Nature Center Magazine - We're going into Halloween mode! We'll be bringing you some fun ghostly stuff for the next two days!
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Anyway, things haven't been all negative and I'm feeling a little better right now. There have also been a few other positive things which I'll explain in the next few days. I'm hoping my next doctor's appointment begins to get to the bottom of the pain in my head too. And like I said before, my other injuries seem to be fine now.
I know that many of you had questions and concerns about my raccoon story last time. I intended to answer them in the comments section, but since I couldn't do that at that time I decided that I should just bring you the whole story. This is a three part story because of the size so the next three days will be busy here. I'll bring some current stuff with each post, just like this one. Here's part one!
I have an astounding story to tell you. This happened to me only yesterday, and it might be the most significant and unusual animal encounter I've ever had. I'm going to have to tell this one in multiple parts because this story is too big for just one post. I have very many pictures I hope to show you with the full story. I hope you enjoy this one.
When I went out hiking yesterday I was really hoping to see the heron I showed you last time. I thought the day would be just another ordinary hike with a few small forest creatures along the way. I can tell you though that there is nothing that could have prepared me for what happened. My encounter was completely unexpected.
chipmunks recently. When I began looking for them I found something else entirely. That's right, you guessed it. What I saw were four raccoons on the trail walking out of the shadows right towards me!
They didn't seem to notice me at first, so I frantically began trying to get my camera ready for a few pictures before they fled. It took longer than it should have, but I was soon clicking the shoot button as fast as I could. That's when they finally noticed me and looked up in my direction.
As if that weren't enough, as they began to get closer their quick walk turned into a trot! They were now running right at me! They were running together and crisscrossing around each other, and their sole purpose was to be the first one to reach me. I soon noticed that the four I had originally seen had now grown to six!
other time was a squirrel that scared me thoroughly until it stopped only to stare at me from a tree. These raccoons did not stop. I've been wanting to see a raccoon or a possum or even another bigger animal like that, but I never thought of this!
I'm going to end this part of the story right here. This will give me a chance to tell you the whole story without making you read a novel in a day. It will also enable me to show you many more pictures of this encounter. But what happened? Did they reach me? Am I injured? To find the answers to these and many more questions, tune in tomorrow. Same Rat time, same Rat channel!
Nature Center Magazine - We're going into Halloween mode! We'll be bringing you some fun ghostly stuff for the next two days!