Sunday, May 31, 2009

Just Another Squirrely Post

Curious SquirrelI don't know what's wrong with me these days! I was never treated like this before!A few years ago people used to avoid me. I was followed through supermarkets by security. I was hated. I was shunned. People wanted revenge for things I didn't do. Little children used to cry at the sight of me. Now they like me more than their own parents.

Even the animals feared me. I had a war with the squirrels. Well, I actually started that one. A duck literally ran across the water from me. Even a deer, you know like Bambi, wanted to attack me. Now it's all different. I don't know what changed, but it did. I think I'm just losing my touch!

What's wrong with me now? Not too long ago a deer looked to me for protection from other humans. A mother squirrel calmly stood there posing for pictures for me. And just yesterday a red-winged blackbird had a staring contest with me. Who knows? Maybe nothing has really changed. Or has it? Here comes the kicker!

Curious SquirrelWhile I was walking in the forest, thinking I wasn't going to see anything special, I finally saw one squirrel. That's right! One. All day. It wasn't very close to me. It was sitting on a fallen tree branch minding its own business, so I decided to stop and get a few pictures. The first shot is at the top of the post. You know what it did when it saw me?

That little squirrel looked up at me and quickly scampered across the tree limb right for me! Let me tell you, I'm a lot bigger than a squirrel, but I almost lost my nerve and ran. That little squirrel had a purpose, and that purpose involved me! But being the brave and strong man of nature that I am, I stood my ground and waited for this little terror to do his worst. (Oh please! I'm too young to die!)

Curious Squirrel I was really sure that this little squirrel was going to run right for me, then run up my leg and bite me right on the end of my nose! But it didn't! Just when it got to the end of the big tree branch it turned to my right and jumped over to the side of another tree. They love doing that for some strange reason.

I thought maybe it had decided to change its mind, but it was only getting started. After climbing just a little higher on the tree, it turned towards me once more. Then it stopped and just stared at me. Of course I stupidly stared right back at it. That's when it dawned on me! This squirrel didn't look angry at all. I honestly think it wanted me to take it's picture!

Curious SquirrelIf that wasn't enough, after I got a few shots from the side of the tree, it moved over to the front. That's when it did the strangest thing of all. It turned itself upside down on the front of the tree and stared at me again. What? Did it have some sort of strange bet with the other squirrels or something? I think I'm going crazy.

After I got all the pictures I wanted, it turned around and trotted off into the forest. Unfortunately, I was so shaken by this encounter that half the pictures turned out blurry. This is another incident where I could put all the pictures together to make a small movie of it. I have to figure out how to do that one of these days.

If you think this is all a joke, just take a look at the pictures. They're all the proof I need! I'm not crazy. I'm not crazy! I'm not crrraaazzzzzeeeeeeeeee!

Lesson of the day: Never take a guy named after a rodent too seriously.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Staring At A Blackbird

One thing I still have trouble remembering is to not let time get away from me. I'm writing this post in the middle of the night just a short time before I have it set to publish, because I tried to do way too much in one day. There's no way I could explain it all here but I can explain why, and then I'll get to why I have these pictures of this blackbird.

Before I began writing this blog I was searching for something to do. I felt bored with my life. It wasn't bad or anything, just not very fun or exciting. I was determined to find something fun I could do that would fill the boring parts of the day. For any of you who've been reading along here, you can see some of how I do it now.

The only problem is that it seems that I've outdone myself. Sometimes I completely run out of time now. It's actually a good problem to have. Some of you happily have the same problem. Others are still looking for a good solution. I'm having fun but sometimes I end up losing a little bit of sleep trying to catch up.

After that little bit of nonsense, it's on with the story of the day! I'd like to start off by saying sorry, I sometimes find the stupidest things funny. Read on and found out.

Okay, what am I talking about, and why do I have the pictures of the bird? I'll explain. This bird is a red-winged blackbird and it decided to watch me for some strange reason. It might have taken offense with me or something. I really don't know.

I was standing on a small walking bridge when I heard a curious bird call. I can't remember it now, but I wish I could. I still can't seem to remember the different sounds birds make. All I remember was this one had two calls, one ugly sounding call and then a sweet whistling sound that I tried to imitate.

The bird was perched atop an old dead tree branch, and it kept making those sounds and looking down at me. It was close to me, but not that close. I couldn't really understand why it was so interested in me. I wasn't near its nest as far as I knew. I was standing at the middle of a bridge. There weren't any trees that close.

After a few moments of studying me, it leaped into the air and settled on a higher branch that was just a little bit closer. It looked down at me and kept making those same sounds. Maybe it was protecting something, or maybe it was the best friend of that little rascal Mr. Nutz.

I didn't really care either way. What I cared about was getting pictures of this bothersome bird. I wasn't going to pass up an opportunity like this after all. Would you? Besides, I was standing on a man-made bridge, not this bird's nest. I had just as much right to be there as this angry bird, so I stubbornly decided to wait right there.

If you've ever been in a staring contest, you know what I'm talking about. I was determined not to lose this contest to a dumb old bird. I figured I'd stay there all day if necessary. I stood there looking at that bird, and it watched me right back. After awhile the bird gave up and flew away.

I won! I beat this bird in a staring contest. Hooray for me! I am the champion! What a great accomplishment. Please, please. No more applause. Thank you.

...And that's how I spent my day.

Friday, May 29, 2009

A Day In The Forest

It was a dark and rainy day, and I was walking around the forest in my favorite nature park. The rain didn't really get in here under the trees, so it was a good place to be. The rain freshened up the air and gave the forest a quiet dampness. I was happily taking in all of my surroundings when I saw something up ahead.

It was a little boy and his dad walking in my direction on the path. As soon as the boy saw me he ran ahead of his dad yelling to get my attention. "Excuse me! Excuse me!", he yelled urgently. He must have been only about five or six years old.

When he got up close to me he begged, "Can you tell us how to get out of here! My dad doesn't know where we are! I think we're lost!" He seemed really scared and not at all confident in his dad's ability to navigate these trails without some outside help.

As this was all happening his dad calmly caught up to him, and we greeted each other. He didn't seem all that lost to me. We were both amused by the little boy's anxiety. We both knew he would find out soon enough that his dad could get him where they needed to go.

As they were getting ready to go on their way, the dad stopped again and asked me, "Oh, can you tell me, is there a lake in here somewhere?" I told him it was up on the right, and all he had to do was keep going straight until he saw a path that was moving in that direction. After a little talk of fishing and talk of the rest of the park, they were on their way. And so was I.

I resumed my enjoyment of nature, and my picture taking, through the rest of the park on this dark but peaceful day. I saw nothing particularly unusual but I still had a good time. Just as I was leaving the forest I heard the little boy's voice yelling behind me again, "Wait! Wait! Wait!"

I turned around and there he was in the distance running towards me again. The trail curved around so the end was obscured by trees, and his dad was nowhere in sight. I waved and then stopped for him. When he caught up to me, I asked him what was wrong.

"We're lost! Can you get us outta here!" I asked him where his dad was, and he said he was still back there. I smiled to myself, knowing it was still the same as before. I told him he should go back to his dad before he began to worry about him. But he was having none of that, so I started walking with him back into the forest.

It was right then that his dad called out his name. I told the little boy to yell back to let his dad know where he was, so he yelled, "I'm right here!" After a few more seconds we found his dad and I turned around to leave. The little boy stopped me still insisting they were lost, and begging me not to leave them.

He said, "Can you help us find the parking lot? My dad doesn't know where it is. He's lost and we've never been here before. Will you show us how to get outta here?" I said to him that I was sure his dad was smart enough to find the parking lot, and then I pointed in the right direction to show him they weren't lost at all.

It didn't convince him one bit, so I walked with them out of the park. The man told me he just recently discovered the place, and asked me a few more things about it. We talked about the park, the trails, and nature in general the rest of the way to our cars. The little boy was happy to be back in the familiar surroundings of civilization, and we all went happily our own way.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mother Squirrel

Mother SquirrelI have a squirrel for you today that I've been wanting to show you for a little while. It's been raining here so my other pictures lately don't hold much excitement. That doesn't mean this squirrel is only a replacement though. These are some of the best pictures I've ever gotten.

A lot of you know of my past wars with crazy angry squirrels, fictional and real. I'm still always on the lookout for my evil nemesis Mr. Nutz. Lately though, for some odd reason I haven't found any new angry squirrels. They all seem to be either frightened or just curious. Maybe they don't want to fight anymore.

While I was walking on the trails recently I found this interesting squirrel standing to the right of the trail up ahead of me. I stopped immediately for pictures, but I expected it to run away. Oddly, it only stood there at the base of a big tree without moving much. It didn't seem afraid of me, but it also didn't seem very interested in me either.

Mother SquirrelI began to notice that this squirrel seemed to have a quiet dignity about it. It just seemed to be content with its surroundings, and I didn't want to spoil it so I stayed very still. This squirrel had a beauty that most of the others never had.

I never knew what it was about this one until I saw the pictures. If you look very close at this squirrel you can tell that it is a mother, and it must have babies somewhere up in one of those trees. I'm glad I wasn't very close to those babies. Then I would have had a fight.

Mother SquirrelThis new mother squirrel did know I was there, but might have been protecting her babies a little bit. She probably was just making sure I didn't get too close. I think she understood that I wasn't much of a threat though, because she never got angry with me at all.

She almost seemed to be there to enjoy nature just like I was. She looked at me a few times, but she was also looking at several other things around her too. Her movements were always slow in a calm and confident way. She really only seemed to be having a quiet time to relax.

Mother SquirrelHere she is in this last one posing against the side of the tree. She seems to be the most graceful squirrel I've ever seen. I really enjoyed watching her. There was no anxiety or nervousness. Just me and another creature observing nature.

After a little while this mother squirrel decided I had enough pictures, so she calmly trotted away into the forest. Maybe the squirrel war really is over. Or maybe I just met the best of the squirrels. It could even be both.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

American Toad

American ToadI finally found what I've been looking for! That's right, it's this little toad. It's called an American Toad because it's a very common toad in America. This is what those tadpoles I showed you a few days ago are going to turn into. I did another story about them a long time ago here.

It actually took me awhile to identify this toad because it looks different than most of the pictures of American Toads I found. I couldn't tell if it was a toad or a frog either. In the process of searching, I found out some interesting information about toads.

The first main thing I found out was that toads are actually just a type of frog. When I was a kid somebody told me that toads only looked like frogs, and that toads were actually reptiles, while frogs were amphibians. I believed that for a long time, although I always had trouble with that idea. Of course now I know that both are amphibians, and both are frogs too.

American ToadThere are some differences between toads and frogs though. Toads have rougher and thicker skin so they can survive better in dryer areas. Toads also secrete a form of poison from their skin to protect them from predators. Most are harmless but you should wash your hands if you touch a toad, to get rid of any of this poison.

Toads also don't have any teeth, while some frogs do have teeth. That's why toads have that poison. They can't really bite a predator to protect themselves, so they need something. That's why they have the poison. For these reasons toads are gentle creatures. You might be too if you were toothless.

American ToadI just happened to find this little toad when I decided to take a shortcut to the fishing platform. I'll have to show that to you again pretty soon. Now that the leaves are on the trees, that place is even more beautiful. Anyway, while I was walking down this shortcut path I saw this little toad hopping down the side of the path too.

It was obviously trying to get out of my way so I wouldn't accidentally squish it. It stopped as soon as we both reached the bottom of the hill and the end of the path. I knew I had the perfect opportunity to get some good pictures of a toad for the very first time. I did exactly that. I must have taken close to fifty pictures of this little creature.

I'm not sure if you can tell from the picture, but this toad is only a little longer than one inch. That's about the length of one section of your finger from knuckle to knuckle for all of you who use the metric system. You can also look at the leaves in the picture to get an idea how big the toad is.

American ToadA good thing about toads like this one is that along with some birds, it might eat those spiders I showed you yesterday. As a matter of fact I noticed that robins like that trail with the spiders very much. They must be having a lot of fun eating all of those tiny spiders. Once the tadpoles become toads, they'll probably wipe out all of those spiders.

It's really strange how one little decision can change things. I almost didn't take that shortcut because it's not a real park trail. When I decided to do it I thought I might miss seeing a squirrel or something like that. How was I to know I would just happen to find this little toad?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Along Came A Spider

I was telling you the other day about the tadpoles, and I talked about how I'm waiting for them to turn into frogs/toads. I told about seeing millions of tiny toads hopping around on the trails a few years ago. These toads were only about the size of insects. I had to bend down and look very closely to identify them. Well guess what I saw on the trails in another park recently.

That's right! I saw tiny, almost microscopic, little creatures hopping all over the trail. I just knew I had discovered the toads again! I was extremely happy to see them once more, because the first time I was fascinated to see such tiny amphibians. I had no idea they could be this small.

So I bent over to get a closer look this time, and what did I see? Well if you haven't guessed by now, I'm going to tell you. It wasn't my beloved little toads, that's for sure. Instead of the toads, it was thousands of ugly, mean looking little spiders.

SpiderThese spiders were jumping and hopping all over the trail. I had the greatest urge to run that I've had in a long time. I didn't want to stop for fear of them jumping all over me! Yuck! When I looked up from the closeup view of one of them, I could see these tiny little specks jumping everywhere.

I resisted that first urge of panic, but I still walked very quickly through that swarm of spiders. I have to tell you that the time slowed to a crawl for me. And I really mean crawl! Yuck! Ick! Uhh! When I got to a place where there weren't quite so many, I came all the way back to my senses and remembered what I was there for.

SpiderThis was actually a perfect opportunity to get some pictures of something very unique. I mean, I've never seen anything like all of these spiders, so I guess most of you probably haven't either. While these spiders might be quite disgusting and more than a little scary, they are still very interesting.

Each of the pictures I'm showing you have different spiders in them. Each one of them is no bigger than this X. Maybe even smaller. I first saw them about three weeks ago. Then after it rained the amount was greatly reduced for awhile. Today they were covering the trail by the thousands again. Who wouldn't want to just have fun rolling around on the ground with these cuddly little rascals?

SpiderI tried to find out what type of spider these are, but I'm having no luck. I read a few places that talk about a type of small wolf spider, and there are a few others that look similar. I don't know. Creepy crawlies are all mostly the same to me. Something to be avoided!

Do you like spiders? Or do you want to run screaming from them? I've known people who keep spiders as pets. What if they got loose? I think even a snake might be better than this. What about you? What do you think?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Interview With The Adventurer

I am pleased to announce, as my post for today, that I have been interviewed at one of the top sites on the internet for blogs that talk about nature. Today my blog, The Everyday Adventurer, is the featured blog of the week on Nature Blog Network. This is something I've kept silent about for a short while now, but I've wanted to tell you all.

I'm going to leave a nice link at the bottom of this post. Please follow it to my interview, and then come back when you're finished and let me know what you think. My comments section is, as always, open and waiting for you. I would like you to please read this interview. I would like you to do that very much.

I'd like to give a special thanks to Wren of Nature Blog Network and Wrenaissance Reflections for giving me this honor and for being my interviewer. And I'd also like to thank you, all of my readers, for your support. Now please, go read the interview!

Featured Blog: The Everyday Adventurer

Sunday, May 24, 2009

My Day And The Geese Game Winners

I have two things to talk about today. The first one is the announcement of the winners of the Count The Geese game yesterday. This part is tough for me because everybody deserved to win, and there were a few of you who came very close. But what I asked was to count the number of geese. So here is the list of you who guessed the correct number.
Congratulations to the winners! You guessed the correct amount of geese. There was at least one person who guessed a different number than three, but correctly identified the location of those three in the picture. If you want to find out who that is, go take a look here.

Thank you to everyone who played the game. I hope you all liked it.

Now on to what I did all day yesterday! This is something I do sometimes so I can keep this site fresh. I go out and search for new fun things to write about. I did this last winter and found three new nature parks, and several other good things I have yet to write about.

The picture above is one of two places with nature trails that I discovered yesterday. The place in the picture looks promising. The only problem is that it's right next to a shooting range. I doubt I'll ever see very many animals here, but it will be fun to explore.

I forgot to get pictures of the other place. I'll have them soon enough because I'll be going back to that one in a few days. It's much closer to my house than this one. It's actually a state park with extensive nature trails. I can't wait!

This is Orchard Lake. I was driving past this one. I couldn't actually find a place to stop and look at it, so I took three pictures while I was moving. This is on a very narrow twisting turning road that passes in between two lakes. One wrong move and my truck would have been underwater.

One more thing I wanted to show you. This one isn't really nature related, but it is a fun adventure. This is a place where they offer train rides for a small fee. There are several different deals. As you can see on the picture, you can have dinner on this train. I guess it's a moving restaurant.

You can do everything from riding for an hour or two, to going all night and even sleeping on the train. If you want to have a fun experience of riding a train, this is for you. I'll probably go on the short trip to try it out. It might be fun.

That was some of my day today. It was every bit as fun as getting in a fight with a squirrel army. Hey, that was fun too. If you don't believe me, do a search for squirrels here on the blog and find out. I'll talk to you tomorrow.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Count The Geese

Since I haven't done this in awhile, I've decided that it's time for another game. In the past I've asked you to find a hidden squirrel. Squirrels like to hide, so that went well with their personalities. This new game is a little bit different. This one is about geese, and around here, geese are multiplying out of control.

So this game involves the number of geese you can find. Your job is to find out how many geese there are in this picture. It may be only one, or it may be as many as ten, or somewhere in between. It may be difficult to see, so go ahead and click the picture to make it bigger. Even if you don't see any, you can make your best guess. That's easy enough.

This is all just for fun. There isn't a huge prize or anything like that. I'll just mention the winner(s) in the post when I reveal all of the geese tomorrow. You can leave your guess or any comment you like in the comments section. Like I said, I'll give the answer tomorrow.

Friday, May 22, 2009


I finally saw evidence of something I've been looking for since before I started this blog. A few years ago at this time of the year while I was hiking along the trails at the first nature park I ever visited, I saw what looked like tiny bugs jumping around on the trail.

There were thousands of these things, maybe even millions. They were covering the trails in this place for about a mile. When I say covering, I really mean it. Everywhere I stepped, swarms of these tiny creatures would hop out of the way of my feet. After awhile I got curious enough to look closer.

When I took a closer look I discovered that these weren't bugs at all. They were tiny little frogs! Maybe they were toads, but I can't really tell the difference anyway. I'll call them frogs for now. My curiosity about these frogs might have been what gave me the original thought about expanding my knowledge of nature, and then lead to the idea of creating this blog.

After I had the idea for the blog, those tiny frogs were one of the very first I looked for. Unfortunately last year, I must have been a few weeks too late. I never found the swarms of frogs like I did before. I did find a few bigger ones on these trails though. They were the same type of frog, but they had grown bigger. You can see a picture of one of them here.

Well, this year I'm not going to be disappointed again. I looked in the pond at that park today, and I found millions of tadpoles. I'm absolutely sure these tadpoles are related to those frogs from long ago. It won't be long before I see more little frogs hopping all over the trails.

If you stop and think about it, it's amazing what kind of little thing really inspires us to enjoy something like nature, or makes us want to write. What kind of thing was your inspiration? Why do you like nature? Why do you write your blog, even if it's not about nature?

My blog might have started out because of this pond and those frogs, just like these tadpoles began there. Of course that's not the only reason for the blog, but it might have been the spark that lit the fire of my passion. What was your spark?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Funny Duckling

DucklingI have a story for you about a little duckling today. What it did was pretty funny. I still laugh just thinking about this one. It's something I thought only happened in cartoons. It seems like I'm seeing a lot of cartoon stuff lately.

Anyway, I decided to go back to the place I saw the mother duck and her little ones. It's been about two weeks since I saw them and I thought I'd go and try to get some better pictures. Time seems to go by so fast though. When I saw them before they were so little, and the mother was keeping a very close watch on them.

This time when I stepped out of the forest and out near the pond, they had grown a lot since then. There was one of them swimming near the shore right in front of me. It didn't see me at first, and I had trouble seeing it because of the weeds. Well, you can see what I mean by looking at the picture.

DucklingI decided to get a closer look, since it didn't seem to mind, so I stepped a little closer. That's when it took off! This funny little duckling shot off so fast that it looked like it was actually running on top of the water! You can see that it's not really swimming at all.

I could actually see its feet running on the surface of the water. I tried to follow it with the camera, but it was much too fast for me. This picture was only a lucky shot. If you take a close look you can see the water splashing behind it and the big wake it left back there.

I'm sure it was pretty scared, but that was the most comical reaction I've ever seen by an animal. I've had so many different animals run from me, but none ever did it like this. I was trying to follow it with the camera and watch it while I was laughing. It wasn't easy at all.

DucklingsThe little duckling stopped as soon as it met up with this second one. As soon as they got together, they leisurely swam to the other side of the pond and into the weeds there. That was the last I saw of them.

I didn't get a better picture than this one because the sun was shining much too brightly into the screen of the camera. I had to point it in the direction I hoped was right, and make a few blind attempts. I guess all three pictures were lucky, even though I got several bad ones to go with these.

If you watch anything long enough, you'll get to see things like this. Nature, animals, people, even traffic. There's always something amusing if you pay attention.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Watching The Deer

deerI found out something interesting today. I guess this would take a little more investigation, but it seems that deer can sense when they're being watched. You don't even have to be close to them to be discovered watching them. If you stare at them long enough they know you're there.

I was walking down the side of a small ravine into the valley below, when I saw these deer in the distance. I wasn't being very quiet because I didn't expect any deer around there. Up until now I had never seen more than one deer at a time in this place. There are three in the picture, and probably at least five deer in their herd.

They actually weren't very close to me. They were far away enough that I thought at first they were a couple of boulders. When I focused my eyes I saw that I was seeing a couple of deer grazing in the valley. They had no idea that I was there because I was too far away.

deerThis second picture is a little more like what I saw. The closeup pictures came out unusually good for me. I don't know how I got such good pictures of these far away deer this time. I did have a nice clear view of them though.

Even though they didn't see me walk over here, they looked up as soon as I started taking pictures. I don't have another explanation other than they sensed me watching. If I would have kept walking, I think they would have ignored me.

This isn't the only time this has happened. I've had several other times when deer have sensed me watching them, while they didn't detect me at all while I was walking towards them. You can see other examples here.

deerThis one deer that's looking at me in this last picture was the first one to look up at me. It was also the last one to look away. It just didn't want to give it up. They knew they were far away enough that they weren't in any danger from me, but this one still wanted to keep an eye on me.

I finally started walking again because I had a lot of pictures of them. Then, not being able to resist this opportunity, I stopped again and began taking more pictures. This time the deer decided they had enough of me, so they all turned and walked into the forest.

What do you think? Do you think they can sense when something else is watching them? Or maybe it just took them a few seconds to bother looking up? Either way it was fun seeing them.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Watchers

chipmunkTake a very close look at this top picture. Go ahead and click on it to see it closer if you need to. You see that furry little critter on that tree stump? He's one of the watchers. I know, I know, you think it's just more squirrels. The return of Mr. Nutz or something like that. Nope, I already did that one, and this isn't even a squirrel.

This little guy is actually a Chipmunk. If you think squirrels are full of mischief, you can't even begin to imagine what chipmunks are like. These animals are such crazy little characters that they've inspired several cartoons about them. Alvin and the Chipmunks, and Chip and Dale are just a couple of them.

I've had a few encounters with chipmunks before this. But the group in these pictures might be the oddest sighting so far. I was coming from the back of one of the nature parks, where I saw some really good stuff, and the thought of chipmunks popped into my head. I looked to my left and I just saw one of these striped little punks running away.

chipmunkI wasn't fast enough to even get a bad picture of him, so I went on my way. I now had thoughts of getting a picture of a chipmunk in my head. That was the first one I'd seen this year, and now I had a new quest. I thought this was going to be tough.

I walked on for a ways until I was about halfway back to the front of the park. The thought of chipmunks came back all of a sudden. I looked to my left again and saw another one running just on the side of the trail! Would I get a picture of this one? Well, it's the one sitting right on top of that tree stump.

There was something very strange about this encounter with a chipmunk though. As I took my pictures, the chipmunk wasn't leaving. Squirrels almost always run away after a few seconds, but this little guy was watching me watching him. Even after I got my pictures we had a stare down. Angry because I lost, I stomped the ground at him, and he finally ran away.

chipmunkAs I moved up the trail, I saw another one! This one came over to stare at me too! This was now as many chipmunks as I saw all of last year, and they were a curious bunch. I didn't know there were any chipmunks in this park, but now I was seeing a small group.

Of course I took plenty of pictures of this third one too. You know I wouldn't pass up this opportunity. Seeing three chipmunks in one day is special, but getting pictures of two of them is unheard of for me. When I finished up with this one, something even stranger happened.

I saw a fourth chipmunk! I must have found a whole family of them, and they were all watching me! Honestly, this was getting a little creepy now. These chipmunks were all coming over to look at me, and they didn't seem to be very afraid at all. I was happy to see them, but I was also thinking that maybe I should leave.

chipmunkI turned to leave, and then I saw it on the other side of the trail. Number five! It happened the same as the others. It climbed up on an old fallen log to stare at me! I also got plenty of pictures of this last one. I'll show you those another time, but I have them.

These real chipmunks built an army much faster than the fictional squirrel, Mr. Nutz did. They never seemed angry with me, just extremely curious. It was a very interesting experience, even though it was also getting kind of creepy too. I really needed to get out of there.

After I made my way out of that section of the park, I didn't see any more of them. That doesn't mean there weren't more of them watching, it's just that I didn't see them. When I got back to my truck, I knew that I had another very good everyday adventure.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Goose Family

goose family, geese and goslingsAs I promised yesterday, here is the family of geese I mentioned. I've actually been watching them for a few days now. They started out on the other side of the lake, but I found them here right in front of me when I went to check on the nesting goose for the final time.

They came over here because their nest area had been upset by a couple of people that were mowing the grass over there. It was simple enough for these geese to just swim to this side where they thought it would be a little safer. They've found an even better place since I took these pictures.

My post yesterday was maybe a little on the negative side because of the situation I just described. I'm sure the nesting goose we've all been watching and waiting for is just fine. I'll be watching for her to swim by with her babies, so I can be the first one to get pictures.

goose family, geese and goslingsNow back to this new goose family. In the first picture they were standing very close to the lake viewing area that is attached to the dam. That is the place where the nesting goose was. Maybe she asked these geese to wait here for me so I'd have some good pictures to show, because she had to take her new family to safety right then.

Honestly, this family of geese seemed to be waiting there for me. They stood there patiently while I got some good pictures. Then when they decided I had enough, they got into the water and swam away. They took their time even doing that, so I was able to get good shots of this too.

goose family, geese and goslingsI don't know if you can tell by the pictures, but the baby goslings in these pictures aren't newborn. They've been around for at least a week. I have more pictures of them while they were on the other side of the lake. Some good ones and some not so good.

Do you notice how the mother stays in front and leads the babies? They follow her wherever she goes. The father brings up the rear to protect the family, and keep an eye out for any little ones that might fall behind. It takes a certain intelligence to have such a close family unit like this.

Most people think that only humans have an intelligence, but what else makes an animal able to do this? It could be only instinct, but then wouldn't that be the same for humans as well? I prefer to think it's a little of both for humans and other animals. We are all more similar than we sometimes think.

goose family, geese and goslingsThere they go. This is the last time I saw them so far. I know I'll see this goose family again, because they seem to like going on these little family outings through the park. I'm hoping I'll get to see our favorite nesting goose and her family too when they're ready to come out. I'm sure they haven't gone far.

I thought yesterday that the story of the nesting goose was at an end. Today I think it might have just gone through a transformation. We'll be seeing a lot of new life very soon. All of the animals will be bringing out their little ones to show them the world. The geese are only the beginning!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Nesting Goose Update 4 - Done

I had a completely different post ready to go today, but this one simply could not wait. This is the fourth and final update on the nesting goose. Things have happened very fast here, and I'm not really surprised. The news isn't good, but I'm not sure it's really bad either. Read the story to understand what happened.

I went back today to check on the nesting goose. After the condition she was in yesterday because of all of the rain, I was a little worried about her. As I approached the lake viewing area, I noticed I couldn't see her at all. I didn't like the looks of this!

The water level had gone down from yesterday, and it was now lower than the viewing area again. I didn't run, but I walked much faster towards the nest! I still didn't see here at all. This was looking worse the closer I got.

As I stepped up onto the platform to look for her, I discovered that she was gone. I walked closer to see past the weeds, and I saw her nest. Not only was the mother gone, but so were all of the babies. The eggs were all nothing but broken shells now.

The first thing I thought was that the worst had happened. I thought either something had gotten to her and the eggs, or the storm did this. Then I calmed myself and realized even the male goose was gone. I think maybe the eggs hatched, and they all left for a better place to hide.

I don't know how long it takes for a newly hatched gosling to be up and swimming, so I have no idea what really happened. The only thing I know is that they are gone. I don't know where they went, so I decided to search just a little.

I went over to the other side of the dam to see if they had somehow gotten down there, but what greeted me down there was a heron wading in the stream. It quickly flew away as soon as it saw me. I'll post pictures of it in a few days. My main concern was the new mother goose.

I went back up to the viewing area and looked out at the lake, but there was only a stray duck out there. After a few minutes of looking, I decided to walk up the side of the lake to see if I could find them. I made it over to the fishing platform, and saw something on the far shore.

It was two geese standing over there looking back at me. I don't really know if it was them, but it does look like the two geese I've been watching all this time. I saw no baby goslings with them, but I'm not sure if I could if they were there. Maybe there is a new nest in those plants over there. I don't have many answers, only questions.

Were the eggs really hatched? If so, how long ago did they actually hatch? And my final question is, what became of this family of geese? The eggs do look hatched and not destroyed, because they are empty. Live goslings obviously came out of them, and the area is too clean for anything else.

This was the outcome that I thought would most likely happen all along. I knew I would go to check on her one day and she might be gone. I really hoped I would get a good look at the babies first, but this was more likely to happen. Ah well, I hope they are alright.

I think the mother goose had to leave once the babies were hatched. If the babies wandered through the bars of the fence she would have a hard time rounding them all up. I'm sure the new family is out there somewhere on the lake. Maybe we'll all get to see them swimming by real soon.

This is not going to be a completely sad ending for all of us that were waiting to see them, because tomorrow I have something very happy for you concerning another family of geese. They were also close by the dam and I recently discovered that they had babies too. Come back tomorrow so you can see the whole family!