Monday, May 25, 2015

Ratty And The Raccoons

I'm back from a little time off I decided to take. None of my little adventures were inspiring me to write about them so I just decided to wait until something struck me. It didn't even occur to me until now to just maybe post the pictures by themselves. I guess that's because the important part to me is the writing.

Anyway, I decided to bring with me this little blast from the past. Not many of you who are reading today know about my adventure with the raccoons. This was one of my most exciting adventures because it was the closest encounter with wildlife that I ever had.

It started out as an ordinary day at one of my favorite nature and hiking parks back in Michigan. I never expected anything odd to happen. I was just hoping to maybe see a few turtles in the pond at the back of the park.

When I stepped out into the clearing at about a quarter of the way I was shocked to see six raccoons up the trail from me, and they were headed in my direction. I figured they'd run off as soon as they saw me so I naturally began taking pictures. But then when they looked up and saw me they came running right for me!

I can admit that I was more than a little afraid at this point. The only thing I knew to do was to stop right where I was. I thought if I ran then they might just chase me, and I was sure at the time that I couldn't outrun them. I also didn't want to try to scare them because I didn't think that was going to work at all. I just had to hope for the best possible outcome to this encounter with these wild animals.

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  little bit of 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.

The closer the little raccoons got to me the more I began to see that they weren't going to rip me to shreds at all. They were just curious and maybe wanted to make friends with me. They quickly swarmed around me and hugged up against my legs.This time I was very relieved. This could have turned into a very bad situation for me.

I realized how sharp their claws really were when a few of them began to try to climb up my legs. Those claws went right through my jeans. I had to shake each one of them off, which wasn't an easy task at all. I didn't want to hurt them, but I didn't want them to hurt me either.

I then began thinking about the mother raccoon again, and wondering if she existed and where was she. I didn't want her to come looking for her little ones and maybe getting angry with me. Then I thought maybe I should just leave the park for now. That's when I decided to walk away.

These little raccoons were having none of it. They wouldn't let me leave! They were all curled up around my feet, and they moved with me every time I tried to take a step. Then I realized I couldn't go back to the parking lot. They would follow me out there where it would be much too dangerous for them. I'd have to go deeper into the park. But how would I get away from them?

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 that didn't work either. They liked me too much now. I even growled and hissed at them to no avail.

So you know what I did? I did what I had to do. I ran! I ran as fast as I could go! The raccoons ran too! They were right behind me! I kept running until I began to pull away from them. I had never run so hard in my life! Up and down hills, and probably halfway through the park.

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 farther 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.

I went all the way to the back of the park and waited for a long time hoping that they'd get distracted by a new adventure. Luckily there were two trails going through the park for part of the way, so I took that second trail on my way out. The only problem was that where the trails met toward the front was where I first encountered the raccoons. I was relieved to find no trace of them when I got back there.

After I left the park I checked with some park officials down the road a ways to have them check on the little critters. I wondered if maybe someone dumped off some tame raccoons or maybe if their mother had died. I wish I could end with some happy news, but I never found out another thing about the little raccoons.

This all happened to me about six years ago. Nothing quite like it has ever happened to me again. Almost all of you who are reading this today are different than those who read it all back then, so I guess it's all new to you. It seems like things have changed here so much since then. It's nice to sometimes look back. I hope you liked it too. I'll talk to you later.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Back To The Feeder

I decided to stop back off at the feeder this time for any of you who might miss it a little bit. I kind of missed it here, but I still watch it every day. I'm not only revisiting the bird feeder because I missed it. I'm doing this post because I have a little bit of news. A little bit.

See those two Downy Woodpeckers at the feeder? They're both female! Maybe I need to explain the importance of this. Up until now I thought I had exactly two woodpeckers visiting the feeder, one female and one male. Now I realize there are more than that.

This picture would indicate that I have at least three of these birds at my feeder. But these pictures aren't everything. I've now seen at least four female woodpeckers out there together. That also means there could be several males as well. No wonder they've been visiting the feeder so much.

Another reason I wanted to revisit the bird feeder is because I kind of ended these feeder posts on a sour note. My last post showed a squirrel invading the feeder, so maybe I gave the impression that it was all over with. That's not the case at all. I've just had to think a little more strategically about when I put the feeder out.

Now I put the feeder out there when I let the dog out. She stays out on the porch for about an hour guarding the feeder from the squirrels. She actually understands that part very well. After she chases the squirrel away a few times it doesn't usually come back for the rest of the day. Then the birds can come over to eat.

It's getting warm enough now that I should probably get a poll to mount the feeder from. That might keep the squirrel away from it for a short time. After it figures that out I'll have to think of something else. An endless battle.

I'll have more from the feeder as new things happen. There aren't many birds coming in the warmer weather, but they do still come. Until then I'll have some things from my usual everyday adventures. I'll talk to you later.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Why Do They Always Run?

I saw these goats as I was driving past this little farm, so I decided to stop and get a few pictures of them. As soon as I got near them they took off running as if I was some sort of terrible monster. Farm animals always seem to do this to me.

I wish I knew why they always run from me. Sure it could be that they run simply because I'm a stranger, but I always feel like that can't be all of it. Farm animals don't seem to run from other people like they do from me. Others get wonderful pictures of the animals coming up to them to be petted. I always get pictures of their backsides.

It doesn't seem like all animals run from me. Wild animals that should run frequently come right up to me. I used to be able to coax deer to come right up to me. I've even had a few of them motion for me to come closer. It's kind of weird when that happens.

Once I had six raccoons come running up and wrap themselves around my legs. At first I thought they were going to attack me, then I realized they just wanted to be friends. But then I couldn't get rid of them, so I ended up running for about a quarter of a mile over hills and valleys to get away from them. They were hot on my heels for most of the way, but I lost them when I ran through a creek.

Squirrels will routinely run right up to me and chatter at me angrily. They're the most feisty little critters I've ever seen. They seem to feel like every human in the forest has intruded on their land and they will give you a piece of their mind about it. In the end what they really give you is lots of good pictures.

But farm animals are the ones that run. Goats run more than most, but cows have run from me as well. Sheep react similarly to goats so I have plenty of pictures of the behinds of sheep too. I'd love to get that perfect picture of some of these animals, but they never want to cooperate.

So even though I live in farm country, I mostly avoid the farms for my pictures. I guess these running away pictures are still okay, but I'd rather have pictures of them running up to greet me. Wouldn't that be much more fun? Maybe I should take pictures of dogs, they like me. Or cats, there are plenty of those around here, some of them are even wild. Hmm, that's a thought. All sorts of new ideas. I'll talk to you later.