(Quick note: Do not scan down through this post looking at pictures. Read your way to the pictures. It will be alot more fun that way . . .)
I periodically do a story on this blog about Older Daughter’s wildlife rehab – Wild Angels. Well, today’s post is not about Wild Angels, but it is about wildlife. I’ve been meaning to write about this for weeks now, but there’s never been a good time because of everything else that’s been going on. It’s such a strange story that I really wanted to share it with YOU.
I’ve mentioned before that there is plenty of wildlife where I live. For instance, about a week ago, I got to see an animal up close that I’d only seen at a distance before. It was an unusually cool night for early September so we had the bedroom windows open. In the middle of the night, I suddenly woke and sat straight up in bed. At first I couldn’t figure out why. But then I realized I had heard something like a scream. I raced to the upstairs window and looked down. There is a light pole on that side of the house. Way out here in the country it is the ONLY thing that lights up the very dark night. I was blurry from coming awake so suddenly, but I was able to focus really quickly when I saw what was standing under that light, down below my window. A coyote. Just standing there in my front yard. He was there only a moment, then he trotted directly into the woods.
I see deer almost daily here. There is a doe who has been bringing her two fawns through our yard almost every evening for weeks now. But a few days ago, while taking a walk, I saw a “herd” of deer in the distance. I had my camera with me, so I tried out my zoom and got this great pic of the group. Beautiful.
There are far too many stories to tell about the various wildlife sightings here. But the story I’m going to share today takes the cake. From beginning to end, this event kept me riveted. As I said, this happened weeks ago, in the middle of the Summer. Older Daughter had stopped at my place on her way home. She needed me to come to her house and take a couple of pictures. So I grabbed my camera and pulled out behind her and onto the gravel road. I happened to glance over into the field to my left and I thought I saw the fluffy blond tail of a cat just barely showing above the very tall grass. Of course a cat way out here in the country always gets my attention. I slowed my vehicle and watched for a moment. There were TWO! Two fluffy light-colored tails bouncing along in the deep grass. They were SO fluffy that I reassessed and decided it HAD to be the tails of long-haired dogs of some sort. They had to be small dogs because I could not see bodies attached to these tails at all. The ONLY thing that came to mind was Pekingese or Pomeranian dogs. They were the only small dogs I could think of that would have that much fluff for tails. Then I realized that pom tails curl right over the backs of those dogs. Besides, there wouldn’t be two small, fancy-breed dogs trotting along in a field in the middle of nowhere. This did NOT make sense. I stopped and got out of my vehicle and stood on the front of it. OK. Now it got really crazy. There was sort of a “mass” of light-colored fur moving through the grass. I literally could not come up with WHAT I was looking at.
I got my cell phone out and called Older Daughter. She had continued on down the gravel road and didn’t realize I had stopped. It took a couple of tries but I finally got her. Hey you have to come back. I’m stopped looking at some kind of animal that I absolutely cannot identify. This is weird enough to make it worth your while to drive back.
Older Daughter came hurrying back and I pointed out what I was seeing. We watched the tall grass moving as this animal made its way through the field. With my camera and her cell phone, we decided to plunge into the deep grass of the field and pursue this mystery animal for some pictures. Older Daughter was as dumbstruck as I was. We hurried out across the field towards the movement. Periodically there would be a tail or two. We tried to move as quietly as possible. It felt like it took forever to finally get close enough to start seeing more than just tails. I started snapping photos as soon as I could because I was sure that this animal would detect our presence at any moment and take off for the nearby woods. Older Daughter and I started exchanging glances as we got closer. It started to dawn on us what we were looking at. Our mouths dropped open. In an effort to stay as silent as possible we were holding up fingers to each other as we counted how many animals were in this group. Older held up three fingers and quickly changed it to four. I shook my head and held up five fingers. She got closer and held up six. I continued to snap pictures. Older attempted to get a video with her phone because no one was ever going to believe us. This group of SIX animals was moving as ONE unit. When one turned to the right, the others did as well. When another would turn in a different direction, the others all turned with it. The video didn’t turn out as well as we would have liked. But after Older’s attempt to film it, and once we’d gotten as close as we could, we just stood with our mouths open and watched the group of six saunter off en masse.
Move slowly through the pictures. See if you can guess the type of animal before it is finally revealed in the last couple of shots.
Older and I discussed how we’d never seen skunks that color before. For one thing, there was SO much white. We both knew that skunks are black-and-white and that they vary in terms of how much of each color. But not a single one of this group had much black at all, except for the faces. And then there was one who was not black-and-WHITE at all, but black-and-BEIGE. When we got back to our vehicles and were talking out loud again, we couldn’t get over the colors. But we also couldn’t get over this moving-as-one-unit thing they were doing. They were young skunks. Maybe this was a way to travel more safely. In any event, it was quite a show for me and Older Daughter. It’s a strange, amazing, fun, entertaining, awe-inspiring animal world.
See you tomorrow.