"Fiction is the purest art. Commercial fiction is the butter, the darkest chocolate, and the finest malt. That's why we are so addicted to it."--Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli
One evening, we had a giant centipede wandering through our house. It was about four inches long and as thick as a finger. I'd never seen one that big before outside of an insectarium, and they are not common in our area. I have no idea where that thing came from. I've also been privileged to see a number of moose and wild turkey. Occasionally, we'd see foxes and even the odd fisher cat. Interesting wildlife is one of the advantages of growing up in the country.
When I was a kid we had a family of foxes living in our back garden - was amazing watching the cubs grow up! We didn't see them much in the daytime, but every now and then (usually while I was out looking for the cat) I'd hear a rustle in the bushes and come face to face with a fox - there would always be that awkward moment of 'should one of us run away from the other?' before he'd saunter off!Nowadays I see a multitude of bunnies on my morning bike ride to work, and once saw a young deer! Nothing tends to visit us at home though, apart from cats! Which is fine, I love cats.
The bison outside my hotel room in Yellowstone was precious, but nothing like the coyotes two weeks ago. They ran through the campsite and had quite a discussion, one growling like nothing doing and the other one yipping submissively. Our take is that it was a parent schooling the youngster for coming so near people, even people in those Jiffy Pop containers. But let me tell you, hearing those growls. Wow.
Fox are common, as are deer and coyote, and then we get bears in the spring but they don't seem to linger. It was the moose that amazed me. Sauntered right down the center of the road one morning, and he was huge. I remember Maple, our Labradoodle, and myself standing on the front porch just admiring the start of the day, when we heard the clomp, clomp of something heading our way. Dog and I looked at each other and her eyes yelled 'WTF is that?' Never a camera handy when you need one.
This summer, a mama deer parked her so-new-it-didn't-smell-yet baby against the outside of our picket fence for most of a Sunday. It was teensy weensy, smaller than Elka certainly the couple of times I saw said fawn stand up and turn around.Once, when I was little, a pair of horses ran across my grandparents' front lawn. There had still been the vestige of a farm kind of in the neighborhood at the time, which I didn't know, so it was freaking magical.
The most common visitors we get are the venomous kind (snakes), but because they are common they aren't that interesting. We also have blue-tongued lizards and an assortment of birds.Interesting would be the fat green tree frog (who we found hopping down the hall), the mob of kangaroos in the backyard or the insectivorous bat that moved into the garage .But I think my favourite were the family of ring-tail possums (not related to the US's opossum) who used to run onto our roof every night and play and fight. I've missed them since we moved.
A tufted grouse had been checking out our garage and fled when I opened the back door. It's not uncommon for bears to be seen wandering in backyards in nearby Corning, NY.
Like Amanda, I was stunned to see a moose stroll across our property. I had never seen one before and could NOT get over how enormous this thing was. I was on the phone at the time with a friend and said, "It's bigger than a big horse!" Seconds later, the mother followed it out. THAT was bigger than big.
AJ Blythe reminded me that sometimes during a dry spell, rattlers will slither out of the hills and into backyards looking for water. Several times, the interstate has had to close rest areas due to snake infestation.
We had a possum (not ring-tailed or US style) that used to visit us every day and beg for bits of fruit. Cute little thing it was. Didn't get on too well with the dog, though.And, like AJ, up in QLD we got LOTS of poisonous snakes that usually saw the business end of a shovel or the teeth of the dog. And don't mention the spiders....
Well, nothing like moose round these here parts, but we do see these quite often:https://donnaeverhart.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/009.jpgAnd this poor little baby found itself in quite the predicament. Don't worry, hubby put on a pair of gloves and lifted him out and placed him in a bush.https://donnaeverhart.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/possum2.jpgThen, one day, this was in a tree. We haven't quite figured out what this was, but whatever, it was off course I think:https://donnaeverhart.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/009.jpgI wish I could get the links embedded. Ahem...Colin, good old buddy, pal?
I was stalked by a mountain lion at night at my campsite once. Also, charged by a coastal grizzly in Alaska. Those were both interesting experiences.
The bear that spent a weekend under my front porch, or the deer that claimed my car and wouldn't let me get into it? My favorite was the snapping turtle my daughter found and brought home because it's leg was bleeding. We doctored him up and made a bed for him in the laundry room. The next morning he was roaming the house, eating the cat food and using the litter box. He was about 10 inches across, and lived with us for two years. We didn't know he was a snapping turtle until the night my new boyfriend came to visit, and the turtle tried to put him out of the house. I should have listened. lolMy kids would lay on the floor to watch TV, and the turtle would climb up on their backs. Or he would crawl onto my feet and look up at me, so I'd pick him up and hold him in my lap. We called him Picasso, and said he was a long-lost Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.I miss him. :(
Donnaeve- how lovely!! I got to see an eagle close up, once. It's wingspan when it put them straight up to take off was taller than I was. Hawks I love just as well, but I've never been as close as you to one. Lucky you!
Audrey- I've always wanted a turtle! (Illegal to have 'em here in Tas :( )
Thanks, W.R.! If you could see where we lived, it's even more amazing. (i.e. traditional neighborhood - not in the woods)Audrey, I too had a "pet" turtle for about a year or two - although NOT of the snapping variety. I was about seven, mine was a typical "box" turtle. I named him - or her - Cleo. I fed him/her lettuce leaves and tomatoes, and I can't remember what else. I DO remember when we were getting ready to move to Michigan from North Carolina, my mom said, "Take Cleo into the woods and let her go." Little had I known how bad Cleo wanted freedom. Ever see a turtle run?
Beth-I had a 12 inch centipede walk across my foot once! Scared the daylights out of me. I screamed like a banshee. But the most interesting visit? At first I though a dog got into my yard, but couldn't figure out how because I have a five foot fence. When I realized it was a bobcat,not a dog, it saw me, and sailed over that fence like it wasn't there.
My father used to test rocket sleds in the Mojave Desert. Once he brought home a box with air holes. Inside was a kangaroo rat, a very cute rodent that hopped like its namesake and had a little tuft on its tail.We named him SNORT (for Supersonic Naval Ordinance Research Track).
Here you go, Donna:https://donnaeverhart.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/009.jpghttps://donnaeverhart.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/possum2.jpghttps://donnaeverhart.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/009.jpgProbably the most unusual visitors we get are opossums--not the Australian possums, but the ones like Donna's second picture. Only we don't get them that small. We get monster opossums! We have five cats, three indoor, two outdoor. The outdoor cats are ones that show up at the house and keep coming back (one of them, Pansy, has been around since before we moved out here--she has to be at least 15 or 20 years old, and has survived so much, she'll probably die with the cockroaches), so we put food out for them. During certain times of the year, opossums will scamper onto the porch to eat the food. The cats keep out of their way, and they usually come and go without incident. If the food is close to our storm door, we can stand on the other side of the glass and watch them up-close-and-personal. They're actually kinda cute with their long snouts, little guinea pig ears, and long ratty tails. But then they look up and you see those huge sharp fangs and... well... not so cute anymore!We had one opossum that was easily as big as a raccoon--maybe even big as a cat. My daughter named him "monster." :)Of course, I think AJ about wins this one, but she lives in Australia so that's cheating... ;)
Coyotes, when I lived in a more rural part of Maine. When I was out walking early in the morning, sometimes we would cross paths. They melted into the woods as soon as they caught my scent, so it was the most fleeting of contact. It always felt like a gift.
When my wife and I were first dating back in the 90's.....1990's thank you. Well we went camping up on the Kern in sunny California, north of Los Angeles. We set up camp, had dinner, policed the campsite,etc. I had a couple handguns back in the day, and I had brought along a 357 wheel gun and had it near my pillow. (I sold them when out daughter Caleigh was born. Well not right when she was born, but later.)We went to bed and I woke up four hours later, like three in the morning. I heard something rummaging around in the bush and kinda freaked a little. I listened for five minutes and figured it was twenty feet away to the tents left side. I cautiously got the small mag flashlight and unzipped the tent flap and crept outside to defend my temporary spot of wilderness. I followed the sound quietly. Cindy looked out the tent flap, and whispered quietly, "What is it?"This of course scared the shinola out of me, and after regaining some of the hunter ability turned and whispered. "Get ready to run to the truck, if you have to and lock yourself in." I pointed the flashlight, revolver combo at the quarry. I clicked on the flashlight and there ten feet away from me was a rather unimpressed cow. I returned the hammer to the rest position and went back into the tent telling Cindy. "It's for you....medium rare please."
Donna...really cool photo's. We have what I would refer to as a brown eagle (Buzet) and a Kestrel falcon (Falconette).Nothing like watching a Kestrel fluttering, almost hovering with it's weird flight characteristics.
I live in the suburbs near a canyon, so the wildlife we see here is mostly lizards, snakes, hawks, and the occasional coyote that snatches small pets.I once had a rat infestation INSIDE my house. It took my husband and #1 son about a month to trap all of them. Not an experience I would care to repeat. **shiver**When we first moved here, we had an ant colony living inside our walls. That required a professional exterminator to eliminate.I loved visiting my father-in-law when he was alive [picture Grizzly Adams, he looked just like him], in gold country, central California, on 360 acres of a woodland hills ranch. He raised donkeys. He also had a llama, nasty beast. We dug for crystals on his property, swam in a pond, saw deer jump over chain-link fences like they weren't there. Those were wonderful vacations.Hank, I have wonderful memories of family trips to the Kern River. Never saw a scary cow tho.
Lived in and traveled around southern and eastern Africa for 5 years, so a few interesting encounters...A black mamba tried to enter my bedroom through an open window, in a rural school in Namibia. Fortunately I was there to see it. Had to call a bunch of local teachers, then help surround and kill it by dropping bricks on it until it was dazed enough that a guard could safely use a machete to behead it. The guard fried and ate it - to the victor go the spoils.Was visiting some former students in a UN refugee settlement in western Uganda, woke up to rats racing across my body. (Had previously had a similar experience in a dumpy motel in upstate New York, but it was cockroaches)On the plains outside of Ngorongoro, Tanzania, woke up (in a tent) to the sound of a buffalo munching the grass less than a foot away from my head.Plus the usual "growing up in Canada" ones: raccoons in the kitchen, stealing the bag of onions; falling asleep outside in Algonquin Park, waking up to moose footprints all around me; having to stay in a high-hide for a few hours because there was a curious bear at the base of the tree...
I live on the edge of nowhere. We commonly see hawks, owls, vultures, songbirds, quail, roadrunners, rattle and bull snakes, numerous lizard species, cottontails and jack rabbits, coyotes, antelope, mule deer, elk, and once, a black bear ran past the house.Haven't seen a lion yet, but I know they live here.
French sojourn, that's hilarious! And Donna, lovely pictures. That poor opossum!When I was in high school, my environmental science class took a weekend trip down to the Florida Keys for a short camp. We arrived early in the evening, around dinner time. Most of the class chose to stay on the campground and order pizza. Only seven of us decided to go with our teacher to see if we could find any Key deer. They're a small species, about the size of a large dog.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Key_deerWe drove a few streets away from the camp and unloaded from the car, eager for the search. We made it less than one block down the road when an entire herd emerged from behind a house...And wandered over to us.They were curious, obviously accustomed to humans. Various people were sniffed and licked, and after a few minutes, they wandered off after having a standoff with a cat. One of the coolest wild animal experiences I've ever had.
My neighborhood has a coyote, which is amusing when you realize I live in the middle of Portland, Oregon. If I lived close to Forest Park or a large wilderness area it would make sense, but I'm surrounded by neighborhoods. Growing up in rural Oregon, we had the basics: cat food-stealing possums, deer, etc. Our cat had her own version of catch-and-release and would capture hummingbirds, mice, and snakes. She'd bring them into the house and release them in the living room. Using a fishing net to remove hummingbirds from the ceiling fan to release them outside can be entertaining.
Maggie's link linkified: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Key_deer
An albino Clarias Batrachus (walking catfish) once wandered up to me. This is Florida so only possum, raccoon, coyotes, gators, snakes and migratory birds are common.Like most invasives around here the walking catfish fell off of a truck down Miami way and liked it here. I live twenty something counties away from Miami. Walking catfish is one of those things that supposedly haven't migrated to Hillsborough County yet.
I love reading everyone's stories.Stephen, ouch a mamba. That's freaky. We had a black snake in Maryland and lots of mice in Paris. Paris is infested with mice. Luckily we up high enough that they don't invade our space anymore. In Tuscany wild boar would rub their backs on the wall of the house and eat the roses.
At work, no time to read comments.Most interesting wildlife, he was half bald, half dreads, he bad a ring from his nose to his upper lip and his name was Spike.Spike was soft spoken, very polite, he bad to be I was his customer, or actually my daughter was. She was getting a tattoo as a sixteenth birthday gift. I had to okay it because she was under 18. Spike was an amazing artist and really nice guy.The other amazing wildlife?I used go live in Africa, I've seen almost every mammal you can imagine. Rhinos and giraffe are my favorites.
Thanks, Colin :) That same Key trip, we were exploring around a rocky shore and someone came within inches of stepping on a small shark. Seriously close encounter!
Ha Stephen , black mamba huh, ever see a green mamba? Nasty buggers.
Elissa wins for variety.Maggie, I've seen Key deer too, now that you mentioned them. I have a friend who use to live in Key West, and I traveled down there a few times to visit. We both love to ride bikes (think 20 milers) and we went down a long stretch of a remote rode in search of these deer. We saw a couple (not a herd!) but you're right, they are about the size of a medium sized dog. Very strange site.When we go to Mississippi, one thing I love is listening to coyotes in the bottom, which is a lower field away from the house. I've woken up to hear them howling around 2 in the morning. It's a very eery sound.
Thank you, Colin!!!
Hmmm. I'm wondering if about now is the time for my shark encounter story?
I live in an urban area but the deep forest is not far away. Bears and deer can be anywhere but usually aren't. We do all get scared, though, on the rare occasions when cougars venture down the creeks and start trying to mix with us. When I was growing up my Mom saw a cougar in the yard one evening and the next morning refused to let me go to school. I liked the concept, but not being able to go outside took the shine off it.Most unusual wildlife, though, happened just a couple of weeks ago, when I walked down my very urban street, descended a very urban staircase to the seawall, and one of the first things I saw was a grey whale. The tide was out, so although it was in fairly deep water it was quite close to shore. It didn't do anything spectacular, just bopped along, occasionally cresting the waterline but not breaching. Still, it was kind of a magical reminder from Mother Nature that our big urban concrete jungle is pretty tiny in the grand scheme of things.
Donna: You've had a shark encounter? I won't have a shark encounter story until after Bouchercon... ;)
I had to run a couple of coyotes away from our family dachshund once...Mountain bike for the win!
Not the strangest thing to visit, but most memorable: while camping, we were all sitting around the fire, pitch black otherwise, and hear something behind us. Commence freak out. This HUGE racoon waddle runs away with our bag of peanuts, that was sitting literally right behind us. All night we heard animals crunching on the peanuts. Not our brightest camping moment, haha
I was visiting my sister, brother-in-law, and their new born baby. They were living in the beautiful Southwest at the time. My little niece was in her pram and we were by the pool relaxing. They went inside the house to start dinner and I stayed outside with my future god-child. I happened to look up at the sky and way up high were two large birds. They looked like hawks or eagles. I kept watching them and they kept circling lower and lower. It freaked me out, I picked up my niece and took her inside. I went back out a little while later and they were gone.She turns 19 next month. 1m72 / 54 kg (5'8" / 119 lbs) - I'd like to see them try and pick her up now.
While out and about, I've seen a few things, went fishing a few years ago and there was a porpoise doing its thing in the water, just off the beach, I hope he had better luck than I did.
DeadSpiderEye: "... there was a porpoise doing its thing in the water..." Well, I'm glad it was fulfilling its function in life. Nothing worse than a porpoise with no porpoise. :DSorry, couldn't resist.
Colin Smith:LOL,the obvious ones are the best.
Even though I live in what might be called a suburb in a larger city, there is a small park across the street with a fair-sized colony of rabbits.Now, Little Girl Dog loves playing chase. She loves to chase, and be chased. She just loves to run.One morning, I took this 10-lb dog outside for her walk... and there was a huge rabbit just sitting on my lawn. This rabbit was at least twice LGD's size, maybe 3 times. Its mistake was, when it saw us, it started to run.LGD snapped the leash out of my hand and ran after the rabbit. You know those Bugs Bunny cartoon chase scenes, where the chasee will run first one way, then another, sometimes across hallways, sometimes across streets, closely followed by the chasers? Yeah. That happened. The rabbit ran across the street, LGD right behind, long ears flying in the wind (LGD's long ears, that is. Not sure rabbit ears flap as easily). Then the rabbit ran back across the street, LGD right behind. Then the rabbit ran across the street again - LGD right behind - and turned a corner at the end of the street.I was just thinking, crap, I'm going to have to call the humane society and tell them how I lost my dog. I wasn't angry - maybe because it was just too funny. Then LGD came sheepishly back around the corner. Either she lost the rabbit, or she realized that I was no longer in sight.About... 9 years ago, I think, I took my niece tenting at a small lake not far from here. She was about 13 at the time. It was a terrible year for camping - a peak year for mosquitos - and my niece refused to use the camping 'facilities' because "There's bugs in there!" I tried to tell her that at least they had flush toilets and were relatively clean, unlike the outhouses we used to use, even at the cabin. We were there for 3 or 4 days, and she didn't go once.Our first day there, we were eating snacks at the picnic table, and the chipmunks and squirrels were interested. She happily threw snacks at them, and they ate them. When she tired of it, though, she turned back to the table... and one squirrel jumped right up next to her on the table seat. It freaked her right out. She has never trusted a squirrel or chipmunk since then, and still says they're 'evil'.
Wow, we have an interesting bunch. My vote goes to Mary. Stalked by a mountain lion. Them be dangerous and ornery kitties. Did you pack enough underwear?As for the grizzly, HUGE, and always hungry, according to Canadian Geographic.
Amanda: "HUGE and always hungry"--sounds like my son! ;)
(FYI: My son is the only one of our family who is over 6 feet tall)
Donnaeve, could the bird be a Mississippi Kite? It's difficult to tell much from your picture.
For the past 4 years, I've lived in a developed suburban area alongside a busy double highway. But in the midst of this, is a small park that consists of a marshy, former oak savannah that has morphed into a forest. This park is not well-known or well-used. Inside this park, I rent a parsonage next to a 1970s-built church with a tall, steep-gabled roof.I've had deer and a rafter of wild turkeys in my backyard. I've enjoyed watching the turkeys, at dusk, fly into the oak tree to roost for the night. We also have a coyotes den nearby and we can hear then when sirens go at nighttime. But the most wonderful surprise happens in the darkness of night, spring or fall. When our windows are open, I have heard an owl, and one time a pair, talking. One likes to sit at the peak of the church roof. HUGE. They're barred owls. And in my bird book, their call is described as, amazingly accurate, "who cooks for you? who cooks for you all?"
When I was living at my father's, with him and later after he had a stroke, deer came up to his house every day. If he hadn't put feed out for them yet, they would come up on the porch and stick their noses to the big picture window that was in the dining room as they knew he'd be sitting at the table drinking coffee.Up at the mine we often saw elk and deer. Elk would come over the ridge just above the mine and come down into the valley mere yards from us. The men always carried rifles with them as the area did have bears. Normally they would turn the other way when they saw a man, but if you startled them or came between a sow and her cubs, things got hairy. One bear broke into the trailer and they had to kill it as it came through the door. Another bear killed a miner there. They found the bodies of the miner and the bear together a few weeks after the death match.After the Denver conference, my writing crew rented a huge house in Evergreen with an indoor pool and a tennis court for a writer's retreat. In the mornings, Lisa and I would get our coffee, sit on the back porch and watch a fox playing with a tennis ball on the tennis court.Probably the most interesting, was a white coyote. By the ranch headquarters was a deep, wide gulch. We'd move cattle from the western pastures up the gulch to the corral when we needed to bring some in for some reason. Running off the gulch was another gully that had trees growing at the sides, forming a canopy over it. Wild roses and strawberries covered the sides. We'd often see a white coyote running along the top of the gulch near the rose gully. He would yip at riders, which is very unusual. Though the grass was belly deep in the rose gully, you could not drive a cow up there. I'd go up there with Cowboy, my horse, who was the only horse on the ranch who would enter the gully. I picked strawberries, smelled roses, and just relaxed. A few times I fell asleep and dreamed of an Indian who died there.My stepdad had conniptions about me going into the gully, especially when the coyote was around. He said Indians believe white coyotes are spirits. No idea if that's true, but if so, the spirit didn't mind me being there.Neither my stepdad nor brothers would ride into the rose gully. They said it gave them the creeps just riding past it. I'm sure the coyote trailing them didn't help.
Nothing too exotic or exciting has visited me, although since I've lived in well-populated areas all of my life I guess anything beyond squirrels could be exciting! Unfortunately, one of the most common visitors where I live now is a skunk that makes its presence known most nights.
When I was a kid, there was a cheeky weka at the holiday house we went to. Weka are flightless birds and they have an eye for bright and shiny things. Anything you left outside, marbles, coins, toy cars etc. would get taken off by this cheeky little bird. We eventually found its stash in the bush when it decided it liked the shiny metal fastenings on a pair of toddlers' overalls spread out to dry on the deck. We chased this stupid bird through the bush to get those overalls back and found its little hollow, completely filled with things it had stolen from outside our house.
I've got to say, this is probably one of my most favorite collection of comments I've ever read. Thank you to all of you that shared your stories. I am in awe of what an incredible group of folks you all are. I hope that QOTKU is enjoying this as well as she glides effortlessly through the kelp and kale in the undertow of her vacation.Be well all.
Hank: It was my porpoise joke that did it, wasn't it? ;)Actually, I have to agree. Y'all are sharing some great stories of encounters with the wild. :)
Kitty, it's a sparrowhawk, quite common. I hate it when they show up though b/c my birdfeeder seems to attract them. The mailman told me he saw one snatch a squirrel up a few months back. I'd prefer not to see that either.bj - your Little Girl Dog is about three times the size of Little Dog. With his attitude though, you'd never know it, all 3.8 lbs of him.LynnRodz - those sound like vulture buzzards. One way I've been able to tell the difference between them and hawks is they tend to circle and float, very little wing flap. Whereas the hawks tend to do some circling, yes, but more wing flap and more straight. They are here and gone a lot quicker than the buzzards. Yes, Colin, I've had a shark encounter - before BOUCHERCON. What???Back to my Keys visits, my friend is a certified scuba diver, but I'm not - so we went snorkling. Bear in mind, I REALLY don't like seeing "things" in the water. Parrot fish? Fine. Angel fish? Fine. The bigger/uglier it is? Not so fine. We were snorkeling in a sanctuary off of Biscayne Key. As we went along, her first, another friend, and then me, te coral was starting to make me feel claustrophobic. Soon, what had been ten feet of clear, visible from all sides water below me was covered by the coral, rising up and down and a very narrow sea floor below. Then, here come thousands and thousands of "feeder" fish, a frenzy of fish (flashback to a flash fiction challenge!) all fluttering past me and I had no idea why. Until, from the VERY narrow sea floor directly below me, came a shark. Big. I did THE WRONG THING. (no surprise - I tend to freak at the least opportune moment) Yeah. FREAKED OUT. With all that water churning as I tried to back paddle, I have no idea what happened, but my friend said it took off quicker than I did.Then she says, "it was just a nurse shark." Whatever. Shark. Teeth. Top predator. No thanks.:)
Hank, I know! I agree, this has so interesting to hear/share personal stories. I wanted to point out that I loved all the "coming of age" ones yesterday. Loved hearing about the 60's/70's especially. I was a bit young in the 60's to know anything interesting, but the 70's were "my time" as in when I discovered - like one of the commenters, that I'd grown in all the right places...Anyway, everyone has had something so interesting to say.
@DonnaeveMaybe a Cooper's Hawk? Your first picture.The house we moved from last October: Deer, fox, coyotes, snapping turtles, snakes, a nesting pair of owls, a Michigan Eagle...we lived a mile from the mall!The house we live in now: Middle of nowhere, a few deer, a couple foxes, a huge golden eagle and some hawks, lots of sandhill cranes (stupid birds!) and I'm running a rabbit farm because there are at least 15 a night in my backyard. I had more wildlife closer to the city than we have now. But I wouldn't trade the area for anything.
Colin. of course!Donnaeve. grown in all the right places...didn't catch that one, but love it!
Donna: Just a nurse shark? That's like telling bj's rabbit it was only a little dog! Who cares? It's got bitey teeth and looks hungry!! :) Wow!
Do my numerous alien counters qualify? If not, I guess I would have to say the crow that found its way into an office where I once worked. It's not that crows are so interesting; having them inside an office building made it memorable.
This doesn't seem at all exciting to me, but based on how northern hemisphere people often feel about our common wildlife, I'd say:- kangaroos (I live in suburbia but it's not unusual to have them wandering the streets, especially in summer) - which then reminded me of this: creepy kangaroos Victoria- wombats, echidnas- various Australian birds which are commonplace here but not so much o/s - eg kookaburras, rainbow lorrikeets, king parrots, white cockatoos, even a black swan once...Never seen a snake at our house, thankfully, though you seen them often walking in the hills away from houses.
My son, after a weekend camping trip during his puberty years.
I guess this one did come to me. I like fly-fishing salt water. It is more productive in the summer but sometimes the bigger fish can be found in winter. In winter the tide cycle really empties out our bays and the water is very low. The place I went the water was so low that you could only paddle through the channels on the bottom.I say paddle because I use an old surfski when I fly-fish. A surfski is a sit on top racing kayak. They are long and very skinny. They allow me to cover a lot of water quickly. When I see a nice spot to fish I either hang my legs over the sides for balance or leash it to my ankle.I saw a nice redfish tailing the edge of the channel and dropped a fly in front of it. A couple of minutes later the fight was on. Then the fish turned and ran straight at me. I wasn't sure why so I pulled my legs in. A couple of seconds later a school of black tips(black tipped sharks) were racing at me. They caught that redfish right under my boat. The frenzy last less than a minute but felt like it was hours. My balance was shot about halfway through the frenzy. I needed to paddle to get some secondary stability. I stroked the paddle and a shark grabbed it. It noticed something odd for its environment and a few seconds later they left. All that was left on my line was the head.If you like that I'll tell you about my plumbing accident. When I popped open my water meter and fifteen or so pygmy rattlers popped out.Donnaeve, there are two kinds of vultures, or buzzards, in America. The turkey vulture, with a red head, and the black vulture, with a black head. I know this because I live in the winter capital for buzzard migration. Thousands of them winter here.
I've mostly lived in city and urban suburbs, so not many encounters with exotic fauna. However, during my time in Hyde Park, Chicago, I became acquainted with monk parakeets.Years ago, some pet parakeets got loose, and somehow managed to procreate and thrive even in the harsh winters. Now they're all over the place.It's the weirdest thing to be walking down a city block, feel like you're being watched, turn around, and find a little green and yellow tropical bird following you. And they build these giant communal nests. Definitely brightened the city.
You know, on second thought, it has to be rodeo cowboys.
@nightsmusic - I think it can be known as both? When I snapped that pic, I researched and found several, this one looks very similar and it under sparrowhawk:https://search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?p=sparrowhawk&ei=UTF-8&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-003But now, I'm wondering if it's a sharp shinned?http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Sharp-shinned_Hawk/idHank! Haha, yeah, that was the year I also discovered hip-hugger jeans. My father was beside himself.Craig - oh great, we have both I think. The other day I saw no less than 20 circling - no idea which ones. I figured somebody's cow had a stillborn calf.Colin - agreed. Just a nurse shark my foot. I went to the boat and didn't get back in the water. :)
@DonnaeveI don't know about the SparrowHawk. I've seen those and it could be. But not the Sharp-shinned. They haven't got the distinct marking on their head I can see in that shot. It looks almost like he's wearing a mask.
Donnaeve, I think you could be right, but I thought they only ate dead things. If I'm wrong, am I the last to know? I could put that down as a comment from the post two days ago.
I think the most interesting wildlife was when the kids were in HS and college and their friends came to visit and shoot pool upstairs in the bonus room. Not sure they ever realized quite how well their voices carried down the back stairs.I live well within the city limits, but there's a creek that runs through the neighbourhood, just on the other side of the house next door. So we get all sorts of critters: squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, possum, raccoons, birds of all kinds but my favs are the hawks and owls, oh and the bluebirds too, and there has been the occasional deer sighting. One night as I was getting ready to go to bed, I turned off the front light and just stood there for a minute looking out the window, enjoying the very light snow that had fallen and lit up the outdoors, the way snow does. And then I noticed movement off to the side and it was a very large deer walking across the front yard. It stopped and turned its head and stared straight at me and we just froze like that for a long minute, looking at each other. And then it turned away and calmly kept walking across the yard, on the way down toward the creek. It felt magical.I really enjoy the non-human wildlife when it stays OUT OF MY HOUSE. Unlike the squirrels and various birds we've had in the chimney (including a cute little flying squirrel), the raccoons in the attic, the wolf spiders that seem to invade every fall (don't google wolf spiders). And then there are the woodpeckers, general contractors of the bird world, that make holes in the wood siding on the tallest end of the house (it's on a hill, so 3-stories at one side) and then other birds move in. *sigh* Yes, I have Animal Control saved in my phone contacts.Well, it's better then when we lived in FL and they had to call someone to capture and remove the 8-foot alligator from the pond behind the house across the street.
So many animals! Around here (Vancouver Canada suburb) we commonly see bears, wolves, skunks and coyotes to name a few. One cute little animal I saw years ago was a pocket gopher. I had to look it up to see what it was; very cute. Looks like a hamster/gerbil. Another cool sighting are all the salmon in the almost dried up creeks. Kinda wild to see spawning salmon over two feet long in barely six inch deep water.
*better thAnSheesh. I do know which word is correct to use in that last sentence.
More Donna Links! :)https://search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?p=sparrowhawk&ei=UTF-8&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-003http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Sharp-shinned_Hawk/id
Thanks Colin!!!@nightsmusic - yeah, agree, good catch. I did read there are several varieties of sparrowhawk, but Cooper's hawk wasn't in that particular list. Funny though. Pictures of both sparrowhawk and a Cooper's look similar, yet, IDK. IDK. Now I'm really ruminating on this, cause you know, who ever said "Googlus" was 100% accurate. (see Colin - I backed up and read your correction re: Et tu Googlus - LOL!)
And then I find this:http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Coopers_Hawk/id(sorry Colin!)And to me, the first pic under Cooper's and the fifth under Sharp shinned look amazingly alike. But. Having said that, we can't see the entire tail in the pic I took, but I still see two, and think this would ultimately show those three distinct bands of the tail of a Cooper's hawk.Well. This was fun! For me anyway. :)
@DonnaeveThe only other bird though with a mask that comes close is the Peregrine and I can't tell how big the bird is in your picture, but I think it's too big. We have them downtown Detroit and I've seen them fairly close, but it's hard to tell.http://motorcitymuckraker.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/falcon.jpg
LynnRodz - I think they will, but I've only seen them eat fresh. ICK.
@nightsmusic - very cool pic. That bird looks more stocky through the legs, I think. The size of the one I took was about 14-16 inches? Just a guess.
@DonnaeveI probably should stop because I've gone way off what the intent of the original post is, but I don't know. Peregrine's can go 23" tall. That's a big bird and I thought your picture was bigger or at least that big. I just don't think it's a Sharp-shinned. They have little heads and the one in your picture doesn't.Oh well, I've derailed this thread enough. My apologies to all!
2NNs - I have seen a green mamba, but it wasn’t trying to visit me. It falls into the “animals attacking my car” category. That’d include being charged twice by the same elephant, swerving so a donkey’s kick missed my passenger-side door, and getting pelted by an angry troupe of baboons.Sam - I know what you mean about Aussie wildlife thrilling the rest of us. My first time there I was enthralled by a bird. Turned out it was a white ibis - your equivalent of a seagull. But that’s OK, the former roommate I was visiting used to get so excited every time he saw a black squirrel in Toronto. It’s all relative.Where I live now, on the edge of a forest in Kuala Lumpur, we have monitor lizards (about 1.5 metres long) living between the carpark and the pool, a civet in the trees, the occasional visit by monkeys, and once each - that I know of - a cobra and a 3m long python.
kdjames, same thing happened to me, sort-of. About eleven o'clock at night I was turning off lights and movement caught my eye outside the picture window in our living room. I turned, just outside the window a deer was feeding on the bushes by the house. His head rose from the shrubs and the huge buck, (at least an 8-pointer,)backlit by the street light, stared at me. We looked at each other, only a few feet apart, for the longest time. A car went by, the lights shown across the window and he was off. It was a mystical experience until I realized he wasn't looking at me, he was looking at his own reflection. He thought I was another horny young buck. Nope, not me, that would be my husband, if he had stayed awake.
Hey Stephen. Well, I can't say I was ever attacked by the animals I saw in Africa but I did have a moose chase my minivan in Rangeley Maine. That guy took off after us so fast I thought he was going to land in the way-back third seat. My kids still talk about the moose that fell in love with our van.
Donna, the hawk looks like a Red ShoulderedThe circled bird looks like a yellow crowned night heron
B-Nye wins."My son, after a weekend camping trip during his puberty years."
Is he furry? Does he growl? 😊
Carolynn, I doubt the deer I saw in my yard was really looking at me either. Probably just noticing the sudden absence of light. Or watching a confused moth. But it felt like a connection, for that long moment of time.
Phone is haunted. Sorry for multiples.
That's okay, Donna. Keeps me busy... :)http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Coopers_Hawk/idAnd then nightsmusic's link:http://motorcitymuckraker.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/falcon.jpgAre we up-to-date now?
Looks like Amanda is having an interesting visit from some ghostly wildlife.
A thousand years ago, I used to walk my cats. I had seven of them, and we lived in a rural area where they followed me everywhere. One night, after a long walk, I turned around to start back home, and I counted the train of cats that followed me.Eight. That was one too many. And I noticed the new cat looked . . . odd.Sure enough, when I got closer I saw it was an opossum. It took off when it realized it didn't quite belong.
We've had a couple of Pumas in the backyard. I think they come to drink from our pool when it's especially dry in the Catalinas. I'm not sure why because I've neglected to discuss it with them. Then there's a bobcat who comes around every two or three days. He likes the bunnies—about a score of them live in the yard—and in winter he curls up on our patio to nap in the sun. There are birds, of course. Mostly roadrunners, quail, and owls. And Coyotes too. In Florida, we lived near the beach and when the citrus was ripe, a flock of Cuban Parrots would wing in about ten and settle in the big orange tree off the patio. Their feathers were the same shade of green as the orange tree leaves which made them invisible. They awk'd it up until about four and then flew back west to their nests.
Starlets, Shug Knight, and Justin Beiber. I live in L.A., and Death Row Records was three doors away from my house. Before that, TriStar Pictures did their casting from that building. Justin Beiber and his chrome Fisker just used my street for a shortcut from Wilshire to Olympic.
kdjames,Bonus room. Never heard of one before. I like the name. Wonder if it's a common term or something your family created. You described it well and fast, so I could figure it out.We have a Skull room because we enclosed a screened in porch with the money I made off a series of videos called Cracking the Skull. I'm pretty sure the orthodontist nearby has a Frain wing on his house.
We once lived on Mexico Beach and had an alligator that liked to sun in the driveway behind my car. Monarch butterflies would migrate through there heading across the Gulf. Gorgeous sight but a little unnerving if you got caught in a cloud of them.We had a few key deer encounters coming from the Air Force base. There were no lights on that highway and the deer liked to stand on the highway. They were hard to see at night, especially in the fog. Back home there was a raccoon that used to tap on my window for treats. When I went away to college she stopped coming until I came home. She saw the light in my window and brought her babies over for a visit. They were so cute.
@CEDI love the parakeets in Hyde Park. I went to college in that neighborhood. They escaped during the 1892 World Fair, when the big park called the Midway was the Midway to the fair, and the sculptures at either end were made. During orientation upperclassmen would tell new students from various tropical areas about the parakeets, hoping to encourage them that they, too, would survive the winters. We had a great wildlife encounter a few weeks ago. I was canoeing the white mountains with my parents and kids, and we paddled across a long pond. As we approached the opposite side, we saw a large loon floating. We were downwind from it, and we paddled as slowly and silently as we could - even the 8 and 5 year olds. We got about ten feet away from it, and saw the stripes on it's wings and reddish cast to it's eye. Then it looked at us, called out it's eerie, three-note song, and dove away.
Gah...raccoons (a.k.a. furry packets of rabies). I much prefer the extended family of wild turkey hens and poults that wandered through our property the entire summer.
Deer and bunnies are frequent visitors here, but when I returned from a recent trip, there was a garter snake on my kitchen counter. I have no idea how it got in. I shrieked like a girl, threw a towel over it, and threw it out the door, still shrieking. Me, that is. Maybe the snake was shrieking too, in its tiny little snake voice.
When I was a teen I used to take my grandmother’s dogs out for hikes. Occasionally we’d run into a coyote. The dogs would chase the coyote with me hot on their heels.One afternoon we were walking down a mostly dry wash completely overgrown thanks to a couple of wet years. I busted through a stand of reeds and shrubs into a small clearing and came face to face with a coyote. We locked eyes for a second and then it bolted (apparently I had a reputation among the local pack.)I gave chase. The dogs caught on to the game and joined in, quickly overtaking me. I followed the sign of their passing using the ruckus they were making to keep me heading in the right direction.I broke out of the cover of the wash and spotted the dogs panting and happy at a gully that branched off from the main wash. The ‘yotes always manage to hide and when the dogs lose sight, they lose interest. Game over.I climbed out of the gully and spotted the ‘yote not 100 yards away, just standing there watching me. The dogs followed me up and the chase was on, this time through fields of tall grass. Again, I was left behind. Again, I caught up to the dogs milling about, having lost sight of the ‘yote.I looked around just to be sure it was really gone this time, but it wasn't. The game continued.We ran, I trailed, the dogs lost interest, I caught up, I found the 'yote, we ran. We worked our way in this fashion all the way to the Indian Reservation about a mile and a half from where we started. It waited beyond the barbed wire fence, but it was the end of the line for me. I don't trespass on the rez even with the invitation of a coyote.
John, no we didn't make up that name. :) I googled it to see whether I could find a good description and was surprised that it actually has a wikipedia entry:"A bonus room is a large room in a house which can be used as a multi-purpose area. A bonus room, unlike an American bedroom, does not usually contain a closet. A bonus room might be used as a family room, sewing or hobby room, game room, home cinema, office, or den."In my experience, it's usually on the second floor in the space over the attached garage. Ours has windows on three sides and contains a pool table, a couple couches, a TV and stereo and a desk. No closet. Oh and it has a built-in wet bar. It's a fun space.
@kdjamesWe had a bonus room over our garage in the house we recently moved from, though we never finished it. They're pretty much the norm around here for any two story over 1800 square feet.I did some digging and apparently, we have moved to a town than claims Thomas Lynch as one of its own. I did not know that. Never read him but I did go to a funeral at one of his funeral homes...
I was in high school and my dad found an adult crow bumbling around the side of the road. We took him to the veterinarian who said he had an internally injured wing and leg but otherwise seemed OK and we'd have to wait and see. He stayed in a box in our basement for a few days eating dog food (per Dr. instructions), then we began test runs outside. It took him a few more days but he started hopping around. Within a few weeks he was flying up to the gutters of our & our neighbors' houses. He was unafraid! We would walk out the front door and I would call, "Hey Buddy!" and he would always caw in response and fly down for a treat. I remember hoping he would stick around forever, but after a few weeks he flew away.
@kdjames, Interesting to know about the bonus room, but I already had my own story working based on your earlier tale. I envisioned you walking your dog with your father, kicking a rock in the street and wondering aloud why it looked like your house was so much bigger from the outside.Your father, like so many fathers, was usually too lost in thought but your comment caught his fancy. He noticed the same thing about the house. After lunch, the two of you started exploring, tapping on walls and soon found an entry to a bonus room you never knew existed. Oh, and the tales this room will tell...
We have a couple of wallabies that come in to the garden area daily in the very early morning. They just quietly graze on the lawn and the rose bushes. There's been an increase in wombat activity too, several new burrows have been dug, but we rarely see them, just their calling cards. Why do wombats love to take a dump on top of a rock or a log? There are sambar deer around which we occasionally see. Snakes of course, lizards, particularly blue-tongues.Always love seeing the yellow-tailed black cockatoos in feeding on the hakea, such a majestic bird. Gang gangs too are great, they come down from the mountain tops at the start of winter.Scariest visitor was a wedge-tailed eagle that landed by the chicken house, obviously looking for a free feed. Not sure who was more scared, me, the chooks or the eagle when it saw me running toward it. Fortunately it decided to hop it.
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