Today in nature I saw

Oh, wow, I just saw the woodchuck AGAIN! There was a big rustle-y commotion in the far corner of the backyard, and sure enough, (s)he came down from yet a different tree, then waddled across the yard to where I now know a den is located.

Short tail, wide “flaps” along the sides. Definitely a ground hog.

I saw a monster black snake in the middle of the road earlier today. I hope he gets across safely.

We just had a doe amble across our front yard with her tiny baby fawn - can’t have been more than a couple days old. SO. CUTE.

Today in nature, I saw a two foot Black Mamba amongst my zucchinis, which gave me a minor heart attack.

Not just today, but for the last couple of weeks, band-tailed pigeons have graced our wee plot of land, to add to our usual menagerie of valley quail (3 breeding pairs at least on the place, expect to see puffballs soon!), mourning doves, Stellar’s jays, and many LGBs. Been on our place almost 14 years, first time I’ve seen bandies, counted 23 in the flock a few days ago.

On Wednesday evening in nature I got belted on the back of the neck by a cockchafer.

We were over to eat (and drink) with some friends, it was a warm evening so we were outside after dark; but it was cool enough that (thankfully!) I had pulled up the hood of my hoodie. Maybugs are big - an inch long, and they pack more wallop than you expect from an insect when they hit you. I was sufficiently drunk that I just exclaimed What in the hell was that? - grabbed it off my neck with a hand and dropped it on the ground. I only got truly surprised when I saw the size of it as it crawled off.

I’ve seen maybugs before but never that close.


One of our cats was staring out the french doors, all tensed up like she was scared and couldn’t pick between fight or flight. Of course I went and looked, there was a hawk sitting on the crossbars of one of our stools. I was too stunned to even remember that I had a camera in my pocket, but it was very cool.

The clover patch got mowed today and is covered with little brown birds eating the baby grasshoppers. Between attracting birds and NOLO, I’ve almost got the grasshopper problem solved in our yard.

A cardinal built a nest about two feet from the upstairs bathroom window. I got to see breakfast time from close up. This morning I looked and the family is gone.

Today I saw a squirrel in a trap. That I set. Because he was a little butthead who was digging in my herb containers and stealing my strawberries and blueberries. He had the temerity to growl at me. I’ll spare you what I said in response. He was removed to a forest about 10 miles away. Good riddance.

Today I saw a couple of deer.

While sitting in the catio, Mrs. L.A. and I heard some crows harassing a heron.

Perhaps the neighborhood stank. :wink:

Two houses away there’s a duck pond where the property owner feeds the ducks (mallards). There have to be at least 40 ducks that live there and raise their families until fall. On our property, there is a very small stream in the woods that flows from that pond. At this time of year and the rest of the summer, it’s only about 6" wide and a couple of inches deep. For the past week, we have had a husband and wife duck couple hanging out in our yard. They waddle around under the bushes and eat the birdseed that has fallen to the ground. This morning they were camped out under the birdfeeder, sleeping. The male snapped at a chipmunk who was trying to get some breakfast. Sometimes they sit out there among bunnies, a black squirrel, a gray squirrel, and a red squirrel. I wonder why they’ve decided our yard is prime duck country. There isn’t much water close by, so I hope they don’t have a nest somewhere in our yard. I’d hate to see them try to herd a bunch of babies down the sidewalk of a busy road to get back to the pond. (I’ll be stressed out if they do.)

Ugh. Idly chatting with my neighbor, and he casually mentioned pouring several gallons of gasoline into the woodchuck den entrance.

I’ve not seen it since that conversation. I hope it simply moved on to a friendlier area.

In happier news, I’m currently being soundly scolded by a cardinal and his ladyfriend, which I hope means they have a nest nearby.

Me too! Poor thing.

I have an idea. Next time your neighbor is napping in his recliner, pour a couple of gallons of gasoline into his den. Fair’s fair.

I would, but he’s the newly-retired old guy with a snow blower AND plow attachment for his truck, who was kind - or bored - enough to keep my driveway and entrance walk pristine this last winter.
I’m new to this whole “Michigan winter” nonsense, so I do feel like I owe him. A lot.

He also mowed my lawn, gratis, last week (probably sick of looking at the weeds) after I paid some neighbor kid to do a shitty job of it.

… otherwise, I would definitely express some dismay at what I consider to be wanton murder of innocent life.

(But I can’t, so I vented here instead. Thx for the sympathy.)

Yeah. I’d let that slide too. Glad you have a nicely Midwestern neighbor to gradually introduce you to the joys of Midwest weather chores.

Hope you soon see your woodchuck with a line of wee little ‘chucks waddling after her.

For the first time this year I saw trout in the stream by my allotment/community garden - there must have been four or five of them. Poking around on wikipedia seems to suggest they might be heading upstream to spawn; but it looked to me like they were hanging around and feeding. In fact, now they’re here I’m sure I see them hanging around the same stretch of stream for months (at least, that’s my memory of past years). Any trout experts in the house?

It’s an odd thing to get your head around - we’re a few dozen miles from the sea (as the trout swims); and depending which tributary you choose, we’re at most 3 miles from the highest viable spawning point (I would guess). It kinda makes sense.


Send him a link to the Chunk Channel, and he can be appalled that some folks actually feed groundhogs and their offspring.

In a heartwarming example of the everyday altruism in nature, a group of tiny black ants notice a larger red ant in a state of inebriation and endevor to guide her home to sleep it off. No doubt at this very moment she is secure back in her nest, nursing a hangover and re-evaluating her lifestyle choices. (Video at 4x)