Sunday, May 19, 2019

creature feature

I share the trails with all sorts of friends. Some two legged, some four. And some with no legs or many! Hiking or riding I always keep an eye out for my friends, though my pictures aren't the best with only my cell phone, I still thought you'd like to meet some of them.

I'll start with the smallest! Ladybugs love Major. I'm sure he ingests some of them while munching on grass, but they're little red/orange bodies just look too cute.

It has been a bumper crop of caterpillars this year. They drop from the trees, crawl along your saddle, or even onto the book I'm reading at lunch.

Not quite a pipevine caterpillar, I'm not sure on this one!

tussock moth caterpillar attacking ships (on the cover of my sci-fi book!)

With caterpillars come butterflies. And those that eat them. I found this crab spider who captured a pipevine swallowtail, creepy but cool!

Another hunter: a sharp-tailed snake. He looks large, but is about the size of a pencil. He was fierce though: when I picked him up he wrapped around my finger and didn't want to let go!

This dragon blue-bellied lizard has disdain for us all. But he is so lovely (and too fast to catch!).

Out at the lake there are lots of birds, (though I didn't see any bald eagles this year). A lone black vulture perched a distance away on a pile of branches, I just liked the quiet.

And I saved the cutest for last. A coyote pup clambered onto the trail in front of us. He was looking in the distance (maybe looking where Mom had gone.) He looked back and saw Major coming, and skedaddled back into the bushes (probably where he had been told to stay!). Love this little guy.

I'll keep an eye out for all my friends. Does anyone else see any wildlife on the trails?


  1. Hey, I've been thinking about your post all week. What do I see here? OK we had swans last week, ugh, and the only roadkill you'll ever see here are tiny frogs, and rarely.

    But just the other day I thought I saw a coyote, cuz, well, I'm American and I expect a doggy like thing to be a coyote. It was of course a fox. I've only seen two live foxes in my 10 years here. Gorgeous! It was limping on a forepaw, poor thing.

    Now we have bird wars again. The magpies are in conflict with the crows. When the crows are here, we have raucous chaos, it's just awful, I call them the crow "conferences" at 8 AM. But now we have magpies and they chatter a bit and chase away the crows. So, welcome magpies!

    Yet another, a grey-headed small crow variety has been making my job of poop cleanup difficult - they scatter it over a meter, each pile, trying to reach bugs, I suppose. Ugh.

    We don't have horseflies yet, but craneflies, which are my most-feared insect of all. The other day two of them were breeding tail to tail on our porch and I freaked out and asked J to kill them. He succeeded in getting one of them, and then to tease me, he called me the next day to come kill a simple ant in our house. Ha, ha.

    I'm trying to learn the songs of each of the bird species and I'm doing quite well for a foreigner, but I'm annoyed whenever I ask a local, "What bird is that!?" and they have no idea. WTH. How can you go out on your horse and ride in nature, and not give a rip about the nature you ride through?

    And then yesterday happened. We were driving to a geocache and I smelled the distinctive smell of death, from the car. I told J it's in the car, to pop the hood. I found a fuzzy little guy dead, oddly curled up on its back ?????

    I could not tell what it was, a squirrel? With mouse feet? A rat, with squirrel hair? J said, "Hamster" It was huge, as long as my hand.

    Getting it home, I took it out and looked online and found it to be a simply Wuehlmaus, which can grow to 26 cm long! Holy crap. I had no idea. Related to the hamster and the muskrat!

    I threw it across the street but then our cat brought it back to us, so all day it's been cooking under a bucket in our driveway. Not sure what to do next, cuz it's nasty. You know the smell.

    1. Eww, the dead think in the car…just bury the poor thing! We do have foxes too, but I have rarely seen one, you're lucky to have! I'd love the bird chorus, I love crows and ravens with their squawking!

      And you have to work on the cranefly fear. Especially I never kill anything OUTSIDE my house! A cranefly does not eat (or bite) for the 10-15 days they live, so give them a chance!