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Source: (consider it) Thread: Where the Wild Things Are: Our Nature Notebook
LutheranChik
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I thought I would start a thread for those of us who enjoy birding, hiking or just enjoying whatever patches of nature we can enjoy where we’re at.

Dear Spouse and I had a close encounter — too close — with a herd of at least FIFTEEN white- tailed deer that ran across the busy highway that runs through our city. (Wooded lakeside area on one side of the street; city park on the other.) The first deer had to jump over a moving car to make it to the shoulder — it sailed over like one of Santa’s reindeer. Four lanes of traffic came to a quick halt as the rest of them ran across.

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MaryLouise
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That reminds me of the perils of travelling through the Kalahari in spring or after rain when herds of springbok or impala are pronking and leaping about. Impala can reach heights of three metres in a leap, and the buck do spring over moving vehicles, sometimes three or four leaping across at the same time. Warning signs up everywhere cautioning drivers to slow down.

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“As regards plots I find real life no help at all. Real life seems to have no plots.”

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Jonah the Whale

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# 1244

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One of my favourite birds is the kingfisher. Until three or four years ago I had seen the sum total of one kingfisher. They seem to be doing quite well now though. I've managed maybe around ten sightings in the last two or three years, including one last week. Really striking colours - it's certainly not a bird you can confuse with something else.
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Brenda Clough
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One of the smartest things I have ever done was to get one of those bird feeders that attach to your window with suction cups. My vision is limited, and this brings the feeder close enough for me to see the visitors. Mainly chickadees and titmice, but occasional finches and bluebirds.

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Nicolemr
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Wildlife sightings in New York City are rare, but I've seen a skunk, lots of raccoons, beautiful waterbirds, hawks, and falcons.

Once I saw a red tail hawk that had just bagged a pigeon sitting calmly on a Bronx sidewalk with it's lunch, just sitting and letting people get to about 10 feet away and take pictures. Finally it flew across the street to a tree with it's prey and ate it.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
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Thanks for starting this thread!

We're on the edge of what's called "parkland, which means mixed open prairie and patches of trees, with the boreal forest (means evergreens) starting about 60 miles north. We've a cabin 3½ hours away in the boreal forest. We never see lynx, and never in a group like this, but this January there's lynx! It's a mother leading kits, following along the shore. The wolves periodically get a deer (we hear them, seldom see the wolves), then the other carnivores clean up the kill. I've put a short film into a cloud and made the folder public. Just click on the video link in the folder which comes up, it may take a minute to load: Lynx at the lake.

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Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.
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Nicolemr
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NP, that's awesome!

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On pilgrimage in the endless realms of Cyberia, currently traveling by ship. Now with live journal!

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Graven Image
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Living in the country deer are a daily occurrence. I enjoy them now that we have been able to fence off the back area.

I had a sad sight this morning as I took our dog for her early morning walk. Dead blue jay in the front yard. I had trained a blue jay to come to our back porch when I ring a bell and gather up the peanuts I put on the railing. Alas no one came for nuts today, so I am sure it was my bird friend. I am feeling sad.

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Oscar the Grouch

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After 4 years here, I still get excited when a hummingbird comes to our feeder. And I'm never blase about watching the bald eagles in the area. When the weather's bad up in the hills, we sometimes get Varied Thrushes in the garden. They're really beautiful.

Perhaps the biggest pleasure though was going whale watching with friends last summer. We ended up on a small boat, surrounded by some 30 orca. Literally surrounded... You'd be looking in one direction and then hear a snort right behind you as another orca surfaced a few yards away.

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Faradiu, dundeibáwa weyu lárigi weyu

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Enoch
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Although the buildings are not of New York dimensions, I live in a very urban location. Countryside, though, starts fairly near. It's not that unusual to see Peregrines or Ravens here - particularly to hear the latter with their very distinctive croak.

Foxes are quite a common urban animal round here. I often see them. People less than a mile from here get Badgers in their garden. There are also Otters nearby. I've never seen them, but I have seen their footprints. Others have actually seen the animals themselves. I didn't see it, but someone else I know had a Muntjac visit their enclosed town garden - they aren't really supposed to be this far west at all.

Some creatures are very specific to location. Here, I've only seen Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps in winter. They are common summer visitors less than a mile away, but until about 30 years ago, weren't normally present in winter at all.

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Ian Climacus

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I often hear Australian magpies of a morning from bed. They may swoop you in spring if you get too close to the nest, but I adore their song.

Kangaroos are frequent visitors to our uni campus where I work. As are poisonous snakes - I'm yet to see one thankfully. We do have resident blue tongues too - often seen in people's backyards around Oz too.

Flying foxes fly overhead at nightfall. A sight to see so many in the sky at once.

Geography-wise, I'm lucky to have several mountains (our mountains aren't as high as yours...) nearby where I can walk/hike in the autumn and spring, or ski in the winter. Or just head up where it is 10C cooler than it is here - on 40C days that makes a difference.

We also have one of Australia's major rivers here. Plenty of bird wildlife around (love seeing ducklings in spring) -- and good fishing too apparently.

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Fredegund
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# 17952

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Did anyone else (UK) do the RSPB birdwatch over the weekend? I sat in the car with a coffee and a notebook in a desperate attempt to work out how many bluebirds there were on the feeders. We seem to have an extended family of 8 + who have set up a rota. 2 bullfinches, 2 collared doves who have worked out how to use the feeders, 2 robins ditto, and assorted lbjs (little brown jobs) which I need to attempt to identify - did some sketches as the bird book is in hiding from the cats. Great fun.
On the subject of larger animals - we have a visiting Muntjac family; Mum, Dad and latest fawn, who eat everything except rhubarb, foxes, badgers, and pheasants. We did have a peregrine which killed a pigeon in the garden and was scared witless when our feral cat jumped it.
For the record, we back onto a disused railway cum nature reserve.

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jedijudy

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# 333

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I live in a bedroom community, and over the almost thirty years I've lived in my home, wildlife has come and gone. Before the houses were built behind my house, a quail family used to wobble through my back yard. They were so cute!

I have a lot of year-round birds here: cardinals, blue jays, hawks, mockingbirds and a plethora of lbjs (love that term, Fredegund!) I have had a mated pair of sandhill cranes until the hurricane. I hope they're ok. [Frown]

One of my favorite visitor birds, however, was a scrub jay who decided he liked me and Daughter-Unit! D-U was just in elementary school at that time, so about eight years old, maybe. The jay sat on her head, and sat on my shoe as we walked to the bus stop. I thought maybe the little thing was hungry, so we offered a piece of D-U's sandwich to it, but the jay didn't want it. I think he just wanted to be with us and vocalize! Unfortunately, that was the only scrub jay I've seen around here. They typically like to be out in the prairies about thirty miles east of me.

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Twilight

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Wow NP's lynx!

Our suburban yard doesn't get much action beyond squirrels and stray cats, but my son and I looked up from our Scrabble game the other day to see a possum just outside the window poking her nose in the ground for grubs or something. We put an apple out in the snow for her the next day and reaped a wild flurry of paw and claw prints.

Such a weird ugly-beautiful animal. I love her now! I'm hoping she'll trot by with her babies all over her back this spring.

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ArachnidinElmet
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# 17346

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quote:
Originally posted by Fredegund:
Did anyone else (UK) do the RSPB birdwatch over the weekend?

Dagnamit, I forgot. [Roll Eyes]

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'If a pleasant, straight-forward life is not possible then one must try to wriggle through by subtle manoeuvres' - Kafka

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LutheranChik
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In the US, Cornell University has a program for birders where we count the birds at our feeders for so many days per month — they ask for quite a bit of data relating to geography, habitats in our neighborhoods and weather on count days. The university’s ornithology department collects all this information from citizen scientists, and over the years they’ve been able to track all kinds of interesting changes in the US bird population. Since we’re in an apartment at the moment I didn’t participate this year even though I have seed and suet feeders outside our unit...I’ve only seen chickadees and a downy woodpecker on them. The bird scene is much more lively across the street all my the river.

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Sparrow
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quote:
Originally posted by Fredegund:
Did anyone else (UK) do the RSPB birdwatch over the weekend? I sat in the car with a coffee and a notebook in a desperate attempt to work out how many bluebirds there were on the feeders. We seem to have an extended family of 8 + who have set up a rota. 2 bullfinches, 2 collared doves who have worked out how to use the feeders, 2 robins ditto, and assorted lbjs (little brown jobs) which I need to attempt to identify - did some sketches as the bird book is in hiding from the cats. Great fun.
On the subject of larger animals - we have a visiting Muntjac family; Mum, Dad and latest fawn, who eat everything except rhubarb, foxes, badgers, and pheasants. We did have a peregrine which killed a pigeon in the garden and was scared witless when our feral cat jumped it.
For the record, we back onto a disused railway cum nature reserve.

Bluebirds in the UK? Really?

[Confused]

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For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life,nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by Sparrow:
quote:
Originally posted by Fredegund:
Did anyone else (UK) do the RSPB birdwatch over the weekend? I sat in the car with a coffee and a notebook in a desperate attempt to work out how many bluebirds there were on the feeders. We seem to have an extended family of 8 + who have set up a rota. 2 bullfinches, 2 collared doves who have worked out how to use the feeders, 2 robins ditto, and assorted lbjs (little brown jobs) which I need to attempt to identify - did some sketches as the bird book is in hiding from the cats. Great fun.
On the subject of larger animals - we have a visiting Muntjac family; Mum, Dad and latest fawn, who eat everything except rhubarb, foxes, badgers, and pheasants. We did have a peregrine which killed a pigeon in the garden and was scared witless when our feral cat jumped it.
For the record, we back onto a disused railway cum nature reserve.

Bluebirds in the UK? Really?

Yes, I was wondering about that, but assumed the curse of the predictive text had boggled at Blue Tits.

I did it, but for various reasons, couldn't do it until yesterday afternoon. Also, I did it in a local park.

[ 30. January 2018, 07:59: Message edited by: Enoch ]

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Fredegund
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Sorry - that'll teach me to check. Blue Tits.
There

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Pax et bonum

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georgiaboy
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# 11294

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quote:
Originally posted by Sparrow:
quote:
Originally posted by Fredegund:
Did anyone else (UK) do the RSPB birdwatch over the weekend? I sat in the car with a coffee and a notebook in a desperate attempt to work out how many bluebirds there were on the feeders. We seem to have an extended family of 8 + who have set up a rota. 2 bullfinches, 2 collared doves who have worked out how to use the feeders, 2 robins ditto, and assorted lbjs (little brown jobs) which I need to attempt to identify - did some sketches as the bird book is in hiding from the cats. Great fun.
On the subject of larger animals - we have a visiting Muntjac family; Mum, Dad and latest fawn, who eat everything except rhubarb, foxes, badgers, and pheasants. We did have a peregrine which killed a pigeon in the garden and was scared witless when our feral cat jumped it.
For the record, we back onto a disused railway cum nature reserve.

Bluebirds in the UK? Really?

[Confused]

They are all over the white cliffs of Dover

(I'll get my coat.)

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Campbell Ritchie
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# 730

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quote:
Originally posted by Fredegund:
Did anyone else (UK) do the RSPB birdwatch . . .

My Missus did. She is convinced that sitting there with her cup of tea and sheet of paper makes them fly away. She got about eight. For the other 24×365−1 hours of the year, there always seem to be more than that.
And have you seen/heard wrens? They are supposed to be very common; ”ours” are small enough to fly around inside the hedge and hardly ever emerge. Careful not to be deafened by their singing; it seems you could hear them from miles away.

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LutheranChik
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Saw two mute swans flying overhead today. Mute swans are an introduced species here, often considered nuisances because they compete with native trumpeter swans, and also because they can be ill- tempered, even violent, during nesting season. Although I know at least one person with a waterfront cottage who derived a certain amount of pleasure watching the local pair of swans attacking jet- skiers.

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jedijudy

Organist of the Jedi Temple
# 333

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To wander away from birds for a bit, there are many other wild things about!

I used to be able to walk miles on the beaches and county parks here. I know one should not walk alone, but I am sometimes a bit foolish, and I love being in the woods by myself without the sound of other humans disturbing my (I'm so full of myself sometimes!) peace. However, once I walked up to a young bear. It was hard to tell who was more shocked, me or the bear! And I hoped to high heaven his mama wasn't around!

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Golden Key
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# 1468

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Birds, again--but I'll add a couple of other things, too.

San Francisco has wild parrots (Mark Bittner). Seriously! You might have heard of the film "The Wild Parrots Of Telegraph Hill", which is about them. A few captive birds got loose, years ago, and decided to be fruitful and multiply. You might also check out the Atlas Obscura listing for them. (Great site! All sorts of unusual and fascinating things and places.)

I haven't had a chance to see them for a long time, but they're still around.

We have some coyotes. Also raccoons. (I know some of them used to hang out near Fisherman's Wharf, where they could snatch bits of fish.) I think there are still deer in Angel Island State Park, in the bay.

SF Bay Wildlife may be of use.

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Sparrow
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They are now very common in my part of London too. (Parrots I mean, not coyotes")

[ 01. February 2018, 08:29: Message edited by: Sparrow ]

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For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life,nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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Campbell Ritchie
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quote:
Originally posted by Sparrow:
They are now very common . . . Parrots I mean, . . .

I think they escaped from a research establishment and Beckenham Place Park is now full of little green parrots. The Borough council website says they are ring-necked parakeets.
They also live wild at Kirkby Stephen in Westmorland; a chap who had several parrots as pets left some money in his will for their care for ever, and they fly around the town. About twenty of them, all different kinds. Somebody uses the money to pay for feeding the parrots.

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Nicolemr
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New York City has many colonies of Quaker Parrots. So very cheerful to see, little green parrots flying around!

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Enoch
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LutheranChik Mute Swans are the common native swan here. The other two species we get are winter only and come to specific areas. Most watercourses have Mute Swans on them. They are quiet but not exclusively silent. They hiss aggressively and the cygnets make a funny little noise. They make up for their quietness, though by having wings that make a very striking noise in flight. It's unmistakeable, even if you hear it at night when you can't see them.

There's an urban legend that if someone comes near their nest, they've been known to break the person's leg. I don't think it's ever happened, but it's useful for the swans that people should think that.

The other two sorts have silent wings, but make up for it by calling in the conventional way.

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Campbell Ritchie
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
. . . They make up for their quietness, though by having wings that make a very striking noise in flight. . . . urban legend that if someone comes near their nest, they've been known to break the person's leg. . . .

Except for one cob round here about twenty years ago, called Icarus because of his habit of flying into power cables. He was taken care of at a Environmental Display Centre about 1½ miles from here until he was savaged and killed by foxes. He had 1½ wings after the power cable incident, hence the name.
I always thought it was true that swans can break your arm. According to the
Beeb , however, that is in fact an urban myth.

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The greatest problem about Christianity is that it condemns you to eternity with me.

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Graven Image
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We awoke this morning to find raccoon paw prints on the outside of our sliding glass kitchen door. I find them sort of sweet so I may wait a day or two before washing them off. It appears the dog did not wake up to alert us of our night time visitor.
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MaryLouise
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The drought is bringing more wildlife into our suburbs in the Cape. This last week I have seen a small genet and a Cape Mongoose under the olive trees and indigenous bushes. Good to see them but I wish it wasn't due to drought.

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“As regards plots I find real life no help at all. Real life seems to have no plots.”

-- Ivy Compton-Burnett

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Cathscats
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We have a flock of mountain goats running wild on our local large-ish hill (it's a Corbet, if you know what that is). Yesterday they were on the road side of the hill and I saw that the next generation has been secured. They have at least one kid already (just as well they are hardy, it's a bit early)!

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Enoch
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# 14322

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Cathcats, about 20 years ago I was driving across a fairly empty part of south west Scotland, where there had been a sign warning motorists to be careful of free-ranging wild goats. I'd been thinking, 'well, I'll be very lucky to see one - perhaps a solitary goat far away on the horizon before it disappears into the distance'.

I came round a corner, where there was a lay-by with cars parked in it, and some children feeding wild goats though a fence. So however wild they were, the goats could clearly recognise a soft touch when they saw one.

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Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

Posts: 7610 | From: Bristol UK(was European Green Capital 2015, now Ljubljana) | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged
Cathscats
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# 17827

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Yes, ours are a bit more independent than that. They run at any approach, but we do see them because their hill has a so-called main road (more or less single track and rutted beyond belief, but an A road) which runs alongside. I once had a few of them run in front of me when on my morning jog: smelly - my word!!

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"...damp hands and theological doubts - the two always seem to go together..." (O. Douglas, "The Setons")

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Bene Gesserit
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# 14718

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We had a flock of long-tailed tits on the bush nearest our house yesterday - they don't normally come this lose to the house but it is Cold at the moment. There were also great tits, a robin, a wren and a few wood pigeons in the garden.

'Best ever' sighting was a weasel tazzing around on the patio a couple of years ago.

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Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus

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LutheranChik
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# 9826

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One of my personal bucket list animals is the sturgeon. I am fascinated by them. And their numbers are increasing in the Great Lakes, partly because they eat zebra mussels, a nasty introduced species wrecking havoc in our Great slaked ecosystem. There are places to find them spawning in northern Michigan — a sportsmen’s group actually organizes volunteers to guard these stretches of river during spawning season-/ but I understand that a really good place for sturgeon sightings is the Pictured Rocks Lakeshore in Michigan’s UZp... lucky people can sometimes see one of these giants cruising near the shore. I wasn’t that lucky when we visited, but maybe next time.

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Simul iustus et peccator
http://www.lutheranchiklworddiary.blogspot.com

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MaryLouise
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# 18697

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Looking for sturgeons reminded me that whenever I get down to the small harbour of Struisbaai near cape Agulhas, I look out for giant stingrays in the shallow waters near the pier and harbour walls. Generations of short-tail stingrays have stayed close to the fishing boats and are protected and loved by the fishing community as well as tourists.

Video showing stingrays in Struisbaai harbour

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“As regards plots I find real life no help at all. Real life seems to have no plots.”

-- Ivy Compton-Burnett

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wild haggis
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# 15555

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In London, where we used to live, in Richmond Park, you have hers of deer. Chiswick/Hammersmith was supposed to be the first place to have the green parakeets in the '30s. They say someone released their pets. We had urban foxes which used to make a real mess of the rubbish sacks and the cry of the female in heat at night was very eerie. One evening I stepped out the back door and almost onto a poor wee hedgehog.

Here is Cardiff, I put up bird feeders in the garden with nuts, seed, water and bacon rind. We have had coal tits, blue tits, great tits, blackbirds, thrush, robins, magpies, 2 fat wood pigeons and loads of very bossy, quarrelsome sparrows.

Then......................
the day before yesterday I thought I saw 2 large guinea pigs or coypu at the end of the garden (we have a very small one). They weren't! They were huge rats.

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wild haggis

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Gill H

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# 68

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Yes, I am near there and sometimes see the green parakeets.

There was a story of them being descended from escapee parrots from the filmimg of ‘The African Quuen’.

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*sigh* We can’t all be Alan Cresswell.

- Lyda Rose

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Higgs Bosun
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# 16582

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Walking in Richmond Park with Mrs Bosun last Saturday, the parakeets were really noisy. We hope that they are not taking food from other species. We also had a couple of them in the garden the other day. They were flummoxed by the bird-feeder, however.

We have had a problem with one of the bird feeders in that a squirrel had worked out how to get to it. There is a fat pigeon who hangs about underneath to catch what falls from it.

A week or so ago, a goldfinch turned up, then another, in all seven were at the birdfeeder. Then they left, and have not been seen again.

Two robins seem to be getting on quite well, and overcoming their territorial instincts. We guess they might pair up.

I saw a fox on the roof of the shed at the bottom of the garden, then saw it was looking at two others. They all disappeared through the fence to the railway line beyond.

Then there is the fat rat which scuttles across the patio as bold as brass.

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cattyish

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# 7829

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We live here in rural Scotland. I regularly see swans, heron, buzzards, ducks, foxes, red squirrels, deer, loadsa rabbits, blackbirds, tits and geese. I sometimes see badgers, otters (once two of them hunting duck as I walked by the river) and probably osprey (I am a little uncertain whether they are buzzards). Once as I was walking the dog and learning my Gilbert and Sullivan part I had a little duet with a stag who was obviously thinking of me as a rival. He did some lovely strutting and barking; he'd have got a part in Patience if I'd held the auditions.

I have been to New York city once and Mr C and I did spot the local animals; rats on the tracks in the underground.

Cattyish, off to buy chicken soup and balm tissues like the good wife I am.

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...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Nicolemr
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# 28

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Ah yes, the rats in the New York subways. I have to admit I enjoy seeing them as long as they stay on the tracks. It's the city, you take your wildlife sightings where you can get them. It's those occasions when they get on the platforms where they aren't supposed to be that I don't like!

BTW I forgot to mention, I have also seen opossums and of course squirrels and chipmunks in the city.

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On pilgrimage in the endless realms of Cyberia, currently traveling by ship. Now with live journal!

Posts: 11803 | From: New York City "The City Carries On" | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
LutheranChik
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# 9826

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Yesterday we were treated to the sight of a snowy owl sitting on a roadside power pole. Snowy owls are an Arctic species that occasionally visit the Upper Midwest in the wintertime. They are very tame, living far away from humans most of the year.
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Sandemaniac
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# 12829

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I realised this morning that there is a worn path parallel to our garden fence. I assumed it was foxes making it as there was a veritable vulpine shagathon in our front garden a few weeks ago, until I discovered the two piles of sheep-like droppings - it's obviously the local roe deer.

AG

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"It becomes soon pleasantly apparent that change-ringing is by no means merely an excuse for beer" Charles Dickens gets it wrong, 1869

Posts: 3574 | From: The wardrobe of my soul | Registered: Jul 2007  |  IP: Logged
no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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Day of skiing today (nordic/XC on the trail system in the provincial park, we're back out at our cabin for the long weekend). About -20°C (-3°F) in bright sun, lovely day. Deer and moose tracks through the trees. We could see where a plow wind came through in the early fall on a little used trail, lots of hundred year old white spruce knocked down. The dog was very interested around them. Seems that voles (look like mice are very happy under the snow around and under the deadfall). We saw some wolf tracks but they appeared to be at least a day old. Is always a little uncertain with the wolves, they are quite intimidating, when there's deer and moose tracks freshly made.
Posts: 11498 | From: Treaty 6 territory in the nonexistant Province of Buffalo, Canada ↄ⃝' | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged
Nicolemr
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# 28

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Was up in Westchester County (North of New York City) and saw what I think might have been two bald eagles! They were huge, whatever they were, and it looked like one had a white head!

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On pilgrimage in the endless realms of Cyberia, currently traveling by ship. Now with live journal!

Posts: 11803 | From: New York City "The City Carries On" | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sandemaniac
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# 12829

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quote:
Originally posted by Higgs Bosun:
We have had a problem with one of the bird feeders in that a squirrel had worked out how to get to it.

If you want to dissuade the squirrel, add some chili powder to the feeder. Birds lack the receptor to capsiacin, so chili has no effect on them. Squirrels on the other hand...

Do be aware, though, that you might find lagered-up squirrels coming round late on a Friday night for a late-night vindaloo.

AG

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"It becomes soon pleasantly apparent that change-ringing is by no means merely an excuse for beer" Charles Dickens gets it wrong, 1869

Posts: 3574 | From: The wardrobe of my soul | Registered: Jul 2007  |  IP: Logged


 
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