Monday, April 4, 2011

New Neighbors

Sunday afternoon warmed up into the fifties and Kelly, who was just getting back from walking the dog, poked her head in the door. "Hey, do you hear that?"

I turned down the tv. "Hear what?"

"Listen, it sounds like wild turkeys fighting or something."

Getting up and stepping out back, I did hear it. It sounded like, well, two turkeys fighting each other. Strange, loud warbling and cackling.

Hmm. Wild turkeys mating or fighting = good pictures, I shrewdly gauged. In less than a minute camera was in hand. Checking battery level and settings while hustling by Kelly, baby and doggy; daddy plunged into the woods a' huntin'.

Pacing along the still-wet leaf clutter gently pushing aside prickly branches and side-stepping potentially snapping fallen twigs, all effort was made to advance as silently as possible. Course was adjusted with the occasional renewed warbling, which was now becoming more and more intermittent. At last, the sounds stopped altogether. I continued on more or less towards the last heard chatter.

The house was long out of sight now, I wasn't completely sure where I was and no more sounds had been heard for several minutes. A new direction was about to be taken when through the brush there was a gigantic old tree. It was easily the tallest around and it's upper half was leaning, almost precariously. And at it's base was an equally gigantic, dark opening.

The old tree trunk looked hollowed out. The opening was big enough to shelter a human, or two if needed. Or a few turkeys.

...or any other animal, for that matter.

Stepping forward even more cautiously, carefully placing feet upon mossy stones and fallen logs, stopping and proceeding, edging closer.

Then to the right of the tree there was a sudden movement. Something large and furry rustled off, taking it's time, into the brush. It didn't look scared, it was simply moving off.

I froze. My first thought was that it was fairly big. Big enough to be a bear cub.

My second thought: where's it's mommy.

Looking around in every direction, I started to backpeddle, ready to crash back through the woods if need be; gripping the camera strap and ready to swing it like a mace, if need be. Hoping Kelly had enough detergent to clean my shorts later, if need be.

Then, one last glance back at the tree before swinging around revealed a member of my potential adversary; peeking out from around the back, a cold fury in it's eyes.

A sigh of relief doesn't cover it.

A minute later the apparent matriarch also emerged and very, very slowly scaled up the tree-side for a better look at their visitor.

Not too knowledgeable in the ways of the raccoon; whether they were the mysterious warblers I don't know. But by the groggy way they seemed to be moving about, I suspect they were just waking up from hibernation. I backed off and left them to their business.

Heading back, it occurred that we'd better make sure the trash cans are secured; there'll be a reciprocating visit from them in the coming months, no doubt.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wait until you hear a "Fisher Cat"! Yes, they are in B.T.