The genuinely last post

Well, famous last words. Today has been a red letter day, and so I just had to do one more post.

Sunrise. Words are inadequate.

DSC00466

A walk in the field by the barn, and a large Garter Snake, Thamnopis sirtalis, about 18 inches long, slides through the grass.

DSC00516

I come back later, and quietly wait for a closer look:*

Common Garter Snake

Garter snakes are not poisonous, and they tolerate the cold well, giving birth to up to 85 (!) live young as late as early October.

Then, the epiphany. All summer long, all my beaver ponds have been beaver-free zones, I have been mourning their absence. Now, on my very last day, they return. This tree is freshly cut:

DSC00489

And as I get ready to post this I have just discovered that he has finished the job.:

DSC00662

Down on the brook are branches from which the beaver has stripped the bark to eat the cambium. So I am thrilled, but also sad, because they have selected two of my apple trees as their victims, which is not good.

When I go back to the house, lo and behold underneath my tree is the first raccoon I have ever seen in daylight.

DSC00540

With that highwayman’s mask:

DSC00587

When I got too close, he fled up the tree. He went right up to the top fork. If you look closely there is small blob in the fork, and that’s him (or her).:

DSC00609

He hunkered down:

DSC00608

He settled in for a while, so I went inside to do some packing, and on my return, he was back at ground level, foraging.

 

DSC00657

And then he headed off:

DSC00624

As do I.

* I was once taught that poisonous snakes had keeled scales, and nonpoisonous ones didn’t, but this garter snake is non-poisonous, yet has keeled scales.

PS Autumnwatch in both the UK, and the US, have been using footage from my house. first of fighting red squirrels, and then nocturnal footage of flying squirrels and raccoons, all photographed by Mark Yates.. If you are interested, you can see it on BBC2 in the UK (and on iPlayer), and PBS in the USA.

 

One thought on “The genuinely last post”

  1. We have enjoyed the day and night filming from your house! You must be chuffed! Ellen says you have less blather in the BBC2 version compared to the PBS. Good, it gets in the way of more scenery and critters.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s