With the Bobcat and the tractor both roaring away a few yards away, this porcupine was sound asleep in a tree.
When I crashed around the base of her tree, she barely lifted her eyelids. I imagine she's a teenager, probably lazing her way through yet another sunny day to the despair of her folks.
As we were closing up Base Camp later in the summer, Jeff spotted something at the other end of the field. Instead of reaching for the field glasses, we just hustled off to investigate.
It was a windy day, which meant a lot of leaves rustling and a strong breeze carrying our scent away from the slow-moving blob on the horizon.
Of course it turned out to be a porcupine. Who else in our animal kingdom is going to be ambling along in broad daylight in the middle of an open field? Only a few predators –– at their hungriest and most desperate –– will take this rodent.
No, they DON'T shoot their quills when threatened. And though I did really really want to pet his furry little snout, I kept my hands to myself.
To celebrate both the turn of the season and my own return to full ambulatory powers –– she walks![Let us pause for a moment while the saga of the putrid toe remains untold.]
Phew. Even when a thing is remarkably astonishing and revolting, it does not always need to be told in full.
Now, back to the celebration...
A beautiful day at the start of the new year, my husband and I taking a walk before breakfast in the park that recently opened its gates. It's not a "park" park, but a buffer zone for wildlife, separating coastal mangrove wetlands from the recently sprouted Homes from the $200's. There's a signboard, dirt parking, and a sandy path in the watery space between the Homes's PVC privacy fence and the big wide open.
When it's warm, the mosquitoes and gnats will pretty nearly carry a human away. Even when it's cool, bugs lurk in the lee. A cool and breezy day, like this celebratory first hike of 2016, is ideal.
Among the birds we spot right away are white pelicans all goofy and lovely, plus egrets, wood-storks, white ibis, a grumpy blue heron, a Cooper's hawk, a tough-looking shrike, an osprey, and more. Like this bald eagle, which was scrunched down in the nest, just at the end of my telephoto's range
And though there's a long list of wild Florida wildlife we didn't see, we did find evidence of what happens in these parts while we aren't looking.
After about three-quarters of a mile, the path ends and we are both ready for breakfast, so we retrace out steps, the rich, muddy-smelling air buffeting us as we go.
And the silly white pelicans –– so skittish they must have been mistaken for ducks by some hunter in 2015 –– spook again and flap noisily past.
*That quote would continue something like "...a miniature sled and eight tiny reindeer," as I am not quite over the hump of Christmas. And it's not an exact quote, but my inner pedant will have her way from time to time.
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