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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Wildlife

       I My most recent walk was Saturday  morning.  A heavy fog left everything wet again. I put on my old tennis shoes, knowing they would be drenched and headed to the woods.  Today's post is all about fauna.  I'll later take you to see the flora from this morning's walk. It started with this somewhat wild chipmunk who stood very still as I approached it,  holding out until the very last second hope that I couldn't see it if it didn't move a muscle. It blinked as my camera led me forward until the chipmunk could longer take it . . .
. . . it quivered a bit.  I gave it the relief it sought by turning my head slightly so that it felt safe enough to dart through the front door of its burrow.
Smiling I walked on, pushing the stray blackberry brier away with  my walking stick.  This is an area next to the New Woods where the land is gradually becoming reclaimed after being roughly timbered then mostly cleared and replanted.  As is typical Common mullein is one of the early plants (other mullein post HERE) In this part of West Virginia we typically see Great or Common mullein (Verascum thapsus) growing along the road in spots where nothing els will grow or where the cover has been mowed or weed-eated down to bare ground. (Yes, the much more efficient "weed-eated" seems to be the most accepted past and past perfect form around here, not "weed-eaten" or "weed-ate.")
But this post is about fauna, not flora so here is what we saw:
An tiny caterpillar starting its day confidently walking the downy edge of a Mullein leaf, still damp with a heavy morning dew. What the caterpillar was will become is as unknown to me as knowing what I will become. Perhaps it will be one of these, below.
Wouldn't it be nice if we could google ourselves and see the stages of our life, including what we will become.  It would have to include the correct steps we would have to take to reach each stage because, unlike a moth or butterfly, we don't usually act according to plan.  Our freedom to choose sometimes keeps us from flying.
This next bit of life confused me.  I hope some of you know the answer to flora or fauna.  
At first I thought it was a bit of seed floating by, then a small spider.
It seemed to float freely on the faintest breeze. If you are a photographer then you know how much fun it was trying to catch a floating object about the size of grain of rice. 
I even tried to catch one and hold it in my hand but it blew off quickly and with my zoom lens on the camera, I was too close. On closer inspection It looked like it may have been a piece of lichen, that life form somewhere between flora and fauna or perhaps some other fungus that blew off out of the tree tops.  I had been seeing them along my path for about a half hour of exploring. It was a curled up thing.  Each one caught looked almost the same as the previous one which makes me think that it is some tiny animal that travels on the late summer breeze.  
My eyes failed me in their ability to see the tiny being clearly but one left me with a message of love - according to the eye of my imagination.
Don't close this window yet, though.  There were some larger animals for us to see.
I found these bowls dug out of the dirt.
 What do you think made them?
There is a clue at the edge of one of the bowls . . .
 and a bigger clue by another.
 Looks like a turkey feather to me.
Even a bigger clue was this fellow.
Watching me as I solved the mystery was a plump red squirrel.
Then for all you readers that don't get to see many groundhogs, I had to add this young one living along the edge of the hay field.
Like that chipmunk at the top of this post, the groundhog stood its ground until I looked away, allowing it to crouch down
Then dive into its hole
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6 comments:

Sandra said...

if i lived close to these wooded areas with all this wildlife, my hubby would be reporting me MIA because I would never come home. love each and every one of these, even that tiny tiny seed. you are so right, we humans are in control of how we change unlike the moths and butterflies that have it all set for them. lovely post

TexWisGirl said...

what great sights along your walk. i loved the part about googling ourselves to figure out the phases we were in in our lives and what we need to do to get to the next point. so true.

bonifer said...

Great series, Nellie, love the ground hog especially, I have been trying to 'catch' a pic of one at the camp, but so far no go!! You had a successful walk I would say!!

Out on the prairie said...

What a fun exploration.I laughed at the chipmunk, they drive my little dog crazy.

黄清华 Wong Ching Wah said...

That was fun !

Linda said...

Nice post! Love the chipmunk!