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August 11, 2010

Elusive Critter Report

The indefatigable BillT is at it again:

I was walking back from locking up the classroom late yesterday and, when I turned the corner, I came nose-to-kneecap with something coming around the corner from the opposite direction.

A golden jackal.

Remember I said that desert foxes and jackals don't hang around waiting to have their pictures taken? He did a *clackity-clackity-claws-scrabbling-on-terrazo-running-in-place* about face and lit out like he'd just bumped into Michael Moore with a bottle of ketchup in his hand. By the time I got into my office, grabbed the camera, set it to outdoors, cranked it to 10x mag, turned it right-side-up and looked through the viewfinder, he was a quarter-mile away, and moving *fast*.

The blog princess feels his pain. Over the last week, she has "just missed" more incredible critter pictures than she can shake a digital camera at.

First there was the sacked out squirrel.

Our house is built on a 45 degree hill. That means that when you look out the French doors on either side of the stone fireplace in our living room, you're looking directly into the branches of about a hundred trees in our back yard. Lately it has been hitting 100 degrees here in western Maryland, and the other day as I walked past the French doors I espied a squirrel lounging around on a branch right outside the window.

He was really comical - his little body was stretched out along the branch with his paws were hanging down limply on either side for balance. He looked like a piece of overcooked pasta. I called The Unit over to see him and then went to find the camera. By the time I returned, parted the wood blinds to get a better view, desperately tried to find the Tree Rodent in the viewfinder and zoomed in for a closer look, he was happily scarfing berries and the shot was gone.

The princess had another close encounter with a small painted turtle over the weekend. Turtles not being known for their lightning fast reflexes, it is (perhaps) a comment on her picture taking skills that by the time she went inside, found the camera, etc. said turtle had halfway buried himself in the mulch.

We won't even discuss the fat young woodchuck she missed yesterday right outside her kitchen door but she did manage to get two perfectly useless shots of the flower bed and the retaining wall.

We have got to get a more cooperative brand of critter out here. Either that, or a faster photographer.

Still no sign of the ribbon snake, by the way. Though we did espy a recently shed snake skin in the stone wall. I miss seeing his little darting tongue tasting the air while I'm pulling weeds.

Update: BUSTED!!! Not nearly as funny as the original snap I missed, but perhaps good for a smile:


This is the branch he was completely stretched out on the other day:


Can't believe I missed that shot. A more cooperative critter:


Posted by Cassandra at August 11, 2010 08:36 AM

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Thanks, Cass, but the snake was sleepy or I'd never have got it. And the rest of the post was classic "the one that got away". :)

Posted by: Retriever at August 11, 2010 09:26 AM

The other day, I was sitting on the front porch with the Princess. It was late afternoon, and she spied a lone doe. Princess Kitty hissed, "Mom, look. A deer!" She was alert and shy. She came out of the woods on the left of the house, to the neighbors and started grazing.

Needless to say, the Princess and I froze. We blinked, breathed and swallowed. Quietly.

The doe grazed the neighbor's flowers, then saw the Measle. Crazy cat was in full crouch, getting ready to pounce. Oh, did I long to get my camera and cursed myself for not having in On My Person.

She sort of stopped and looked at the cat, then walked over to him. He backpedaled. She then went to the garden, but saw another cat and chased it. Too funny and we couldn't laugh.

She grazed a bit more, and then left.

Posted by: Cricket at August 11, 2010 02:50 PM

She must have been hungry, Cricket.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 11, 2010 02:57 PM

Heh. Ya think?

Posted by: Cricket at August 11, 2010 03:30 PM

So, I guess you won't be linking when I do the post on scorpions, huh?

Posted by: BillT at August 11, 2010 05:06 PM

"Can't believe I missed that shot."

Invite me and my shotgun over sometime. I won't miss the shot... ;-)

Posted by: camojack at August 12, 2010 03:43 AM

What if I do one on scorpion *kittens*?

Posted by: BillT at August 12, 2010 07:36 AM