Sunday, May 20, 2007

Wild, Wild Life

So, a bunch of animal stories:

- Last night I was working in the lower floor and heard what sounded like a large mouse thundering through the space above my head, between the floors. Due to the way the house is constructed (a tri-level with an additional fourth level added), sometimes wild things get into that space. I resigned myself to searching for obvious entrances and mayhaps investing in a trap.

- However, when I got up this morning, there was a dead mouse at the doorway to my office, presented by Harley and Vicky, who probably pummeled it to death (lacking front claws). The Iron Cats get full marks for presentation and plating, though I refused to judge them on taste.

- Yesterday went down to the Des Moines beach for very low tides, which meant a beach walk with the Sierra Club. Many of the usual suspects were unearthed (rock crabs and dungeoness, moon snails, sea stars and sea cucumbers), but saw some chitens and nudibranchs as well. Also a visit to the new fish ladder up the stream.

- In addition, I got back to the Black River a few weeks back to check on the herons, first mentioned in the journal way back here.
It was after the peak of the season, and the trees were starting to come it, but while there are still nests present, the colony is not as large as it was previous years. This may be due to the bone-headed development Renton allowed to be installed right next door, or it may be due to a pair of bald eagles setting up shop at the far end of the lake. That's the problem with nature - never gives you the easy answer.

- And speaking of eagles, we have one up on Panther Lake as well now. Neighbor across the street has a nest in his fir trees. On one hand I'm pleased to see the noble birds make a comeback from the 70s, when there was a risk of losing them entirely in the lower 48. On the other hand, they are getting to be almost a bit TOO common up here. Look for news reports on missing pets in the near future.

- And you've heard about the bee hive crash, likely - honeybees leaving home and not coming back, with potentially dire consequences. The thing that actually worries me is a sudden lack of ducklings and goslings at my place of work. Last year this time we were hip-deep in them, such that warning signs were posted at the buildings. This year, a definite reduction in population. I guess we could blame this on bald eagles as well, but it seems a little .... sinister.

More later,

UPDATE: Add to the other stories the sudden appearance of a barred owl outside our office. Like right outside, perched in one of the fir trees, eating a baby bunny. Barred owls are mostly nocturnal but can be found active during the day, particularly if they are feeding fledgelings.