Friday, May 23, 2008

A Walk on the Wild Side

An animal's eyes have the power
to speak a great language.
~ Martin Buber

Look who came to visit my yard today! It's Peter Cottontale, or perhaps his cousin. Whoever he is, he's darn cute, isn't he (or she)? It's a good thing all my flowers and veggies are in pots, though. I wouldn't think he was so cute if he ate my plants.

I'm a little crazy about seeing animals in the wild. I've posted before about my passion for birds, but it goes beyond that. I love seeing creatures in their natural habitat (or in my yard - whichever happens first!) We live on the edge of some undeveloped areas and will occasionally see a coyote wandering the streets at dusk. We hear them howling almost every night. Our cats are indoor cats, and our dog Jenna is bigger than any of them, so I don’t worry. It's kinda cool to know they're out there.

My ex used to tease that I have a Snow White complex -- that I'd love nothing more than to sit in the forest and sing, gathering all the wild animals to me. I hate to admit it, but I think he was right! Can you imagine all of them snuggling up to you, with their cute little faces, not frightened or defensive, but drawn by your singing and your gentle nature?

Ok, I'll stop that train of thought before you all think I'm totally crazy (or is it too late?)

I mentioned in my last post that I'd touched a whale. To be more specific, I've touched the inside of a whale's mouth, actually stroked her baleen. It didn’t happen in an aquarium: it was in San Ignacio Bay, in the Pacific Ocean. The photo above isn’t me (obviously) but this is what the experience was like. I was escorting a group of museum members from Utah on an educational whale-watching trip to Baja, California. We were in boats that were a third the size of the gray whales that inhabited the bay. But the amazing thing is that the whales came to us, seeking our stroking and petting. They were/are incredibly gentle, playfully pushing the boats and as curious about us as we were of them. It truly was a life-altering experience.

I wasn’t singing, but it was likely as close to my Snow White fantasy as I’ll ever come!

All our plans are in place for our trip to Alaska this September, and we've chosen the various activities based on our odds of seeing wildlife. Puffins are number one on my list: I've never seen one, in captivity or in the wild. I'd love to see a bear or two, as well. I've seen bears in Yellowstone and even a few along the roadside in the forests of Wisconsin. But in the wilds of Alaska - that would be an experience! I don’t think we're going far enough north to see caribou, so I'll settle for deer and perhaps elk. Throw in a moose or two or three, some bald eagles, a few wild salmon, and I'll be a happy camper.

Go ahead and make me jealous: what wild animals have you seen (zoos don’t count)? And while you’re at it, tell me this:

Were you singing? :-)

Until next time…


Scale Junkie said...

We get a lot of wild life around here, especially birds and sea life, dolphins, manatee, otters and of course ALLIGATORS AND SHARKS!!

Your Peter Rabbit might have been petunia!

Hanlie said...

Well of course I am in Africa and have been to many game parks, so I've seen impala, buffalo, giraffe, elephant, lion, leopard, rhino, hippo, crocodiles, warthog, hyena, etc.

That rabbit is so cute!

weelittleme said...

that whale experience looks like it was super cool.

Kathy said...

One of the things I love most about where I live now is being able to sit on the deck and see deer in the field behind us, blue herons on the little lake, birds of all kinds...I keep a birder's guide next to my knitting...and even coyotes on occasion. I envy you your Alaskan is something my husband has dreamed of for years. We just may make it sometime!

Nicole said...

I saw a raven yesterday. Which might not be a big deal in some areas, but they've only recently returned to Ohio after 100 years and none have been reported in my county yet.

However, I have seen ravens up close and personal at the Tower of London, so I know what they look like. This one was about five feet away from me, and it was enormous with a huge beak. Definitely not a crow.

I don't think anyone official would believe me, but I know what I saw. And it made me quite happy! :o)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for twisting my arm to go on the San Ignacio whale watch. It was life-altering.

The only wild animal I've seen lately is a stray black cat who insists on putting paw prints all over the hood of my car.

Needled Mom said...

Does our nightly visit by a raccoon count? I prefer to be on the non-wild side of animal. There have certainly been a lot of rabbits this year. Guess the rattlesnakes are going to be numerous as well. Perhaps it is because of all the rains - or maybe because we live in the "Conejo" valley. Hmmm! Our neighbors have a family of bobcats that like to sun in their backyard.

Your upcoming trip sounds wonderful. Two of our sons went up during a college summer to work and loved it. They saw plenty of wildlife so I am certain that you will too.

Midlife Mom said...

We have tons of wildlife here in the north woods of Maine. We see deer just about every day, occasionally moose, today I saw a bald eagle but by the time I got my camera focused on him he was too far away. Raccoons come every night for a snack and come right up to the door and peek in waiting for their treat. We have coyotes which I don't like, bobcats that catch our squirrels so I don't like them either! Wild turkeys in abundance, Canada geese, Maine black bear that sometimes come into the back yard and raid the bird feeders, bunnies, birds, woodchucks, hedgehogs, foxes, ducks, loons and many other things. Some people set up those night cameras in their back yard and get some interesting pictures. One year we had a mother raccoon that brought her babies each night and I set out a tub of water for them and they had the best time playing in it. Now where do you suppose I put those pictures???????

RunningNan said...

I want a penguin.

Thankfully, peter rabbit didn't come into my yard. He probably wouldn't have survived like the last one didn't. My little dog is a hunter. Drives me nuts, but I love her!

Becky said...

cute bunnie! We have lots of birds (due to the 3 bird feeders in the backyard) and I love to hear them chirping in the mornings. Speaking of wildlife, we were camping over the weekend and I saw several deer and even a cougar (briefly)! And of course, there is that wild pack of Yorkies terrorizing the yard... LOL