"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Toad, Salamander--Black Bear! Oh, My!

Interesting critter sightings by day and night.

On Monday I was in my garden from noontime till mid-afternoon. I accidentally disturbed the napping spot of this American Toad. He's my "back garden" toad...I've got a "front garden" toad as well. I've no idea whether it's the exact same toad I've encountered for lo, these many years (nearly 16 years, in fact), or a descendent of the original toad.

Last night I put the girls out as usual before bedtime. Ruth came quickly back in but Jewel was nowhere to be found. I had to go out with a flashlight to find her...she was under the stair, staring down this Spotted Salamander.

I took Jewel by the collar and led her up to the porch, then went back down to examine the amphibian. It was the largest I'd ever see, about 6 or 7 inches long. A very, very cute face. He didn't mind me a bit, started to move--and was soon making his way quickly out of the dog's "manger" area, plowing through the hay at a pretty good clip for a critter with such short legs.

My animal adventures resumed at about 3 a.m. Heard a sound like thunder...the dogs stirred, made a few anxious noises, but soon returned to their beds. (Lazy girls!) The thudding on the deck told me exactly what was going on.

A black bear had climbed onto the deck to grab one of the feeders. It was the suet feeder--he stole it from the hanger and took it into the yard to destroy it and get at the suet. Being a shy fellow, he ambled off when I started taking flash photos.

He was very large, extremely handsome, and when he marched into the undergrowth he sounded like a tank pushing through the shrubbery.

I promptly removed the safflower and niger thistle feeders and brought them indoors. This morning I put them--and another suet feeder--back outside.

We haven't had a bear visitation for a couple of years. In future I will be diligent about bringing in feeders at night.

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