Riding 29 year old Sandy in 1997

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Different critters

I was in the house when my neighbor called me on the phone.  Usually she calls to tell me something is amiss with one of my animals, or my dog has showed up in her yard.  This time she described a huge bird with long legs that had flown over her head and landed on the topmost peak of my two-story garage. 

I grabbed the cell phone (the camera wasn't handy at the moment) and peeked out the back door over to the garage.  Perched there on the roof, looking down at the world, was this huge bird -- not sure if it was a crane or a heron.  No idea why he was here.  The nearest water is nine miles away.  I've never seen one here before.  I'm told we might be on the migration path for cranes though.

My guest and I went to the valley for a concert that night.  On the way home about 10:30 I was driving through the dark desert with only my highbeams to light the way.  I saw a shape in the road ahead and went for the brakes. It was a raccoon, waddling across the road.  I was relieved that it managed to waddle just outside my path of travel -- I suspect my tires may have brushed its tail, but I was reluctant to swerve more than slightly at the speed I was going.

As we neared my neighborhood, I was explaining to Jackie that I hated driving a certain section of roadway because it was an elk crossing zone and there were a lot of elk strikes in that area.  I went on to mention, as I was turning onto my road, a friend of mine who had hit two elk, about a mile apart (and a year apart) on a certain section of road while driving to Winslow.  I told her that we had an elk herd that came through my neighborhood every night, and pointed out where they usually came in from the woods.

But as I neared my house I was explaining that in the nearly seven years I have lived here, I had never seen the herd actually on the road in front of my house, although there was plenty of sign that they had been there -- tracks and droppings.  I was in the process of describing elk droppings (they look like olives, mostly) and getting ready to turn into my own driveway when she said, "What are those?" and pointed.

Caught in the glow of my headlights, five full-grown cow elk were just walking out of my neighbor's yard.  They looked at me, then turned away from my headlights and trotted down the road ahead of me.

Okay, so make a liar out of me!

In six weeks, I will have been in this house for seven years.  And FINALLY I have seen elk in my neighborhood.

It was a "wild(life)" day.

Oh, and the concert was great too -- Celtic Thunder.  I highly recommend it.

And that's the latest from the Ranch.

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