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A Good Week Outdoors

I haven’t seen a muskrat since Spring – I thought that the low water last Winter had wiped them out.  But the other evening, I watched one lone muskrat swimming across the pond.  Each year young adult muskrats take off overland looking for an open niche, and it looks like at least one has moved in.

The ducks are all migratory now – panicking at our approach.  We did have a pair of geese visiting – at least one must have been a gosling from last year – I could walk around without them showing any reaction.  A horde of crows showed up, harvesting grasshoppers.  Meanwhile the turkeys have been working the field, and I was able to watch them move the younger ones into the trees as a bald eagle would fly over the flock at perhaps 5 feet above ground level hoping for an easy meal..  It reminded me of Alexander Ross’ story – p.106 of The Fur Hunters of The Far West –  “On reaching a small open plain, we perceived at some little distance off two large birds in the act of fighting, much in the same way as our domestic fowl.  We made a halt, and I approached them till within gunshot unperceived and kept watching their motions for some time, at last I showed myself when one of the birds tried to fly off; but was scarcely able to keep itself up and soon lighted again.  I still approached when the bird tried to get up again; but in the act of rising I fired and brought it to the ground; the other never stirred from its place.  In taking up the bird I had shot, it proved to be a white-headed eagle.  I then went to the other, and found it was a wild turkey cock, or what we call a Columbia grouse.  A bold and noble bird,  The grouse was almost blind.  During the combat the eagle had almost torn out its eyes, yet it disdained to yield and might have ultimately come off the conqueror for the eagle was very much exhausted and nearly blind of an eye.  The fight had been long and well contested, for the grass all round the spot for some twenty yards was beaten to the ground and their feathers strewed about by their fierce and bloody struggles.  The grouse weighed 11 ¼ lbs., the eagle only 8 ¾ lbs.  We carried both birds along with us.”  Ross probably gave me the best measured comparison between a small adult bald eagle and a wild turkey gobbler that I’m going to get.

The final sight was a bear cub intimidated by the 2 Pomeranians – I was picking up wood that I had left the year before, so the pickup was there but no chainsaw running.  I had the 2 little dogs in the cab, and they erupted with Pomeranian threats – frightening a small black bear.  I don’t believe that I’m so antiquated that I need two Poms to protect me from a small bear cub, but they were definitely proud of their accomplishment. 

It is Autumn, green again, and things are moving.

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