Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What goes bump in the night.....




Dusk on the job













Slugssss, as slimy as they may be....are quite adorable close up-
Before they are squished from riding along on your tire.


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Tiny elk butts everywhere.  
In the middle of the night. In the middle of the road.  
They seem to choose the past of least resistance and, just as a cartoon character would, travel down the clear path in front of the moving vehicle rather than veer off to the side into the relative safety of the forest.



Pacific Tree Frog


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 For those of you daring enough -
Leave a comment and guess the following night sounds...
Owl-y prizes (we're serious) and respect awarded for 
correct answers and/or creativity
Name that owl  #1... 

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Name that Owl #2


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Name that Owl #3


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The "Rainy City" minus the rainy


Three guesses where we went last week.....view from our hotel window



Griffey Jr. backwards cap night at Mariners Stadium.....



Mt. Rainer in the backround of
a ferry ride to Bainbridge Island on a hot but unfortunately smoggy day





 On the drive home
 This was a mandatory pull the car over and jump out
- Astoria Oregon Bridge/ Youngs Bay
 

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To conclude the weekend we ran into this guy on the beach.....
A Pacific Mole Crab!  
Known more commonly as sand crabs, this species lives all along the Pacific Coast and are masters at doing everything backwards.  Their eyestalks as well as two sets of antennae reach above the sand when buried for both breathing and feeding.


Thursday, July 01, 2010

Flabbergasted



Calling night stations for owls can often seem monotonous and you find yourself trying to make every little noise in the forest into something much cooler than it actually is.  Although you do hear and see the occasional black bear, porcupine, raccoon, and of course elk and deer. However, on that rare, or should we say endangered, occasion.... a faint 4-note of a Spotted Owl filters through the canopy. This is it, you tell yourself. This is a moment to be savored. All of your senses become heightened and alert. Now it is time to track the sound of that owl and try to get a visual on it...that is, if your smiling eyes would open up large enough to see anything clearly....



Luck is on your side...or maybe it is skill. The undergrowth is no match for you tonight; after all, you are on a mission. Moments later, you find yourself standing underneath a ball-of-fluff predator who musters enough strength for his tail feathers to twitch with each call.


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Unfortunately you have to say goodbye for now to your new acquaintance.... there is more work to be done tonight. You know you will be back tomorrow, mice in hand... so you hike back to your truck, high on nature.



Day two.... a return trip to find the Spotted Owl, this time in daylight. You have brought along 2 co-workers and 8 mice. The terrain is steep and you cross your fingers hoping the sleepy owl will awaken and show himself off somewhere close-by.



Flabbergasted.
Once again, the owl responds to your calls and is found relatively quick and easily.



Now it is time to mouse.
(
Click to see a past post about how and why we mouse, etc.)



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A stick is gathered and you place the unsuspecting mouse upon it 
and make squeaky mouse imitating sounds.
The Spotted Owl leaves his perch and you catch a glimpse of its outer toe swiveling from the front to face the rear and grasp it's cylindrical prey....... an easy meal.




For the next hour and a half you follow the owl from perch to perch while juggling mice on sticks, mosquitoes, and cameras.  You're there to see what he does with those mice.


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What an exquisite creature.... You could sit for hours and hours just watching.  
Even if the owl decided to close its' eyes and sit motionless.


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Nonetheless, there is more work to be done and the evening is coming to a close.  A once in a lifetime experience?  Certainly hope not.  You spend the rest of the night calling stations nearby wishing, for the Spotted Owl's sake, not to hear a Barred owl too close by.


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