It always concerns me when animals start behaving in ways they don't normally because animals know what is up and it makes me wonder what they know that I don't. Lately it seems like every weekend is filled with some strange animal encounter.
Two weekends ago I was standing in the kitchen drinking coffee when a coyote ran through my yard....while both cats were outside. The cats were unharmed (because I RAN outside like a maniac) but coyotes aren't normally *that* close to my house and especially not during daylight hours.
Last weekend I was sitting on the loveseat drinking coffee (huh...I'm starting to notice a trend here) when I see one of the cats climb a tree outside. He does that all the time so I chuckled. Shortly after a gigantic white and tan bird lands in the same tree. I grabbed my glasses and ran outside yelling "what do you think you're doing? Get away from my cat!" turns out it was a barn owl and it looked stupidly at me a moment before moving one tree over. Oh thanks, that's much better. I'm not certain the owl even knew the cat was in the tree because quite honestly that cat is like a ninja and half the time I'm almost stepping on him before I see him.
I kept an eye on the owl, called the cat and ushered both (who came when I called) into the house where I promptly ran for my camera because hey - predatory animals may frighten me for the lives of my pets but I still love animals and I still love taking photos. I had to follow the owl after I spooked it twice more out of the tree cluster but it landed alongside my driveway and I was able to sneak around the house and take its photo from under the car park - which you see part of in the photo unfortunately. And oh YES that owl still knew I was there. Good hearing those owls.
You know I don't recall having EVER seen a barn owl here. Great-horned owls? All the time. Never a barn owl. And it's appearance in later morning was strange but at least explained the large white feather with faintly tan markings I found in my lawn a few days before. I just didn't feel it had come from one of the hawks and hey I was right. I also want to add that this owl, despite being largely white, blended really well into the trees when it was holding still.
Later that afternoon we found a dead weasel. A weasel! You know when I've seen a weasel? Never in my life. I didn't even know they were around here! I pondered that perhaps one of our predatory birds dropped it...?
Now to yesterday. Certain times of day will guarantee that I am outside taking photos. Nevermind that it is mid-October, frequently raining and a biting wind, I'm out there in shorts and flannel and boots snapping way because nature is amazing and I'm always trying to find a way to show everyone else the beauty I see.
The cats are with me because they are my shadows and apparently I'm not to be left unsupervised. I know both the cats are to my right so what do I see waddling along the fenceline to my left...? I stare. No. Way. I stare some more as it keeps right on trucking. What. In. The. World. ? !
This very purpose-driven skunk was not far away from me but thankfully uninterested. I don't know if you've ever watched a skunk traverse a large patch of ground but it was frankly hilarious the way it waddled. Granted they have such short little legs so I can see why. And I kinda know what that's like being rather short-legged myself. I think skunks are adorable but um...rabies...also...smell. So I'm not sure if I've now got a family of these things living in the bramble patch it went for or what. I did wonder why I kept smelling skunky smells when I was out in my herb garden / raspberry patch area and now I see it was simply because I was down wind.
When was the last time I saw a skunk in a field? Probably when I was in 4th grade.
So. What is happening around here that animals I've never seen or animals I haven't seen in ages are suddenly everywhere all the time? It makes me wonder.