Friday, May 26, 2017

Close encounters of the wild kind #phenology

I don't think this is the same Blanding's turtle I photographed in July two years ago, although it might be. This morning it was crossing the same road in about the same place and it seems to have a leech in about the same location near the rear of its shell (; >). Since this is the second time this week I've helped a turtle cross the road, it's clearly turtle time on our roadways. Please slow down and watch for them. You might also avoid running over a duckling or gosling or fawn while you're at it. You'll feel better if you avoid them and worse if you run one over.

Blanding's turtle crossing road
Blanding's turtle crossing road
Photo by J. Harrington

Today was our first fawn sighting of the year. It scampered down and then across the road in front of me and followed mom into the trees on the other side. Fortunately, I was still going slow because of the turtle encounter a minute or two before that. Lots of youngsters on the roads this Memorial Day weekend. Please give 'em a break.

whitetail fawn, mid-June 2015
whitetail fawn, mid-June 2015
Photo by J. Harrington


Developing the Land


By Stephen Behrendt


For six nights now the cries have sounded in the pasture:
coyote voices fluting across the greening rise to the east
where the deer have almost ceased to pass
now that the developers have carved up yet another section,
filled another space with spars and studs, concrete, runoff.

Five years ago you saw two spotted fawns rise
for the first time from brome where brick mailboxes will stand;
only three years past came great horned owls
who raised two squeaking, downy owlets
that perished in the traffic, skimming too low across the road
behind some swift, more fortunate cottontail.

It was on an August afternoon that you drove in,
curling down our long gravel drive past pasture and creek,
that you saw, flickering at the edge of your sight,
three mounted Indians, motionless in the paused breeze,
who vanished when you turned your head.

We have felt the presence on this land of others,
of some who paused here, some who passed, who have left
in the thick clay shards and splinters of themselves that we dig up,
turn up with spade and tine when we garden or bury our animals;
their voices whisper on moonless nights in the back pasture hollow
where the horses snort and nicker, wary with alarm.


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