Posts Tagged ‘cottowood trees’

 “In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia.” — Charles A. Lindbergh.

My morning visitor -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

Midges and flies, but thankfully not blood-sucking mosquitoes, were an almost a constant human nuisance during my stay at Lake Walcott. A few even found their way into my RV, which was sad. While I’m very respectful of wildlife, even bugs and snakes, once a wild critter intrudes into my home, it usually ends up being a dead critter. A cute little field mouse discovered this when it nibbled on the tasty peanut butter I had spread on a mouse trap after I had spotted it scooting across my narrow floor.

 But bugs and mice are part of the circle of life. And if you’re a birder you have to appreciate them. These fast-breeding creatures make it possible for the existence of the slower breeding feathered flyers that amaze me. I saw this almost daily at Lake Walcott as the midges provided a tasty meal for a dawn and dusk parade of circling nighthawks flying overhead.

And while they didn’t make a personal appearance, I’m sure the great horned owls that hoo-hoo-hooed me awake each morning dined elegantly on some of the field mice I occasionally saw scampering through the sagebrush. During my

Common nighthawk -- Photo by Mark B. Bartosik

 earlier spring visit to the park, I had been honored to spot a great horned owl nest that had a couple of tiny heads poking above its jumbled wall of sticks. The park is full of huge, magnificent cottonwood trees that I knew from past sightings were favorite nesting spots of these silent flying night hunters.

 One morning I woke to find a four-legged critter poking around my campsite, one that has included human handouts as part of its menu plan. It was a raccoon, whose photo I took from my dining room table while drinking my morning coffee. While he didn’t get any tasty tidbits from me, I saw evidence of his dining habits in the wake of trashed tin garbage cans most mornings.

 When Maggie finally noticed our visitor, she barked excitedly. The raccoon appeared familiar with such nonsense. It merely stared for a moment at our RV, then slowly sauntered back into the brush behind the campground. I hoped he found something tasty out of the trash can I later picked up on my morning walk through of the campground.

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