Memorable Encounters

Blessings arrive in many different (animal) forms. Only in the last two months have the following furry and feathery friends made little expected but much appreciated cameos.

Squirrel encounters might be quotidian, but capturing not one, but two, in an impossibly cute posture is not. I gaze at their portrait each time I need to smile, which is even easier now, because my husband surprised me with a framed version for Christmas.

Geschenke kommen in verschiedenen (Tier)Formen. In den letzten zwei Monaten haben die folgenden in Pelz oder Federn gekleideten Freunde unerwartete aber überaus willkommene Auftritte gehabt.

Begegnungen mit Eichhörnchen sind alltäglich, aber nicht nur eins, sondern zwei in einer unwahrscheinlich niedlichen Pose festzuhalten, ist alles andere. Immer wenn ich das Bedürfnis nach einem Lächeln habe, schaue ich mir ihr Porträt an, was jetzt sogar noch leichter ist, da mein Mann mich mit einer eingerahmten Version zu Weihnachten überrascht hat.

Bobcats are typically nocturnal and shy. When I reached a nearby trailhead shortly after sunrise, I noticed movement from the corner of my eye, and beheld this beauty only about 10 yards away from me. A deer carcass proved an irresistible source of a bedtime snack, but had I not disturbed its meal, a mob of hungry magpies would have chased it off. After several minutes of surveying the scene, the feline vanished, seemingly into thin air.

Rotluchse sind normalerweise nachtaktiv und scheu. Als ich kurz nach Sonnenaufgang an einem Wanderweg ankam, nahm ich aus dem Augenwinkel eine Bewegung wahr, und entdeckte nur 10 Meter von mir entfernt diese Schönheit. Ein Rehkadaver stellte ein unwiderstehliches Betthupferl da, aber auch wenn ich sein Mahl nicht unterbrochen hätte, hätten ihn eine Bande Elstern vertrieben. Nach einigen Minuten der Bestandsaufnahme war er verschwunden, so als hätte er sich in Luft ausgelöst.

No other wild relatives of (wo)man’s favorite pet are more divisive than coyotes (with the possible exception of wolves). Countless people love, but, incomprehensibly, many detest—if not hate—them. I will never relate to the imagined if not invented infractions these intelligent canines have been accused of. Seeing this animal that usually also roams under cover of darkness is always appreciated, especially if the individual is as curious and calm as this one. It didn’t seem at all fazed by my admiring looks and comments.

An keinen andereren wilden Verwandten der beliebtesten Haustiere scheiden sich die Geister so wie bei Kojoten, mit der möglichen Ausnahme von Wölfen. Unzählige Menschen lieben sie, aber unverständlicherweise werden sie von vielen anderen verabscheut, wenn nicht sogar gehaßt. Ich werde die eingebildeten wenn nicht erfundenen Verstöße, derer sie angeklagt werden, nie nachvollziehen können. Ein weiteres Tier, das normalerweise im Schutze der Dunkelheit unterwegs ist zu Gesicht zu bekommen, ist immer hochgeschätzt, besonders wenn es so neugierig und gelassen ist wie dieses Exemplar, dem meine bewundernden Blicke und Kommentare nichts auszumachen schienen.

Last but not least, I have to end with an avian rendez-vous. American Bitterns had not been recorded in El Paso County for a number of years. They are habitually found in secluded, swampy areas, where their slender stature and outstretched necks make them pretend-reeds. While this individual chose to halt at a local reservoir during fall migration, the body of water was not characterized by solitude, but by many dog and human walkers, as well as fisherpeople. Despite the distinctly unmarshy habitat and daytime commotion, to the great delight of local bird lovers, the bittern lingered for nearly a week, before continuing on its enigmatic journey.

Zu guter Letzt muß ich mit einem Vogel Rendezvous enden. Sichtungen nordamerikanischer Rohrdommeln (Botaurus lentiginosus, im Vergleich zur europäischen Art, Botaurus stellaris) hatte es hier in der Gegend seit einigen Jahren nicht gegeben. Normalerweise sind sie in abgelegenen, sumpfigen Gebieten zu finden, wo sie mit schlanker Linie und ausgestrecktem Hals vorgeben, Schilfrohr zu sein. Auch wenn dieses Individuum an einem nahegelegenen Reservoir während der Herbstwanderung Rast machte, gab es an dem Gewässer keine Abgeschiedenheit. Stattdessen sondern viele Menschen und Hunde, sowie Angler. Trotz ausgesprochen nichtmarschiger Umgebung und unruhiger Tagesstunden, blieb die Dommel, sehr zur Freude der hiesigen Vogelliebhaber, fast eine Woche lang, bevor sie ihre unergründliche Reise fortsetzte.

It is no exaggeration when I say that moments like these make my day, my year, my life. But: they also serve as urgent reminders that we need to do everything humanly possible to ensure that our fellow creatures will continue to have a home on this earth.

Ich übertreibe nicht wenn ich behaupte, daß Momente wie diese Höhepunkte meines Tages, meines Jahres, meines Lebens darstellen. Aber: Sie dienen auch der dringenden Mahnung, daß wir alles Menschenmögliche tun müssen, um sicherzustellen, daß unsere Mitgeschöpfe weiterhin eine Heimat auf Erden haben.

80 thoughts on “Memorable Encounters

  1. Sehr, sehr schön, Dein Beitrag. In meiner Gegend gibt es im NSG am Tibaum auch eine Rohrdommel. Sie kommt selten aus dem Schilf, da sie Superscheu ist. Ein Kollege hat sie schon fotografiert. Ich hatte das Glück noch nicht.
    LG Jürgen

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ich danke Dir herzlich, liebe Jürgen. Einmal habe ich eine Rohrdommel in Deutschland in einen NSG gesehen, konnte sie damals aber nicht fotografieren. Ich wünsche Dir, daß Dir das Glück vielleicht im kommenden Jahr hold sein wird.
      Liebe Grüße zum Jahresende,
      Tanja

      Like

    • Thank you, Liz. It appears that way, but I think they told one another that I was suspicious, as they disappeared very shortly after I took the photo. It was literally one of those, “right place, right time” moments. I was very grateful!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Tanja. Thank you for a great story. I was intrigued by it and the beautiful Lynx that you saw.
    That’s why I came across a story about a lynx in a Danish newspaper.
    ‘A nine-year-old lynx has travelled no less than 2,000 kilometres: from a San Juan Mountains reserve in southwestern Colorado to the Banff area north of the Canadian border. The lynx was captured in 2003 as a young male and transported to a large-scale breeding program in Colorado aimed at moving lynx back to their native breeding area in the United States. It lived here for at least six years before being found this winter in Banff National Park in Alberta.’ Jyllandsposten.dk

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kind words and for sharing this story, Hanna. It’s easy to confuse lynx and bobcats, but the former are very rare, and I have seen them very rarely, and never captured them with my camera. One of these days, maybe.
      I hope the lynx from your story will do well.
      Best wishes,
      Tanja

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Our neighborhood park is known to have coyotes, but they’re reclusive and I’ve never seen one. Some of the people who live here who let their cats and dogs run loose (in spite of a city ordinance against that) hate the coyotes, for obvious reasons, but one solution would be to keep their off-leash pets indoors.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope you will lay eyes on a coyote one of these days, Steve.

      I get frustrated with irresponsible pet owners, especially when their animals hunt wildlife. I have yet to meet a cat person who will not be incensed when I tell them that their darlings contribute to the decline of the wild bird population. It faces enough challenges as it is.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Das kann ich nur zu gut verstehen, diese Momente wären auch die Höhepunkte meines Tages und des Jahres! Ich würde sie bestimmt nie vergessen, auch wenn ich kein Foto davon machen könnte.
    Das sind Begegnungen, die die meisten Menschen nie erleben werden. Leider kann ich auch deinen Kommentar zu den Kojoten und Wölfen gut verstehen. Die meisten Menschen werden nie welche in der Natur sehen, haben aber radikale Meinungen und Lösungen dafür, diese Tiere für immer loszuwerden.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ich danke Dir für Deinen Kommentar, lieber Michael. Was ich so traurig finde ist, daß viele Menschen gar keine Ahnung haben, was sie alles vermissen, weil sie entweder kein Interesse oder keine Möglichkeiten haben, Natur pur zu erleben. Aber ohne zu wissen, was da so alles existiert, hat man oder frau wahrscheinlich auch keine Motivation, diese Welt und ihre Kreaturen zu erhalten.
      Ich wünsche uns beiden, daß wir auch im kommenden Jahr solch wunderbaren Momente erleben können.
      Herzliche Grüße zum Jahresende,
      Tanja

      Like

  5. Over the years I’ve been amused to watch the balance of nature work itself out here vis-a-vis our coyotes and cats. When I first moved here, there were herds of feral cats in the neighborhood. Eventually, they began to disappear. Then, one night, I went out very late and met a coyote loping down our parking lot. Sure enough — more cats disappeared. One day, there were no more feral cats, and then the coyotes disappeared. Funny how that works!

    I adore squirrels, and that photo you posted of your pair is adorable. I have three that tussel in the trees outside my new place; I’m pretty sure they’re siblings. I finally managed a photo of one. I have some of the bunch playing, but it was gloomy and dark, and the photos aren’t worth posting. I’ll just keep them as mementos until I get some better ones.

    I’ll say this — having squirrels for neighbors beats having squirrely neighbors!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Linda. I’m glad you enjoyed the squirrels, and second your statement about neighbors. 🙂

      We can observe similar natural cycles in the neighborhood. Our bunny population has undergone noticeable ups and downs, with resultant waxing and waning of predators. Our fox population has been conspicuously absent in recent years, and the bunnies are ruling the roost as a consequence.
      I’m sure you will capture a squirrel photo to your liking. The background of mine wasn’t ideal either, and it was an overcast day. A blue sky would have been a better backdrop, but I’m not complaining.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s easy to understand that encounters like the ones you’ve captured in your lovely photos made your day! Is a bobcat the same as a lynx or are they two different animals?
    I do appreciate your “bilingual” writing. This time, when I didn’t know what an American Bittern was, I just checked your German paragraph out and realized that a Bittern is a “rördrom” in Swedish, rather similar to your Rohrdommel. I’ve have never been fortunate to actually see one myself, but I often hear its strange sound during springtime coming from somewhere within the reed vegetation along our nearby lake. Like someone is blowing across the top of a bottle. 🙂
    Alles Gute, Meggie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Meggie, it’s nice to hear from you.
      Yes, bobcats and lynx are separate species, though they are easy to confuse. Lynx are less common, tend to be larger, and their coats look a little different. We have only seen lynx along the highway while driving through Canada many years ago, but they were reintroduced to Colorado, so we hope to see some again on of these days.
      A Bittern’s vocalization is otherworldly! Unfortunately, they don’t breed where we live, so I have only heard them a few times.
      Happy new year to you!
      Tanja

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hello Tanja! Surely your squirrel twins pic could win a prize. After taking some time off from wordpress, I am starting up again, and your site was tops of my list to visit. I am never disappointed! Happy New Year.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow, what a wonderful post! It’s like about ten in one…so much to see. I love the squirrels and the bobcat and the bittern and feel like I was on the walk with you. Happy new year to you and yours, and I look forward to seeing what you share with us in 2020.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. That picture of the squirrels is priceless and kudos to your husband for having it framed for you. Opportunities like that don’t come along often and it is great that you were able to get that shot. We have coyotes around here and for that reason, even though Bentley is on a run and never loose, we always are out there with him keeping an eye out. We start each summer with a blossoming rabbit crop and as the year wears on their numbers first grow then decrease to just a few while the coyotes put on their winter fat. I am sure there are bobcats in the neighborhood also but haven’t seen any.
    Happy New Year, Tanja!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Donna. I know you can relate to the utter happiness that results from such wildlife encounters. The meeting with the bobcat was very special, because I see maybe once in a year, if I’m lucky. This was doubly lucky, because it posed for several minutes.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Great captures! I spooked an American bittern out of some y’all grass at thanksgiving. I freaked us both out. Of course I didn’t have my camera. Left it in the car. Pretty awesome moment as I was only 10 ft from it.

    Liked by 1 person

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