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A Glimpse of Nature
Guess what! More rain is forecast for this weekend.
If you are tempted to stay indoors on gray, gloomy days, I urge you to reconsider. I often feel this way until I actually get outside. On one recent Sunday, I donned my rain gear in low spirits, anticipating a dull outing. Then, as usual, I found beauty, interest, and even some excitement.
Finding beauty was easy.
The Ames Free Library’s top nocturnal visitors – deer, rabbit, and fox – are common suburban animals, which might lead one to assume that this particular combination of mammals prevails throughout Southeastern Massachusetts. Not necessarily. Let’s look at my backyard for comparison.
Besides deer, who else visits the library after dark? Of course, people and pet dogs use the grounds, but our focus is on wildlife. Unfortunately, my trail cam has detected only a few wild species in this area. Based on image captures, the second most common nocturnal mammal is the cottontail rabbit. This species appears in fourteen video clips representing six visits. In some of these clips, the image shows little more than a hopping ball with closely spaced eyes. Here’s one where the rabbit’s identity is unmistakable.
On June 29 I installed the trail cam behind Queset Garden and hoped for the best. My first set of photos included this image which encouraged me to continue. Can you identify this animal? Send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org. Next time, we’ll see a video clip of this creature and “The Rest of the Crew.”
No doubt about it! White-tailed deer dominate the library’s nightlife. They are the largest mammalian visitors to the library campus and, based on my trail cam’s videos, the most frequent. Indeed, deer appeared in 92% of all nighttime animal videos captured by my camera.
Who visits the library campus after dark? Submit your thoughts on the most frequent mammalian visitors to email@example.com. Then, check back next Friday to see what my new trail cam recorded!
Last week, several readers correctly pinpointed California as the home of my giant pinecone. “Terrific!,” I thought, “These folks traveled to the northern Sierras where they saw the same wonderful trees I did: sugar pines.” But, no. At least two readers who visited southern California remembered king-sized cones. Their emails introduced me to the Coulter pine. That’s right. Two different California pines create impressive cones. Let’s compare them.
The Sugar Pine
The library welcomes everyone; well, almost everyone. Last week, I escorted a young visitor to the door . . . and a little beyond. This individual was certainly charming and, for all I know, well-mannered, but the relationship just wasn’t “a good fit.” I hope it will settle down in the nearby brush and woods.