While sitting on the deck one afternoon, I was fortunate to have the camera to hand. As I looked across to our back fence, I saw a raccoon walking along the top of the fence between the two houses behind us. He seemed totally uninterested in our presence and walked to our fence and then turned left to wander across the back our our house and our neighbors’ houses. I had a long lens on and he was too close for a while to fit him all in. Along the fence he went and then disappeared from view. First time I have seen a raccoon around here but probably not the last. What other wildlife will visit us?
Walking through the woods at Meerkerk Gardens, we came across a tree that had fallen across the trail. Sitting on the log was a squirrel. This squirrel was happily munching on its food. We weren’t going to continue down the trail so were not likely to get in the squirrel’s way but we figured our very arrival would spook it. We were wrong. While it was clearly aware we were there, it did not seem to see any need to interrupt lunch just because of us.
As a Brit living in the USA, there are certain animals that, when you see them, seem most unusual because you don’t have them on the other side of the pond. Some of these are large creatures which people who grew up here are still fascinated by like bison. Others, though, are not so interesting to the natives. Raccoons seem to fit that bill. They are more of a pest to most people. To me, they are more exotic. As we were walking through Golden Gate Park, we came upon a family of raccoons alongside the trail. They seemed totally uninterested in the people walking by and more bothered about feeding. However, the click of the shutter was obviously enough to get their attention as they all perked up and stopped what they were doing when I took some shots. This didn’t last long, though, and they were quickly back to eating.
Sometimes I find myself wondering what is happening in the minds of little creatures. I was out shooting when I looked to my left and saw some earth move. It was probably only a couple of meters away from where I was standing so I looked to see if it would happen again. Sure enough, some more earth came flying out of the ground. Shortly afterwards, a little head popped out. It looked at me for a moment and then went back underground. This repeated several times. I would move the camera in its direction and it would instantly dive underground. However, since I knew where to look, I just kept the camera pointed in that direction and, when it came up again, because I didn’t move, it didn’t seem bothered. I have no idea whether it didn’t see me without moving or whether it didn’t perceive me as a threat and so carried on.
Rats have a bad reputation. It’s not tricky to work out why people don’t like them but I think they are rather cool. It’s hardly their fault that stuff has been built on top of their homes and they have had to adapt. The fact we waste so much crap that they can feed on is our fault, not theirs. They are, of course, a creature that likes living near water. While sitting alongside the bay near San Francisco, we got a visit from a local rat. He was busy gathering material for a nest I assume. He (or she) popped up from amongst the rocks by the water and headed into the brush. A little while later, back he came. He grabbed some material and dragged it off where he needed it. We were not making a lot of noise so he didn’t seem in the least bit bothered by our presence.