Friday, August 29, 2014

Wildlife Encounters

What a busy time we have had with family get togethers and lots of driving! It's been a blast, but we are glad to be home again. On our way back home from one of the trips, we stopped in Williams Lake for two nights to do some mountain biking. One evening, this family of three deer showed up outside our window. What a treat it was to see them!

 Later I headed down to Scout Island Nature Centre with the kids and we took in the sites. It poured rain off and on and we got to see some rainbows.
 And a heron! But not a lot of wildlife hangs around when you have two little ones with you!
 So I headed out on my own the next night, right around dusk. Right away I encountered some deer eating along the side of the road.
 And then I saw the muskrats! I have only seen a muskrat once before, so I was very excited to witness them here. I watched as this guy chewed off some reeds and swam away with them, returning to do it all over again. Muskrats eat reeds, but they also use them to build lodges, similar to a beaver lodge, only smaller. They don't use sticks or mud in the construction of them either. Geese and other birds will often nest on top of these lodges, as they make a nice platform in the water.
 I perched myself on the edge of this little bay, across from the large beaver lodge. I was hoping to spy a beaver, but I think I only saw muskrats (Well, I might have seen one small beaver or large muskrat. Hard to say).
 As I was standing there, this little deer came out from a nearby island to drink some water. It later returned with its mother and they both swam across to the mainland. (It's neat that so much nature thrives here, right in the middle of this industrial city.)
 This muskrat was swimming over to an old beaver lodge that was slowly returning to the lake. Muskrats will often live in old beaver lodges, and even in lodges currently occupied by beavers! It was thought that muskrats were just freeloading squatters, but they now have evidence that muskrats actually help out by keeping the lodge in good order by mudding the walls and I have even heard of muskrats paying rent by bringing food to the beavers.
 This little muskrat kept me company as I sat in solitude. He just floated there, munching pond weed and he seemed unconcerned about my presence.
 A little turtle surfaced right under me. I was surprised to see him. Where we live, a few hours more north, there are no turtles and the only reptiles are garter snakes.
 It was getting pretty dark by now and my muskrat buddy (he looks like a floating log in the last picture) eventually deserted me, making me aware of the isolation of where I was. Regretfully, I returned to my car and headed back. I could lose myself for hours when I have a chance to observe animals in nature. It is thrilling for sure. And dusk is a very exciting time to do it, as a whole new world awakens, one that we rarely get a chance to see.
Have you had any encounters with wildlife recently?


  1. What a lovely experience. You know, I can't think of any wildlife experiences for me lately - I think our bears are further into the woods since there are so many wild berries right now. Lately all I've seen are crows and squirrels and street cats and squirrels and that's about it. I haven't even see the frog that was living in my front yard at the beginning of August. Oh did I mention squirrels (yes I said it multiple times because there are so dang many of them).

    You must be tired of me saying this, but I do love your posts and your photos!

    1. Haha, squirrels! We only have red squirrels here- they are very small and pretty wild. I only see them in the forest. I hope your frog comes back!


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