Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

July 27, 2011

A very good reason to be wary of letting your cat outdoors

Unfortunately, this past Sunday morning had Angie and I being reminded of one of the horrible reasons why to be wary of allowing a cat to roam free on it's own outdoors. Never mind the fear of running into traffic or that a larger animal of some sort might harm your kitty. This reason sickens me so... the fact that another human may do some very horrible things to your beloved pet.

That is what we found. I will skip much of the gory details but let's just say this cat had been bound, tortured and quite possibly drowned in the end or disposed of in the water after the person killed it.

The morning was going so well before this! The humidity had broken and we enjoyed two coffees sitting on the back deck calling it a perfect summer morning. Before going to get groceries we decided to visit Smythe Park for a quick check at the ponds in hopes of Angie seeing the Great Blue Heron that I'd seen a number of times in recent weeks. And we did see him! And he was maybe 20 to 30 feet from us. A great viewing of this magnificent creature!

But, on our way in we noticed a dead animal off the side of the road, at the edge of the first pond. On our way out is when we stopped to investigate fearing it was one of the resident Beavers and discovered the horror that lay beneath this pillow case. We agreed this was no way for a cat to left out for the world to see... and there is a public pool in the park which would be opening soon and a child might stumble upon this as well. Angie disposed of the cat in one of our cloth grocery bags and placed in the garbage can nearby. What more could we do?

Well, after getting groceries and dropping Ang off at home, I went up to 12 Division and reported the find to an officer. I wasn't sure how much action would be taken with this seeing as little of a report was taken down other than a scribble on some paper of the park name and where the cat was. That was on Sunday, today is Wednesday and the story has made the local news. It's on the OSPCA website now as well. I called their 800 number this morning and corrected a few details that are showing in the various newspapers and on-line links. I am not sure if this is critical information or not but it does change the story a bit.

See, the cat was left out in the open. A pillow case was over part of the body at the edge of the pond. There were a couple garbage bags as well. The black cloth bag was ours and it was us (well Angie) who put it in the garbage can. The people handling this investigation also have our home number and my name.

So a part of me feels better that this is not going un-noticed. But I still feel awful about what we found. I can't imagine the terror that poor cat went through. Some people think cats are just dumb animals, but it lives, breathes, feels and bleeds like a person... all animals do.

It's going to take me some time to push this to the back of my mind. I enjoy that park very much. It's not a groomed park like another favorite place of mine being James Gardens which leads into Lambton Woods. And I think with the un-manicured grounds, it attracts more wildlife. There are a lot more insects in that park and this brings in a lot more birds.

I visited the park yesterday, saw the Heron again, but my drive in and out of the park had me scoping the grounds on both sides for any more animal horrors. It's not exactly what I want in my mind when out on a nature walk.

I wonder who owned this cat? Was it a feral? Doesn't really matter. But suppose it was someone's cat? And that someone adored that cat as much as I do with Meadow? The difference being is that I won't let Meadow roam outside unsupervised. But that doesn't mean the person who may have owned this cat didn't love it as much.

So, yes, Meadow does go outside, but only under supervision as I mentioned, and she is on a harness with about 25 ft of leash tied near the deck. She has lots of room to roam in the backyard but can't ever stray out of it. She is quite happy with the situation, it's been that way for her for as long as she's ever gone outside. I am happy with knowing she's safe and this won't happen to her. Occasionally someone tells me I am mean for what I do with her, but seriously, look at her outside on her harness here... does she look unhappy?

I just hope that this person is found. The thoughts of someone doing this again makes me ill. To know someone in my neighbourhood is capable of such actions more than upsets me.

I let a few friends of mine know what we found that day as they frequent Smythe. The media is now spreading the word to the public.

Let them be found or perhaps karma will step in soon?

July 23, 2011

Raccoon Family Portrait also entered in the Green Party Calendar Contest

I have also entered a second photo in the Green Party of Ontario's calendar contest. Well, actually there are 11 of my photos entered. But this one is doing very well being about 40 votes behind the Long-eared Owl photo (see my blog right below this one) and has 216 votes and just checking the Owl has 251.

Approximately 93 people entered 460 or so photos in total for the calendar contest. I am hoping one of these two are in the final 12 for the 2012 edition.

I waited all Spring for this photo I got of a Raccoon family in a tree cavity and I am very happy with it. It's just not something you see everyday and if you miss them this Spring, you have to wait almost another year for another chance.

So, if you have a moment, please click here and then click on the hearts for your rating. I should add that this contest runs until July 31, 2011 and people can vote daily on any photos they want to win. Hint hint. :) Well, only if you have the time and feel this is calendar worthy.

Thanks again! I will post the results when I know.

Here's a couple others of mine that were entered with a good number of votes but nothing like the Owl and Raccoon family.

A pretty little male Eastern Bluebird I photo'd at Point Pelee National Park who has 120 votes as of today.

A pair of Barn Swallows in a mating moment with 85 votes.

A Great Blue Heron I see often near my home also has 120 votes.

July 21, 2011

Long-eared Owl and The Green Party

A short bit here. The Green Party of Ontario is having a calendar contest and a few of my photos have been entered in it. What do I get if I win? A photo published with credentials and the joy of seeing another photo of mine printed elsewhere.

This photo I took of a Long-eared Owl is doing very well and perhaps some of you might help keep it in the final twelve? All you have to do is click here and then click on the hearts at the top left of the photo. Clicking for 5 hearts meaning "awesome photo" would be greatly appreciated. But only click awesome if you feel as such.


July 20, 2011

Said "Goodbye" to family member and "Hello" to 2 new adoptees

Sometime in the wee morning hours of Saturday July 16th my little Fire-belly Toad named "Kermy" passed away. He was up in around the age of 13. I can't say for exact but this is pretty close seeing as I rescued him and 5 of his friends from a royal flush 8 years ago and I knew him for a number of years before this. How someone could just walk away from all their animals in hopes of a cooler, more hip lifestyle is beyond me. The person they were left in the care of had enough of them after about a month and called me up to take them or down the toilet they were all going. So, 8 years later Kermy has joined the others down at the back of the yard. He joins Robin and Fatso, both Fire-bellies as well, along with Bitch and Alice who were newts. Ralphie, a newt, is the only surviving member of the "Original Six".

While Kermy had no real emotional attachment with me, I liked the little guy and will miss his antics. From the barking all hours of the night to even feeding him as it becomes a part of your life every two days to do so.

Unfortunately at this moment I can't find a photo of Kermy in my files but I know I have a few. I want to add that my mother, with a little help from my father made this memorial garden stone for us which I love... one for the meaning of it and secondly because of the thought put into it. My parents are animal lovers but probably not to the degree that I am... I just don't see them finding the thrill of having some Toads and Newts living in the kitchen as I do.

The tank became quiet after his passing. It's just Muddy, who is also a Fire-belly; and Ralphie the Newt. Muddy doesn't talk to Ralphie, and well, Ralphie just can't talk.

So on Monday I went and added a couple new members to the tank, both being Toads. Why not another newt? As much as I like newts, the feeding of blood worms is a messier job. If I had to rescue one, there'd be no question though.

First off is "Ash". He is a Fire-belly Toad. A little guy being about half the size of Muddy. Ash spent the first day in his new home exploring everything within the tank. A few hours before lights out for them, I found him already sleeping on one of the rocks. It's not often that I see any of these guys sleeping. My worst fears surface when I do because it's such a rare sighting. I've come to discover he's got a bigger appetite than all the others.

This photo below explains the name "Fire-belly" for sure. And part of the reason I went with Ash, also the main character in the Evil Dead Trilogy that I enjoy so much. I almost went with the name "Cynder" and most of my Facebook friends were voting on this name... but Ash was my initial choice and it stuck with me. Researching a bit on these Fire-bellies and some claim to feed your crickets more carrots and it in turn will enrich the colors on the Toad's underside. I have heard such things with birds and certain berries they eat. But that will make me wonder why my Baltimore Orioles haven't turned purple yet since they love grape jelly more than the naval oranges?

Second up is the next new member, who is a European Yellow-bellied Toad. Angie has claimed this guy to be her's and also named him "Wan-Wan". I think it's a Harry Potter reference but she can correct me if I am wrong.

I don't know much about this kind of Toad but recon he's not a whole lot different than the Fire-bellies in way of care. He seems like a cool little Toad, pretty easy going and with a good appetite.

I hope both these guys are with us for many years to come.

Here's Wan-Wan although I will be calling his just Wan for short.

Yes, that sure is a yellow belly alright.

As you can see, Muddy isn't minding his new friends, as Ash hangs with him.

And of course I cannot go without showing you Ralphie. Did you know I named him and his side-kick of the same species Alice (RIP) as a tribute to my love for The Honeymooners. Ralphie rolls out better for him than just Ralph though.

July 17, 2011

Summer so far...

Wow, here we are just passing through mid-July. The summer is moving along quick and the heat sure is on now.

I sit back and ponder what I've done, where I've been, what I've seen and where do I begin?

A couple trips to the Carden Area up in Kirkfield, Ontario started the season off. Once with Angie and again on my own. Wylie Road, as I blogged about before, is a great birding spot of a dusty road being approximately 10kms long. I go there mainly for the Eastern Bluebirds, hope to see a Loggerhead Shrike and enjoy anything and everything else that I cross paths with.

The local swamp being minutes from my home has been another favorite spot for wildlife the past couple months and it's mind blowing what this smelly chunk of land has to offer in wildlife sightings. The few of us who frequent this area call it the neighborhood's best kept secret. It seems as the city has let this park grow wild, and with the swampy waters, insects thrive, which draw in many species of birds and amphibians. One of my favorite summertime residents here is a Great Blue Heron. I actually took this photograph from my truck when driving into the park. He's a bold old bird and doesn't spook easily. I also like to think my gentle and respectful approach to nature helps.

He shares the swamp and ponds with many others including Beavers, Muskrats, Snapping Turtles, Painted Turtles, a Red-eared Slider Turtle, Catfish, Frogs, Toads and so many species of birds. The Red-eared Slider is not native to our region, which means he was someone's pet and for one reason or another, he's been disposed of in the ponds to survive on his own.

I've had some great experiences with Cedar Waxwings in recent weeks. Anyone who may have read a blog I posted not long ago about Raccoons and other masked creatures might remember these birds were mentioned in it. Finding some small flocks and able to spend more than an hour per time with them watching them fly, hunt, hover, feed, etc. was awesome!

A few weeks had me volunteering any spare time I could afford to the Canadian Peregrine Foundation and their Falcon Fledge Watch program. First location I participated in the watch was at Islington and Bloor Street in Etobicoke at the Sunlife Building. A pair of Falcons had a nest with three chicks. And as the chicks grew, and it was nearing time for them to take flight, the CPF and volunteers take to the streets below in order to help any young Falcons who may get into trouble over the first few days of flying. Peregrines are an endangered bird, who much like the Bald Eagle, suffered massive loss in numbers through the 60's with the use of DDT. Often having infertile eggs through nesting time and occasional poisonings too. Their numbers are growing these days but still have a ways to go before they can be removed from the endangered and after the threatened list. Did you know that during World War Two, Peregrines in England were often shot out of the sky because a main source in their diet is Pigeon. The army used carrier Pigeons to help deliver messages to and from base camps and allies. So, when a message was sent out with a Pigeon, only to see a Peregrine come and snag the Pigeon for lunch and the message was lost... it was then man also interfered with the Peregrines by shooting any on sight.

Here is the whole family at the Sunlife Building. Dad is on the lower glass, Mom is on the camera to the right, and the three young'uns are lined along the ledge. This ledge is 19 stories up so pardon the not so close shot.

About a week and a half later I was up at Etobicoke General in Rexdale, Ontario on another Falcon Watch with the CPF. In both watches, I never saw an incident where one of the babies got into any sort of trouble and need of rescue. But there was a couple times the CPF did a save. Hours can go by with nothing happening but it only takes one small step off the ledge or an error in their learning to fly and control those powerful wings for something to happen.

Here is one of the adult Peregrines at the hospital.

Here is one of the young'uns, and her name is "Rain". She spent hours on this window ledge, 9 stories up. A number of hospital patients and visitors were quite fascinated by her presence on the window ledge in a hallway.

Angie and I had another "Raptor Encounter" at Mountsberg in June for her birthday.

Teddy and I, with me learning the art of tethering.

Angie got time with Teddy as well as Echo the Eastern Screech Owl seen here. Amazing how well an ESO can camouflage, eh?

But as the humidity moves in, I find myself at home more. It's nice to know the cold comfort of central air conditioning is only steps away. This time of year is much more challenging for birding and any other wildlife sightings with all the foliage as well. And as some of you already know, there is much to see from my lawn chair.

A pair of Chipmunks have taken up residence somewhere near the back shed. They are an entertaining welcomed addition to the backyard!

And even the least bird admirers I know around my home stop and watch the Baltimore Orioles who come to feed on oranges and grape jelly from the feeder off my clothes line. How can one not notice the fiery orange feathers as they fly in?

Nesting season always seems to bring in hordes of European Starlings to feed their young. They bully many of the other birds from any and all of the feeders, even ones with food they care not to eat. Thankfully a few Red-wing Blackbirds and Common Grackles throw the attitude right back at these buggers and put them in their place or out of the vicinity.

That's one goofy juvenile Starling who is trying to scare off this male Red-wing who is flying right in at him. The Red-wing won.

As much as I hear about the disliking for the Common Grackle, I don't mind them. I see maybe half a dozen through the summer, which is also counting in the young they bring. Fall migration can have me with 60+ some afternoons for a brief stop in to fuel up, have a bath and then gone again. Their babies are squawky little buggers.

And of course just having a relaxing afternoon with Meadow is just one of the things I enjoy so much...

and can't forget her little sister Misfit!

We've got some great wildlife adventures in the coming weeks including a trip to Wye Marsh, The Muskoka Wildlife and Presquille Park.

Come back soon!