But I still hold out hope for the return of some birds and continue to fill the feeders especially as the weather gets cooler.
I'm back in the habit of filling the feeders at night. I like the quiet of the night and even more so I like the mystery of wondering who I may cross paths with in way of wildlife. We've had some Raccoon families and one night I counted 9 Raccoons in my sights about the properties. We've got a few Skunks too and they don't seem to mind me out there doing what I'm doing as long as I ignore them. It's my philosophy that if you give the critters respect (and don't lose your shit around them) that they will give it back to you. Act like a freak and they may do the same. So my quiet times out back are quite rewarding. And I'm sure my spillage of seeds and nuts is welcoming too.
And last night was proof once again of what I practice and preach...
Doing my thing, filling feeders, washing the baths, enjoying the cool night air and mostly silence with little traffic on Scarlett Road; I suddenly take notice to something moving at the back of the house. Initial thought was one of the Raccoons roaming about; but second glance I could see that it wasn't. It crawled up the steps of the back deck and was heading for the back door... and its shape was more rat like. I put the flashlight on it and to my thrill it was a young Opossum! But to someone not familiar with them might think something otherwise with it's glowing eyes in the light and the black circles around them, the coarse grey fur and that long tail.
When the 'Possum figured out I was there and watching, she darted off under the deck. I believe the visiting Groundhog we had late last summer made a hole under the ladas on both ends as part of his routes for travel. The Squirrels and Skunks enjoy it very much (and now this 'Possum) but the Raccoons are too big for it.
I haven't seen an Opossum in a few years. We had one February 2011 and named her "Virginia". She was so sweet and everyday around 3pm she would come out and feed under our bird feeders. This is quite unusual for such a creature but with the bitter cold, she was hungry enough to show herself. And as long as we gave her the space, she let us be outside with her while she fed. It was awesome! So with this young one, I wasn't about to go inside and let this moment pass just like that. I sat myself on the ground and waited.
Here is Virginia from February 2011
With the aroma of peanuts and sunflower seed in the air, it wasn't long before one of the Raccoon families we are quite familiar with showed up in the yard. Good ol' Sniffy, his siblings and mom joining him. The kids are so big now as they prepare for the cold days ahead. They all wandered around, hitting the baths, looking for spilled seeds (wink wink) and gave little notice to me. Sniffy sat himself down about 6 ft from me and picked from one of the seed cups I use for filling. I dropped everything with this 'Possum and Sniffy was taking full advantage of this.
I kept an eye on the family out of the corner of my eye while I waited for another hopeful sighting of the young 'Possum. And sure enough, slowly out she came. I just sat there and watched her for the next 20 minutes or so as she sniffed around looking for some grub. We had maybe 10 ft between us for some time too! And the young, or not so young Raccoons now, were curious of this newcomer and had to give her a once over. The 'Possum did not know what to make of these creatures who were much bigger than her but she sat there, stood her ground, beared her teeth momentarily but not much more else happened. The Raccoons checked her out and moved on. So cool to see wildlife doing their own thing in our backyard. One time 2 summers ago, I got home shortly after midnight to find who I believe was Virginia sitting on our driveway with a Raccoon. They were chilling out, no fighting and I swear they were discussing what was on the menu in the neighbourhood that evening.
Here's a few photos from last night. Its not easy to get pics in the dark with a flashlight and our little point/shoot camera but what the hell... and I had fun.
Look at those teeth!
Sniffy passes her by with a sniff and moves along.
She's right below me here.
I wish this came in clear... look at that nose!
It was nearing midnight now. I silently said "goodnight" to the gang and headed inside with hopes of seeing the little Opossum again another night. And of course Sniffy came up to me and said "goodnight"...
I took a very short video of some of the action if you would like to see a bit more. Just click here and you will go to it on YouTube.