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Ramble with Storm: Great divide, squirrelly & animals at play

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Mulling things on my morning ramble, with Storm, the family's mixed Lab.


Seven Canada geese came over low, quiet, as the meathead and I set out this morning.

That set the tone for a lively natural morning. Just one of those mornings where the senses came alive.

When I awoke at 5 a.m., we had no snow. I did a couple hours of work, then, when we left, there had been enough snow to lighten lawns and roads.

In that white setting, a black squirrel bolted up our neighbor's old gnarled elm. A few feet along, a gray squirrel chattered from the wires on a telephone pole and another gray squirrel ran up a neighbor's maple.

Then I heard a mourning dove a block on.

I heard more geese as Storm and I left town and neared the town pond. Geese were streaming in, cupped up and ready to land.

Standing on the bridge over the neckdown between the two old clay pits, I felt like I was straddling the knife's edge between winter and spring

Six Canada geese swam on the open water on the north end of the south pit; while on the other side, three geese waddled and sassed on ice on the south end of the north pit.

Here's the deal, the northwest winds yesterday ripped a major hole in the ice from the bridge south. And most of the shorelines had given way.

The ice fishermen still have hope. Their ice shanty is still there, pulled up by the old boat launch. Maybe by the weekend, the ice cap on the south end of the south pit will thicken enough for one last round of ice fishing.

Don't think I will want to test it.

The great morning for wildlife continued when a lone crow flew over as we neared the old rail bed, now a trail. I looked for more crows, but didn't see or hear any. While I enjoy seeing crows, I know they are social creatures and was curious why there was only one.

Back in town, two gray squirrels ran around a telephone pole. Another mourning dove flew out of a yard.

Three squirrels, a black and two grays, played around our neighbor's gnarled old elm. The only correct word is play. I think they were playing. Or least it looked that way to me.

Now, I realize this is mating time for squirrels, so maybe I am imposing my views in thinking they are playing. Maybe there is a more natural explanation of a mating ritual.

But I was curious enough that I did some quick googling to see about animals at play. And I found a good blog entry in Scientific American by Lynda Sharpe. It is an extended discussion of animals at play worth a read.

As we neared our porch, I could see gray squirrels playing around up and down our street.

Play is a good thing at the end of winter.


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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on February 15, 2013 8:36 AM.

WWW Chicago outdoors: Just great, birds to walking on water to steelhead was the previous entry in this blog.

Ramble with Storm: Doves & bowling is the next entry in this blog.

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