Monday, February 27, 2012


I think it would be hard to not become some sort of naturalist with a job like this. With so little to do, without even realizing it, I spend a great deal of my day noticing nature, the weather, the changes of season, and how the three dance around each other. 

These are, off the top of my head, some of the animals I've seen or heard around the ferry: 
Wild turkeys

Say nothing of the local housecats that rub up against my leg each morning as I walk up the hill to unlock the gate. 

I keep meaning to bring a bird book down here. I'm curious to figure out what kind of ducks these are. They're very dark in color, almost black, with pointier bills than I expected. I've also seen gray and white ducks on occasion, sitting alone on the river bank.

Coyotes have jumped across the road in front of my car, I've seen them trotting through fields, and on occasion, before I leave for the night, I hear several of them yipping and singing at each other. 

The owls amaze me. I'm always startled to see them, swooping off a road sign in the pitch black of early morning, off to hunt their prey. I don't know what kind of owl they are, only that they seem to be brown and speckled in the headlights of my car.

I know where the raccoon lives, and I'm always cautious as I drive around that corner in the morning, he may be scampering across the road. He's a huge raccoon, bigger than either of my cats by quite a bit. 

It's also pretty amazing to watch the seasons change. I've never spent so much time focued on the seasons or the weather. It was a wonderful surprise to get to work one morning a few weeks ago when it was pitch black, to hear all of the pre-dawn birds singing their hearts out, ready to announce the new day. Such a portent of spring! The doe has a new fawn, I think they live in the cluster of trees up by the west gate. The first time I saw the fawn a week or so ago, it couldn't have been more than a few weeks old. The mother was very protective, but they stood not too far from me and watched as I walked up the hill. 

I'm curious to see when the ospreys return from their southern winter vacation. The one nest I can see clearly has gotten overgrown with grass over the winter. Will they use the grass as part of the nest, or pick it all out? And will another nesting pair try to make a nest on top of the tower, like they attempted all last summer?

Last week, the temperatures climbed rapidly, it was almost 60 for several days, with wide open, bright blue skies. Maybe spring was actually here! But then this week, it turned cold again. I scraped ice off my windshield this morning, and noticed a few stray snowflakes falling as I left Salem. The animals know, though. Spring will be here soon!

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