Wildlife
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The muddy easement passes two just-built houses and a fifth-wheel before plunging into the woods. Then the roadbed itself plunges down a ravine. A landslide has scooped away the hillside below, … more
Listen for the loud “klee-klee-klee” call of greater yellowlegs in estuaries and flooded fields. This shorebird passes through the Key Peninsula during spring and fall migrations. Watch … more
At last, I find a frog. It is spread-eagled in the shallow water like a lost toy. Its throat floats before it as round and sheer as a soap bubble, pushing its head up. It looks almost pathetic as it … more
While drivers rattle the Purdy bridge in cars and trucks, fly fishers often stand thigh deep in saltwater below at the mouth of the Burley Lagoon, their attention fixed on a far different … more
Agates and oysters. A clear tide. Stories.  I am south of Driftwood Annie’s point, strolling Pitt Passage with two veteran beach walkers. The going is wonderfully slow. “It … more
All this rain has flooded the nearby pastures. You know your pond has just about become a lake when the regular dabblers like mallards and wigeons are joined by diving … more
Let’s take a ramble. Let’s head through this soggy pasture and aim for the woods. Think of all we’ve seen in the last year on the KP, the encounters with deer and moths, the … more
A Beaver Poop Mystery The dam is deep in a thicket and quite small. To reach it I’m forced to crab-walk into the lively creek below it. Salmonberry canes extract the small blood offering … more
As I work my way down a forested draw in Filucy Bay Preserve, tree frogs call. Ferns and logs guide me through a series of pinch points where deer have squeezed before me. more
Fall again. Heavy sunflower heads have fallen and the clouds of goldfinches that came for their seeds have scattered into the trees. Rain falls and rotting resumes. Down come the soggy stems of … more
Ask the KP Nature Guide: Moles more
Snakes Eaten, Snakes Eating Recently a friend asked me if there are birds that eat garter snakes. A few, I told him. Red-tailed hawks are known for making off with snakes. It is always an odd … more
The days are hot and the nights are warm. By day I’m lucky to see two or three butterfly species. By night the moths swarm, pale shapes like prisms around the edges of my house. At my black … more
A commotion has been building outside. It has been building for days now. Some sort of forage fish is massing along the shoreline, and it has drawn a feeding frenzy of gulls, mergansers, cormorants, seals and eagles from miles around. more
By now, Grace Bennett is an old hand at lizard keeping. She is 5 years old, and her pet for the last year has been a northern alligator lizard named Baraka. Grace lives on a 5-acre farm near … more
On the first day of spring over 60 degrees, I find a currant decked out with pink pendant blooms. It radiates a fragrance of heat, sweat and pollen. more
On a slanting boardwalk over a forested swamp, I pause. It’s not just Pacific wrens singing these days. Song sparrows and towhees fire off their songs. Salmonberry thickets stand with their … more
Bald Eagle vs. Common Goldeneye The goldeneye duck, separated from its compadres, came to the surface to suck in some oxygen. The eagle swooped. The duck frantically dove. The eagle climbed to 10 … more
Wildlife of the Key Peninsula more
I sit in a stand of trees, screened by filbert leaves, on the edge of a field in the woods. The earth is damp and the air stirs restlessly. It’s that time of year when buck black-tailed deer, normally nocturnal, move recklessly, their necks swollen and their antlers crusted with the bark of saplings. I have come to watch them. more
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