The biggest April Fools joke that was played on me today came from Mother Nature. After spring had taken the stage, winter decided to come back for an encore. Here in Downeast Maine, we had no snow on the ground yesterday and today, we have about a foot. So, while everyone else out there is pelting you fine folks with April Fools jokes and pranks (Mother Nature included in some areas of the country), I’ve decided to be nice and update you on my most recent wildlife encounters!
This past Wednesday (March 30, 2011 for those of you not following closely) I went on a nice hike with my parents in Milbridge Maine. We went to the Petit Manan Wildlife Refuge to be exact. Now, usually, when it’s just me and my mother hiking this particular trail, we spot animal tracks but never any animals beyond small birds. My father must be our wildlife good luck charm because this was the first time he hiked this trail with us and we had two awesome encounters with wildlife.
First, halfway through our hike, we were at a portion of the trail that runs along the water. Just a few yards away is a small island, and I mean small. While looking around and basking in the relatively nice weather, we spotted a rather large bird taking off from the tree tops on the little island. While watching the bird we came to realize that it was a Bald Eagle. I, personally, had never seen one that close before. As I was busy taking a photo of the eagle, I heard my mother say “There’s another one!” And when I looked up, there was indeed a second eagle taking off. Putting two and two together, we concluded that there had to be a nest somewhere in the trees. Smart, huh? [^_^]
Now, for those of you that don’t know, my father was really the one that got me interested in photography in the first place. So when we go out on these little hikes/walks/day trips we take photos together. However, more often than not, these little photo outings of ours tend to turn into competitions as to who got the better shot. It’s all in good fun (though I tend to win! My father blames it on me having the better camera. [^_^]).
So, my father and I both took several photos of the eagles as they flew back and forth from their nest on the island to wherever they were going to find food. I didn’t see his photos on the computer screen but the shots he took looked pretty decent on his camera’s screen. Mine came out decent as well, though I know I could have done better. You can see one of my photos here.
Now, the Bald Eagle sighting was awesome. I was still stoked from the sighting as we headed back down the trail toward the parking lot. While walking along, I heard something rustling in the brush off to my left. I stopped and looked expecting to see a deer or perhaps a raccoon running off, but instead I saw something climbing a tree that gave me a little moment of shock. At first, I thought it was a bear cub, and as everyone knows, where there’s a baby, there’s usually a mom close behind. But after the split second of mistaken identity, I realized I was watching a chubby porcupine waddle up the tree.
I’ve seen porcupines waddling across the road or traipsing through my yard in the evenings but I had never seen one in bright daylight climbing a tree like that. It even stopped half way up the tree and looked at us. Again, my father and I started our little “I-can-get-the-better-shot” competition. And again, I didn’t see his shots on the computer screen so I can’t attest to how well he did. Come to think of it, I didn’t see any of his shots of the porcupine at all. Hmm.
You can see my photograph of the porcupine here.
The day didn’t end there. Before heading home for the day, my parents and I went to the beach. Though it was cool, it was nice. My mother and I went hunting for beach glass while my father wandered off and tried his hand at digging up a clam or two. Just before we were getting ready to leave, I knelt down, dug with my bare hand, and brought up two clams that made the six my father found look like infants. Yeah, I’m awesome. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to take photos of the clams I found compared to his so you’ll just have to take my word on this one! [-_^]
I hope everyone’s having a fun and safe April Fools Day. Hopefully no one has suffered any mental or physical injury from any bad pranks.
Until next time folks…
Keep on rockin’ on.