Sunday, October 4, 2009

That Time of the Night

I feel really fortunate to have a forest preserve literally right across the street from where I live.  It means I can go over there and explore at a moment's notice.  I had such an opportunity today.  I had taken the dogs for the big loop around the lake, come home, and then realized my wife had gone off to try and catch me on the walk.  While we did not meet up when I went out to try to catch up to her, I was able to explore the woods at one of my favorite times of day to do this - dusk.

I love the animal activity that I see in the preserve at dusk.  Today was no different.  The first thing I was able to see was confirmation that the beavers are still there - beyond the fact their dam has been reconstructed.  One of them was out and swimming around in the bottom portion of the lake.

Just a few feet down from this, I saw a small ball of fur.  I stopped and found it was a small field mouse or vole.  (I'm leaning toward the vole...but will have to do some research to make sure.)  I was able to just stop and sit down to watch it - no more than a foot away.  It was a fat little thing and was eatting grass as I sat and watched it.  It never moved...just kept on eating.

The final event of my walk happened when I was about to turn the corner to go out of the preserve.  On the path in front of me was a herd of at least six deer.  They stopped and looked at me, and I froze in my tracks.  I started to inch forward very slowly - stopping whenever they would stop eating and look at me.  At about twenty feet away, I stopped and waited.  A doe decided she was going to come and check out what this new animal was stalking toward her herd.  She came straight at me - stopping once and  awhile to stomp the ground.  She came within ten feet of me before she slowly when off the path into the woods.  She did not run off though...just walked inside to eat some more.  I think I may have been able to get even closer if people would not have come up the path behind me.

What you see at dusk can be amazing.

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