Saturday, March 19, 2011

More Signs of Spring

I was awoken this morning by loud animal chattering right outside my window. This is what I found when I finally looked:

I live in an area where there is often a cacophony of animal sounds, especially during the height of summer--screeching, singing, snuffling, scrabbling, pecking, etc.--but usually so much foliage that I cannot visually see (nor take a photo of) what is making all the noise. One of the beauties of this time of year is that, without foliage, sometimes I get lucky. These two raccoons were way out on the same branch (the one on the right) when the noise started. Although they appear in this photo to be of equal size, the one on the left is the mama and the one on the right is a much smaller juvenile. The "chattering" I heard was the young one arguing and fighting off the mama ("Leave me alone! Stop licking me! I'm fine on my own!") until mama finally moved away. I watched for a long time as the scenario repeatedly looped around--they would be together on a branch and mama would relentlessly groom the young one, and then the young one would start screaming and clawing until mama would move away, then mama would come back and start grooming, and then the young one would scream--over and over.

I think the wildlife around here is as eager for spring as I am. I had my bald eagle sightings at the beginning of the week, then a fox sighting mid week. I startled three deer as I stepped out my door the other morning and, now that the river is open again, the ducks and geese have started to return.

Spring in Maine requires patience. We have some nice, sunny days, but we also have long stretches of cold, gray days steeped in an endless sea of sucking mud. This morning, it's snowing, even as the sun is trying to shine.

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