Posts Tagged ‘kingsnake’

Yard Residents

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The tiny frog jumped when I picked up a sandstone rock from a pile I was moving. It froze in place, confident in its camouflage. The dirt on it hid any markings it had.

I think it’s a chorus frog. My mind said “chorus frogs” when I’d hear frogs calling earlier this summer after dark.

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I first saw this kingsnake when I almost stepped on it.

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It continued on to the shrub border where it could disappear into the thick of things.

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Then yesterday, I walked toward the house and a frog jumped from the grass in front of me. It’s the same kind as the one above. The odd thing is that I don’t remember seeing these in the yard before. They were maybe an inch or so long.

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I was again moving rocks and this leopard frog jumped near me. Their call sounds like its laughing/chuckling.

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Crawdad

At first I expected an empty hole.

Then I expected to see the head of a kingsnake in it.

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And ended up with a crawdad staring back at me.

Close Encounters

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… which this wasn’t.

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I took these pictures through a not-quite-clean double-pane picture window. The deer was feeding on leaves of what looked like vines.

 The young deer reminded me of a close encounter many years ago. I was hiking at a limestone barrens on Shawnee National Forest land. A light brown shape caught my attention. Why would anyone leave a lunch sack in the barrens. I went to retrieve it … it was a very young fawn. It remained motionless while I did a rapid sketch of it. Then I left.

Then I thought, “I bet the mother was just inside the woods, watching me.

That memory quickly took me to one of another close encounter. I returned to camp on rural property I own. Four or five biggish young birds were hunkered down in the mowed grass  near the pull-in. I did a gesture drawing, all the time asking them aloud, “What are you?”

Then I heard movement to the left and behind me. A hen turkey was sneaking toward the taller grasses where we didn’t mow. She had been feet from me. I didn’t see her because I’d locked in on the young birds. Obviously, she didn’t perceive me as a threat. Needless to say I decided it was time to leave and walked causally to the truck.

I wrote and illustrated nature articles for several local newspapers for almost 10 years. Obviously, this kept me hiking and camping a lot. Wildlife didn’t notice me when I was in deep concentration. One time I sat on the ground, drawing mosses. I heard movement and here came a coyote trotting down the short hill toward me. It saw me when about 12-15 feet away, “turned the corner” and kept on trotting.

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Another memory just came to me, one that left me shaking.

I hadn’t seen my first wild turkey yet and knew they were feeding up the hill from camp at my rural property. I suited up in camouflage, sat at the base of a tree with my 35 mm camera in my lap. No turkey. I dosed off. Wind rustling the trees woke me, only the leaves weren’t blowing. To my left — here came a 4-foot kingsnake. Somehow, I grabbed my camera and quickly made it to a standing position. My movement stopped the snake’s movement 5-6 feet from me. My hands shook too much to take a picture, besides, I wanted more distance between us. I stepped back several steps and watched it. Finally, it started moving in the same north east direction. It stopped when it came to the warmer ground where I’d been sitting.

It would’ve gone — or at least started– across my lap if I’d been asleep.

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All this from watching a young deer in the backyard.