Saturday, July 09, 2005

skunk patrol

Ed & I are continuing our nightly excursions around the warehouse an hour or so past the witching hour - or should I say the skunking hour? Our chief companions are kildees and striped skunks. On the best nights we may see three skunks and an owl. Once we saw a possum, but it scurried up a tree and hid itself so well we gave up trying to find it with a flashlight. The skunks aren't usually afraid but we don't get too close to them either. One night a skunk was rooting in the dirt directly in front of a ground-level spotlight and I got about five feet away to get a good view but walked away without it noticing me. We have learned the owls tend to perch on top of the tall spotlights located in the parking lot or along the street, probably to get a good view of potential prey. We think they, or it, is a barn owl. We don't know if it's a single bird or if there are several. It's amazing how silently they fly. We've spotted another smaller bird that's probably an owl. We saw fewer skunks last week and thought maybe the weekend fireworks exhibitions might have disturbed them a bit. Or maybe they are trying to avoid us. We're going to schedule some walks before midnight to see if there's a bigger party then. Supposedly baby skunks are usually born in May and may stay with their mother for up to a year but the skunks we have seen have all been solo explorers and none of them seem small enough to be juveniles. I'm not finding much detailed information about skunks on the web and haven't yet found a book about skunks that's not written for children. Adults want to know, too!

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