muskrat rambles

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, Mani the purebred border collie, filling in for the guy I live with, and here to bring you some wildlife-related news. You may remember me from such wildlife-related posts as “The Green Horrors”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. I was waiting to go on my evening walk, and wondering why I had to have my picture taken instead. It snowed the night before last but by yesterday morning the snow had all melted. Otherwise, hardly anything has happened here.

We did see a whole bunch of what the guy I live with thought were flycatchers in the bushes by the canal. He doesn’t know much about birds, though, and the camera battery died after the took this picture. They were very tiny birds.And there was the hawk. That was a few days ago. I got really excited because there was something large and scary next door, and I barked so much, in the way I do when there are scary things around, that the guy I live with had to look over the fence in the corner of the yard, where the fence is just chain-link, and there was this huge hawk.This picture was posted on Facebook but I thought I would share it here, too. The guy I live with went to get the “big camera” but the hawk jumped down on the ground because it was eating something. We found the remains of what it was eating when we went on my evening walk, later; it must have dropped it as it flew away, or it was finished.

Talking about wildlife, the guy I live with and his friend went to the museum while I was at Day Care. He said it was probably just as well that the museum didn’t allow purebred border collies to wander around the exhibits because there was an exhibit of really big dinosaurs there. I might have liked to study velociraptors a bit more, but I heard about the Suchomimus and Gigantosaurus and decided it was best that I didn’t get to go.

Today we did some gardening, mostly cutting back things that needed cutting back, and sticking some potted plants into the ground (what they call “plunging”) so that they’ll be more insulated over the winter. That is, instead of planting them.

We saw the hawk again on my morning walk, but it was too far away to get a good picture. We also looked for the muskrat but the canal was empty, as far as we could tell.

On my evening walk, things were different. There were ducks. There are always ducks here, though. This time there were more, because there are usually only two. We moved pretty close to the bank on the south side of the canal, and the guy I live with started saying things. The muskrat was there, and he didn’t have his camera ready.

He got the camera out and took pictures just as the muskrat went under water. If you look really closely you can see the muskrat’s tail still sticking up out of the water, about where that one piece of dead grass crosses the canal and goes over the bunch of dead grass floating in the water. 

So we waited.Then we could see the muskrat’s head. See it, there?And then, finally, the muskrat.

The guy I live with said “Ha”, and then we went back to the important business, my evening walk.

It turned out that there were seven ducks in the canal. That might be a record. Seven ducks; definitely a record. I lead a pretty interesting, bucolic sort of life, as you can tell. We don’t really live in the country, but almost.

These days my evening walk takes place when the sun is setting. It starts to get chilly, but I don’t mind.

The guy I live with said that was a contrail from a jet, flying to Los Angeles, maybe.Sunset over our house.That’s all for today. It’s supposed to warm up a bit and so maybe we can do some more gardening tomorrow.

Until next time, then.





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20 Responses to muskrat rambles

  1. tonytomeo says:

    That muskrat things looks scarier than the moth!

  2. Barb K says:

    A contrail, huh? Don’t you need to put on your tinfoil hat or something? That muskrat has very beady little eyes, but the little fat bird is just cute. Well little fat birds take life just as seriously as anything else, but they don’t look like it. I had a hawk in my birdbath and I live right in town. I tried to figure out which one it was but couldn’t find it in my books. If my dogs were as close to ducks as that they wouldn’t be as well behaved as you Mani. Your control is admirable. Very civilized.

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with said “lol” about the contrails. (He pronounces it “loll”.) I was really excited by the ducks when I first saw them, and wanted to “give chase”, as the guy I live with said, and said I couldn’t, but we see them every day that the water’s flowing in the canal, and then in the neighbors’ back yard when it isn’t. The neighbors have a little pool to paddle around in.

      • I think chemtrails might be the word the foil hatters use.

        Your patience was rewarded with that good set of muskrat photos!

      • paridevita says:

        The guy I live with said he used to work for the phone company and met people who, you might say, used aluminum foil as part of their attire. “Everybody had phones”, he said, and so that explained it. We are super patient. Or at least one of us is. This evening, on my walk, we heard the muskrat dive into the water, and then later, behind the mini-storage, when the bushtits were, the guy I live with said he heard another “floip” sound, like there was a second muskrat. He said that might be a good title for a semi-cozy mystery: The Second Muskrat.

  3. lifecameos says:

    Great pictures of the muskrat !

  4. “Today we did some gardening.” Glad you are being allowed to help the guy you live with. Do you chew the things that need cutting back and dig holes for plunging the pots? Or is yours still a supervisory role?

    • paridevita says:

      My role is strictly observational. Though I am charged with keeping rabbits out of the garden (which I do quite well, if I do say so myself). I also chase squirrels, which does not hugely thrill the guy I live with, since I don’t watch where I’m going, and I guess I’m the first purebred border collie here to do that, and so there have to be fences. Particularly around the one rock garden with all the cyclamen and stuff.

  5. Susan Hunter says:

    Hi Mani,
    The little bird is a Bushtit. The flycatchers all went south about 6 weeks ago. I like the muskrats at dusk. I think they might be my Spirit Animal..TGYLW needs a bird book.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. Bushtits. There were “at least a zillion” of them in the bushes. There are lots of bird books here, but of course they have to be consulted in order to figure out what’s what. We didn’t see the muskrat today. It was sunny and not too chilly, but no muskrat. They make a funny sound when they dive down into the water, kind of like “floip”.

  6. No garden pics, Mani, but plenty of the countryside and wildlife! Thank you for the showing, especially of the hawk and the muskrat. Might that be a great name for a book TGYLW would write? Of course, he might have to *consult* so as to tell his bushtits from his flycatchers. Of courser, I think the real book to be written is about your cut but elegant self, with lots of photos, especially of velociraptor moments. Is it my imagination, or are you growing thinner, skinnier, svelter?

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; I have shed a great deal of hair in the last month, so maybe that accounts for it. That was partly from being brushed, under protest. I do agree I am elegant. Super-elegant, maybe. The one thing the guy I live with says we miss is the heron, which he and Chess used to startle every now and then, while it was fishing in the canal. The guy I live with knows a heron when he sees one. And nuthatches. We have a lot of those, this year. Both kinds.

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