Random Nature Encounters and Stories

I think I need a selfie stick and use the timer…


Why not just remember it? The way birds remember where the fake owl is and stop being fooled. :smile:

Seriously, though. This was when I was a teen. My mom had decided to leave my dad and took us kids with her. We were staying temporarily in a nearby city while she decided where to move. As we pulled into the driveway at night, there was a raccoon raiding the trash cans. But that’s not all! There was also my very first striped skunk, which appeared to have teamed up with the raccoon to raid trash cans. Two rascally critters for the price of one!


I have had a few memorable encounters.

I was snorkeling in Hawaii. I was looking down for a good part of the time. When I looked up I found myself 4 inches away from the nose of a hawksbill sea turtle, staring into the depths of its vivid purple eyes. After a few moments, it swam down below me, revealing a reef of bleached coral and colorful fish I had not seen before. I barely remember it anymore, it was so long ago, but I remember a feeling of sadness at all of the dead corals and beautiful, homeless fish.

I was again snorkeling in Hawaii, a different place this time, when I spotted a school of fish. I cannot remember the species, but they allowed me to swim very close above them. I swam with them for a couple of minutes, then had to go back to shore.

At that same beach, I also spotted my first cuttlefish. I was absolutely thrilled, jumping up and down and possibly making a scene until my mother told me to calm down.

Years later, I was watching a damsel fly lay her eggs in a pond. When she finish, she began to fly away. For some reason, I reached my hand out. The damsel fly circled back and perched on my hand. She stayed for a few moments, then continued on her way.

A few years ago, I was kayaking in a lake in Missouri. It was a hot, sunny day. I paddled onto the shore and leaned back, closing my eyes for a minute. I sat up and opened my eyes to find a common water snake racing toward my kayak. For fear of alarming the snake(hilariously)I pushed off from the shore. The snake gracefully leapt into the water and swam under my kayak, then disappeared into the tree roots branching off from the shore.

The next day, at the same lake, I paddled my kayak next to the shore. I heard some rustling, then a pair of white tailed deer exploded from the trees. They bounded along the shore, only 6 feet away from me, then disappeared back into the trees.

A couple years ago, I was out on a mountainside when I spotted the hindquarters something well camouflaged hiding in the foliage, only 5 feet away. “Deer!” I called to the person with me, but that was not quite right. My eyes worked there way up its torso. “Moose calf?” I said, mostly to myself, but that was not right either. Then I saw it’s face, staring back at me with fearful intensity. “LYNX!” I called out the person with me. The lynx and I stared at each other for a moment, then it disappeared into the trees. Somehow, the person with me, who was a little closer to the lynx than I was, never saw a thing.

The year after, I was kayaking in a lake. It was sunset(or a simile there of during summer in Alaska), the air was cool, but not cold. Suddenly, a muskrat popped up beside my kayak. It looked up at me, then splashed me with a face full of water. It then proceeded to swim away with its companion.


A few years ago at the back of our house in Queensland Australia, a pair of tawny frogmouths (Podargus strigoides) build a nest in a tree. For some reason they abandoned the nest before the eggs hatched. One morning a few days later I heard a tremendous racket from the backyard. Going to investigate I noticed that a crow was trying to get to the abandoned nest to get the eggs. Several species of small bird were strongly resisting the crows approach. These were magpie larks (Grallina cyanoleuca) and noisy miners (Manorina melanocephala) and possibly other species I don’t recall. It was obvious that these birds were trying to prevent the crow from getting to the eggs. The closer the crow got to the nest the more agitated the defenders became and the more aggressive and courageous was their mobbing. The crow eventually got away with one egg. I had no idea that birds would fiercely defend the nest of another species, even when the original owners had departed. Has anyone else observed this sort of behaviour? Thanks


Now that I know what Tawny Frogmouths are, I want to see some! ; )


Me: Pours coffee. Joins wife staring out the window.
Wife: I think there are snakes mating in our yard.
Me: What?

Plain-bellied Watersnakes (Nerodia erythrogaster)

Me: Yep. Sip.


oh, I forgot. I startled a coachwhip once while trying to photograph it. At least, I thought it was “a” coachwhip, until I saw the second head belonging to its bewildered, still attached partner, who was being dragged along backwards as the first snake slithered away.


I felt really, really bad; I didn’t know I was interrupting them.


Somehow I keep filter-feeding on small dipterans when I cycle.