Many a summer’s been spent in quest of wildlife. Last summer was the year of the bat. First stop the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas to witness the nightly fly out. We saw bats in Austin, but not the impressive numbers we expected. No problem. Our next stop…Carlsbad Caverns. The large population of Mexican free-tailed bats, numbering about 500,000, exit the cave at dusk while hundreds of park visitors anxiously await their departure. The Carlsbad bats didn’t disappoint. As the ranger finished his presentation, the bats exited right on cue emitting their distinctive colony chatter…so the summer of bats proved to be success.
Yellowstone was the summer of bison and the grizzly. The San Juan Islands in Washington state will be remembered as the summer of the killer whale. On our trip to Acadia National Park, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont we failed in our quest for moose, but a couple of years later, the Grand Tetons satisfied the moose mission when we unexpectedly walked up on a moose. Big horn sheep led us to Glacier National Park, and while we successfully fulfilled that quest, that summer turned in to the summer of the black bear.
Closer to home, we’ve been on the look out for egg laying sea turtles and after numerous failed attempts, we finally joined a guided sea turtle walk in Brevard County. While we listened to a presentation, spotters walked the beach locating sea turtles and radioed back to provide the location of nesting turtles so we could begin our hike. What a great evening…after only a short hike we encountered not one, but two sea turtles laying eggs on the beach. We gathered around a loggerhead and watched her deposit over a hundred eggs, cover the nest, and then struggle back to the sea. In the distance, a leatherback laid its eggs, but because of their protected status, we watched from a distance.
A goal for this summer is to witness sea turtle hatchlings emerge from the nest; but in the meantime, the summer 0f 2013 has already become the year of the fox. And this from the comfort of my home. In the 25+ years we’ve lived here, I’ve heard people say they’ve seen a red fox in the neighborhood on a couple of occasions but during the past month it seems everyone has a story of a fox sighting. I’d felt a little left out until two weeks ago when John and I were in the front yard and noticed a fox crossing the street a few houses down with what looked like a squirrel in its mouth. Finally, I had my own fox story. But then two days later, while working at the kitchen table on the computer a fox sauntered across the front yard. Unbelievable! But this truly is the year of the fox because on Sunday as we drove to church both John and Meghan saw a fox a couple of blocks from home. And then on our way home from church, a red fox calmly laid in a yard down the street…even allowing me to take its picture before running down the road.
My goal for the summer is still to see the sea turtles hatching; but if that doesn’t happen, I know this will be remembered as the summer of the red fox!
Ok, I know no one will believe this, but while I was writing this a red fox ran across the front yard again! How many foxes have infiltrated our neighborhood?