Thursday, February 16, 2006

Animal Magic

I have been very very lucky in my life (so far). I have seen basking sharks off the Isle of Man, gazed rapt at orca's breeching off Vancouver Island (holding on very tightly to the sides of a RIB, I may add). I've jigged for cod in St Andrews Bay with a fisherman who knew Ella Fitzgerald. I have seen puffins and octopi in their natural environments, seen sea turtles and reef sharks, even Nemo darting into his anemone home. I've shone a light on a Moray eel too large to escape the cave in which he'd made his home. I've seen Minky whales in Labrador, pythons in Brisbane. Dingoes on Fraser Island and once played Goldilocks to three bears in northern Canada. The more I think about it the more astounding the list gets. Moose in Newfoundland, eels in New York State. I had my first and last boat driving lesson in the St. Lawrence Seaway and was told to 'get on with it'.
Angled Arctic Charr near Nain, watched the most beautiful Red deer stag bound away when cornered in Ardnamuchen, seen river otters at play in two continents, Golden Eagles, Ospreys, Bald Eagles, Red Kites, Highland cattle with twisted horns, kangaroos, crocodiles, alligators, lizards. Weasels dancing in a ring, foxes slinking through hedgerows, fresh wolf tracks and--we think--a white wolf on the Canadian shield.

I am a bit pissed off I missed the great annual caribou migration by about 500 yards, but I'll deal with it.

So what animals have made a big impression on your life? What memories will you take to the grave?

12 comments:

  1. Um, I saw a racoon in the back yard once. I've led a very sheltered city life, dangit! So envious.

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  2. First off, how wonderful your life has been so far. I have shared some of the same experiences, and oddly enough, after much interrogation my grandmother has finally told me that I can trace my roots back to the Isle of Man, which took me an age to find on the map, smack in the middle of the sea seperating England from Ireland.

    I have an old memory of watching what seemed like hundreds of black bears ransacking a dump. When I was a teenager, my friends took rifles and shotguns (I know, sounds creepy) to a stagnant pool in the mountains where salman were dead or dying and shot them all up. I'll never forget the sight.

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  3. Are you talking the ones outside of the zoo? Ummm...deer, squirrel, cows, fox, racoon, those other litter critters I can't think of the name of but always end up roadkill, cats, dogs, birds...yeah, not nearly as exciting as your list, eh?

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  4. Hmmm...my most memorable...my dad and I were out ski-dooing and we found a young porcupine lounging in the lower branches of a tree. He was a very fluffy blonde (yes, porcs have color!) and my dad taught me how to scratch it just so under it's chin and danged if it didn't close it's eyes and go to sleep!

    And baby ducks. I *love* wild baby ducks. They are just the cutest little darlings.

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  5. Eve--I've seen one racoon and he made such a lasting impression he ended up in Venus' Slipper!!

    Scott--I spent 10 months on the Isle of Man for my honours year (your granny's name isn't Kelly is it?). It is a lovely place--very windy--where they run the VERY famous TT races in the summer (tourist trophy motorbikes), and Nigel Mansell lived there and I believe the Bee Gees were born there. They filmed the film 'Waking Ned' there too. Would love to see bears at a dump--not so sure about the image of dead and dying fish. Maybe because I really can visualise and smell it!!!

    Peggy--I get a thrill out of seeing most things, especially up close. And I'm pretty sure I'd be fine underwater with a shark (great whites and Bullsharks excluded) but I hate going into a field with a cow :)

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  6. Meretta--oh that sounds really cute!!

    I love ducklings too--though I have this horrible memory of a girl I know ringing this injured ducklings neck, and the head came off. Yuk.

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  7. Oh Toni - and right before my nap! Thanks bud! Yuck! Nightmares ...

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  8. Do children count?

    I have a gray fox hanging around my yard. The bears go swimming in the McMansions' pools about a block above my house.

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  9. Rene--kids have their own charm :) bears in the pool? Now that I'd like to see!

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  10. I love rhinos. My son and I got to do a special event at the zoo where we got up close with them. It was so cool!

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  11. That would be cool Mary. Very cool. Never been to Africa, though DH's brother lives there. Would love to go. One thing I'm not keen on meeting up close and personal are big cats. I think I might have *dinner* stamped on my forehead!

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  12. LOL, as beautiful as the big cats are, I do not want to get close. We did the breakfast thing with the cats, too, but it wasn't as cool.

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