Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Dr. Doolittle

Fritz seemed a little apprehensive of the fat bike in September 2013.

After a significant amount of time riding the same route day after day, morning after morning alone one begins to be aware of who lives where in the out of doors.  Walnut Creek is especially significant in my observations.  The section between North Valley Drive and Pal Joey's is the only place on any trail in which I have noticed eyes in the trees watching me.  Today that stretch was a zoo.

The eyes were back on a branch staring at me.  Have not seen them for some time and I wonder what species it was.  The branch was too small for a raccoon.  But are squirrels nocturnal?  Far too high for a domestic cat.  And as these thoughts bounced around in my head I came across critter #2.

There is an area of small trees and brush between the trail and the soccer field.  And there inside was another set of eyes.  My first thought that it was a cat or raccoon.  But this creature was much bigger.  A dog would have barked and/or given chase.  But a fox would have stared motionless feeling secure in the foliage.  I have not seen a fox in quite some time but it was dark and I did not stop.

Turning my head away from mystery animal as I reached the retaining wall and fence I roused up another critter.  Just a fluttering image in front of my tire trying desperately to flee from me I realized that it is too cold for bats.  19F is not bat temperature.  A moment later I IDed it as a robin.  The bird was failing to reach sufficient altitude to escape over the fence or the wall or over my head.  Caught in my lights and the sound of my knobby tires droning onward it finally hit a hard left and flew between the fence poles to the safety of Walnut Creek.  Just in time too as I was in the process of making the hard right on the detour.

No deer or skunks.  Not even a raccoon.  Just these three friends on a short stretch of trail in Des Moines.  Tomorrow there will be others, maybe.

My favorite animal is Fritz.  Here he investigates the bike after Monday's snow.