June 25, 2018
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Meandering muskrat strikes a pose

By Dave Small, Special to the BDN

Last week while driving west on the Stud Mill Road in Costigan I became aware on a dark spot that seemed to be moving on the ice-covered road about 100 yards ahead of me. As I slowed and pulled off to the side of the road I noticed that a truck coming in the opposite direction had stopped just a few feet behind the dark spot. Now I’m thinking the spot must be something worth seeing, so I stopped the Jeep, readied my Canon and got out of the vehicle.

The spot was now heading east, staying just a few feet ahead of the truck, which by moving along slowly, seemed to be herding the critter in my direction.

My attached photos show a muskrat, heading in my direction, slowing to check me out, then hurrying past me to go … where? There was no open water that I could see, so this little guy was taking a huge risk being that open for that long. I always enjoy these photosbychance encounters!

I saw the Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge red fox again later that same day on my return trip home. This time, no dice getting close. He did allow me one quick click shot, then skedaddled into the woods.

From late fall, throughout this winter, this red-bellied woodpecker has been teasing me. I’d see him feeding in the backyard squirrel feeder, but by the time I’d get my camera ready, he’d be gone or in an unphotographable position. Well a few days ago I had my Canon ready and the woodpecker made a big mistake, he flew onto a branch that was well lit by the sun and I got him. Now he can feed in peace.

The staghorn sumac photo was taken at the Essex Street Marsh.

Thank you all for allowing me to share my photos and stories with you … I always appreciate it.


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