Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Blond-tailed Squirrels

Blond-tailed Squirrels

A squirrel was munching its way through the afternoon. It wasn’t an unusual sight, squirrels seem to be everywhere. But this one was different – it had a blond tail! I never saw that before. It reminded me of the time I noticed a squirrel with a white spot behind one of its ears. The next spring there were several with that spot and then some showed up with the white spot behind both ears! I still see them occasionally. As I was watching this unusual squirrel, another blond-tailed squirrel joined in the feast.

It’s easy to think of squirrels in the singular but there are many varieties and lots of colors, from albino white to deep black and everything in between. And their tails offer options as well.  I suspect that these blond-tailed squirrels will produce another wave of variety to grace my backyard; I will look out for them. 

Nature is always interesting. Whether it’s animals, birds, insects or plants, no two are exactly the same. Alike, yes, but there are always differences if we truly observe. And like people, each has its own way of interacting on our incredible Earth. Diversity is what makes life so intriguing. I hope we can remember that our individuality is vital to the greater whole and use it wisely.

Learn about squirrels:

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Box Turtle Surprise Again

Box Turtle Surprise Again

Look who was taking a walk on the path at Barclay Farmstead in Cherry Hill, N.J. It stopped me in my tracks on my own walk through the Nature Preserve. What a beautiful shell. I bent down to better see it but the turtle took exception to my curiosity and pulled its head and feet into its shell. I said quietly that it needn’t be afraid, I wouldn’t hurt it. It peeked out at me and I couldn’t help smiling  at the quizzical look in its eyes.

It reminded me of other box turtles that have crossed my path. One was crossing a busy street in front of me as I was driving to my son’s preschool. I stopped, carefully lifted it up and drove it to his school. It had a weeklong visit with the children then was released at the teacher’s farmstead. Another time a turtle was starting to cross a street in a housing development in front of my car.  I gently placed it in the wooded lot across the way. And there were others, always to my delight.  

Turtles have been seen as mystical creatures. Folklore says that they are a symbol of longevity and bring good luck. I feel grateful when I encounter this unexpected gift of nature. It stops me in my distracted thoughts and helps me focus on the here and now.

I took a deep breath and thanked the turtle for being there. Then we both continued on our nature walks.

Facts about the Eastern Box Turtle: