Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dark Night, Busy Night

Last night, as I was visiting some of my favorite blogs, I heard the sweet, soft hoot of a Great-horned Owl outside my open window. “Did I hear what I thought I just heard?” went through my mind. It was 10:56 p.m. I kept listening and then it came again…and again…and again. Yeah! Being such a night owl myself, I truly appreciate nocturnal animals and the quiet stillness of their world, but “stillness” is really misleading. When the sun sets, our minds may slow and become more reflective, but the night creatures are just waking up. The nocturnal animals, insects and plants have jobs to do and “busy” is the only thing they know in the hours lit by the moon.

By 11:07 the Great Horned Owl was still calling, but…he was further away. At 11:15 I could still hear him, but each repetition of his song was getting fainter. For an owl, 11:15 is early. The last time I heard the Great Horned Owl outside my window was January 12, 2009 at 2:06 a.m. It was very cold that night. I remember because I opened the windows for better listening only to get a face full of stinging icy air! By 11:21 I could no longer hear the owl, but I had high hopes he would be back later during his busy night. Well, the owl did not come back, but a raccoon did, and so did a couple of night-owl ducks! Here’s a quick video of their visit:


Raccoon Eats Red's Peanuts and Night-owl Ducks Take a Dip from Kelly Riccetti on Vimeo.

So when you feel that magic stillness of the moon and stars, and the crickets and fireflies are keeping you company, remember there’s a lot going on out there and the dark night is also a busy night! 



24 comments:

Roy said...

Heh, heh! Ducks in the swimming pool. Now that's a novelty!

And no, that raccoon wasn't afraid of you. In fact, if you'd gone out there to try to shoo him away he'd have stood up on his hind legs and hissed and chittered at you. Nothing, but nothing, gets between a raccoon and it's food.

Chris said...

HI Kelly,
The movie is excellent. Yeh we have a tendency to forget that some animals go out during the night, but life is still very active at this moment. I love the raccoon shots, but I also found funny that mallard are enjoying your pool during the night ;-)

Kelly said...

Roy and Chris.....yes, the ducks were a surprise. If they had been floating and sleeping that would have been one thing, but they were swimming around like they were out for a night on the town!

Kallen305 said...

Such cute pictures of the raccon. Your back yard doesn't even quiet down at night! I would love to hear an owl in my yard but no luck so far.

Kelly said...

Kim....I've only heard on twice, but the frequency is picking up ;-) Jan and April of 09, and we've lived here for 10 years, so maybe we're on someone's hunting territory now.

Ginnymo said...

You are so lucky to have gotten video of the Raccoon!!! I am so jealous Kelly!! Ha! Ha! You must have had enough light out there to take the video. I could get lots of night creature videos if I just had light. I saw two big raccoons out here just once. And the only photo I ever got of one was a flash at him on top of my rock wall so all I have is his eyes shining. I turned it into B&W just to see it better. That was cute of the ducks swimming in your pool too. Do some more videos!! I love them!!

E said...

Very good video, Kelly, love the way you catch him and the good timing.
All your videos are well done. Hugs.

Mary said...

Very cute raccoon! I've had one cleaning up my bird food at night lately and really wish he would not.

Ginnymo said...

By the way. I was bit by a rabid raccoon when I was small. Had to have all those shots in my belly. One a day for 14 days in a row. Just be careful.

Laure Ferlita said...

What a cute face your raccoon visitor has! Quite a dapper fellow. We have some Great Horned Owls that come by to visit every six to eight weeks or so. There is a field (scheduled to become a neighborhood :-( ) just down the road about a half-mile. We think that's the primary hunting territory.

I've seen them flying across the road in that area, but I do love it when they come by to visit!

What busy ducks - couldn't possible be mating season could it?!

ShySongbird said...

What a lovely gentle face the Raccoon has although judging by some of the comments its nature is not so gentle! What a busy night-life you have, I too am a night owl but haven't had the encounters you have, a Blackbird's alarm call is about the best I can report from the early hours. Sadly I haven't heard an owl for years, we used to hear them quite often.

Great video and lovely pictures Kelly.

Kelly said...

Ginny...yes...I turned the porch light on, and he didn't care one bit, and....I'm not that comfortable with him being so close to the house, so I'm going to have to empty Red's peanut stash before the stars come out. They can be dangerous.

Enita....thank you very much. You're always so kind!

Mary...your polite complaint made me laugh. I agree, I wish our raccoons would lay off the seed at night.

Laure...thank you, and we're in the same predicament. Slowly, land is being developed for strip malls and housing, and we will keep losing our bird diversity.

Shy Songbird...thank you! Yes, although very cute, they can be quite aggressive when they feel threatened, and they also can carry rabies.

Cicero Sings said...

I'm amazed you got such good video at night! We don't seem to have raccoons where we live now but when we lived at the coast ... why there were a LOT of raccoons there!

Montanagirl said...

Pretty cool....Loved the video. We don't have raccoon right in town, but they're always invading the bird feeders out at my brother's house. He lives right along the Milk River.

Heather said...

What a great treat, your video. Thanks so much, I enjoy your blog so much.

Kelly said...

Cicero...I was too. I put on the porch light and hoped for the best and it worked! I had the inside lights on too throwing a little extra light out.

Montanagirl...our raccoons are purely suburban. I've seen them in our trees during the day every now and then, but I think they most spend the day in the storm sewer because I've seen them slink in there every now and then in the early morning.

Heather...thank you! I enjoy your blog too. It's fun to learn about sheep.

Steve said...

Hey Kelly, I love that Raccoon, bigger than I thought they were. And Ducks in the pool as well, you have a busy garden at night!

Warren Baker said...

Hi Kelly,
I wish I could stay awake until 11pm!! Great to hear an owl. Love the racoon!

Vickie said...

I love that little kneading thing the racoons do with their front paws while eating. They keep it going even when they're looking around. He has a nice little swinging door, too.

You sound like me. I always open the window when I hear an owl. Night time music.

Kelly said...

Steve...busy and right under my nose!

Warren...but you can get up so very early without any problems. (More birds are up early than at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning!)

Vickie...I know what you mean. I read when I was a kid they did that instinctually to find crayfish... Yes, at night I always have an open window listening to the night sounds....and music.

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Kelly
Quite a night you had. Great to have the Owl calling outside your window.As for the Raccoon,nice facial picture and video. It is always nice to video wildlife, so much more realistic.
We don't always realise what's going on outside after dark, do we, as you said yourself.
Lovely blog Kelly

holdingmoments said...

That clip of the Raccoon had me mesmerised. Brilliant. And ducks in the pool, whatever next? Quite a night.

Steve B said...

What fun!

Kelly said...

Ken...thank you! There is so much going on. In the summer, we pay attention a little, but mostly, we have no idea!

Keith...it was fun videotaping him. He was making such a noise crunching on the peanuts. I wish that had come through on the tape.

Steve....thanks...it was. Seeing the ducks up and about was fun too. They should have been sleeping!