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What Woods are These?

September 27, 2007

The pace of life is slower on an island, and we’ve slowed down to match it. We go to bed later, sleep later, eat less, read a lot and go for invigorating exploratory walks; always camera in hand.

There are many parks on this island, a few we’ve already explored but, the other day one in particular took our fancy – containing more than 400 mostly wooded acres surrounding an 8 acre lake, and a 14 acre marsh.

Finding a way in was tricky. Scanning the map, I gave N possible directions which led us to an entrance of sorts, but one where a car was a definite liability; no place to park. Our tires scrunched over twigs and dried leaves; the smell of needles and humus filled the air as we kept backing up, edging forward, turning around and driving to different, yet mostly hidden entrances. At all of them we noticed a small barricade with an even smaller sign tacked on. N’s first response was that the barricade meant just that; we shouldn’t proceed any further, and was about to leave. I hopped out of the car to check out what it really said.

Hmmmm…….

Although not an expert on birds, not even close, I haven’t heard of owls attacking people unprovoked. Apparently Barred Owls have been expanding their range westward from the eastern US and are not partial to either other owls or humans; they’re especially “fond” of the Spotted Owl, whose population they’re helping to diminish if they happen to end up in the same forest; or the same tree. These talented and marauding Owls can also wade into water to snag a fish or two. Even a terrapin. It seems one is not safe on land or water.

Our park seemed like the perfect spot for these odd sounding creatures; their cry a cross between barking dogs and crowing roosters, who are up and about during the day when raising their young. But this was fall not “raising young” time. So the reason for their day time furtive behavior was…….?

Hiking or meandering through woods has always been a quiet, reflective, almost spiritual experience; these lurking creatures changed my mind, but not N’s. He was prepared to stomp through the greenery, ignoring this possible threat; I managed to convince him otherwise. (Not always an easy thing to do.)

Not unhappy to be leaving that particular cathedral of old Douglas firs, we headed back to the tarred road, and re-entering civilization I noticed a large sign at the intersection that read, -Give Blood Today-.

I have a sneaking suspicion “Saturday Night Live” might enjoy learning about these birds.

Copyright © 2007

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