The Daily Bucket is a place where we share our observations about the natural world. Whether we note the winter birds at our feeders or the dramatic weather events of the season, we are building a resource to learn more about the patterns of nature and how they may be changing. Everyone is welcome to contribute! Just tell us what you are seeing in your backyard or wherever you are roaming and approximately where your observations come from.How often do you see a truly wild raccoon?
Mostly, for me, raccoons are opportunistic garbage-can scavengers in my neighborhood. Extremely clever and deft, they can open almost anything, and squeeze through unimaginably tiny spaces to get to food. For years I matched wits with a mama coon and her succession of litters, who made free use of my cat door, and then when that was locked up, managed to squeeze through a 3" space in a sliding glass door, a space marginal even for my cats. I remember one night vividly when I heard them entering the living room. I switched on the light and caught them en route to the cat kibble bowl: mama in front and 3 babies, frozen in place, front leg raised for the next step, all staring at me, like deer in the headlights. It wasn't until I marched noisily on them that the family turned and scurried back, squeezing, one by one, out the 3" space. I knew she was the same mama from year to year; she had a crippled right front foot she dragged, but still easily managed to climb walls, open latches, knock over flowerpots, strip strawberries from the garden, and teach generations of new raccoons to do the same.
So it was with great delight I saw a raccoon in the wilderness, out on the beach.
When raccoons aren't eating garbage or kittie kibble, they are scavenging wild food. At low tide, rocks on the shore are a buffet of crabs, limpets, snails, and tidepool fish for the taking.
We disturbed her feast, and being wild, her impulse was to run away. But the waves were washing around the rocks and it looked like she didn't really want to get her feet wet.
Then a leap.
What wild creatures have you seen recently?