Entries tagged with “skunk”.


Caveat lectorem: When readers submit comments, they are asked if they want to receive an email alert with a link to new postings on this blog. A number of people have said they do. Thank you. The link is created the moment a posting goes online. Readers who find their way here through that link can see an updated version by simply clicking on the headline above the posting.

“Do you know that blonde over there?” a friend in town asked me today. “She’s a little hottie. “

“A little haughty?” I replied in confusion. “That’s too bad.” Then it was my friend’s turn to be confused.

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 A livestock-feeder bowl on the railing of Mitchell cabin’s deck is used for a birdbath where numerous birds both bathe and drink. Here a towhee takes a bath.

Other critters also use the birdbath, such as roof rats, raccoons, and an occasional gray fox. Almost every evening, a mother raccoon and her four kits try to squeeze into it together. And like the birds, they’re not at all squeamish about drinking their own bathwater.

The kits’ precarious struggles for space in the bowl always worry me a bit, for the bowl is about 20 feet off the ground. Ironically, the bowl is right above Mitchell cabin’s hot tub, and more than once while in the tub, I’ve been surprised by a sprinkling of cold water that turned out to be splashes from a bird taking a bath.

A skunk or two also show up on our deck virtually evening to eat any kibble the raccoons leave behind. They raise their tails when disturbed but never spray, at least while on the deck.

A lonely peacock, which mostly hangs out near Highway 1 a quarter mile away, occasionally wanders over to our yard, but we’re mostly aware it’s in the vicinity because of its cries at night. During the breeding season, peacocks scream to attract peahens and sometimes merely because they hear other peacocks.

Got him. Two weeks ago this blog published photos of a young great blue heron hunting gophers near our cabin, and a few days later neighbor Dan Huntsman snapped this great shot of the heron holding a gopher it had just caught.

A bobcat made one of its periodic visits to Mitchell cabin this week. Like the heron, bobcats like to hunt gophers.

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As has been in the news a lot lately, some police arrests warrant special scrutiny — both in the US and abroad. Here’s a incident reported in the June 17 San Francisco Chronicle:

A man in Vienna was fined $565 for breaking wind loudly in front of a group of policemen on June 5. The man had behaved provocatively during an encounter with officers, according to police, and when he got up from a bench, he “let go a massive intestinal wind apparently with full intent.” The man was cited for offending public decency. An officer commented, “Of course no one is reported for accidentally letting one go,” but “our colleagues don’t like to be farted at so much.” The Chronicle ran the story under the headline “Farting fine,” which it clearly wasn’t.

Caveat lectorem: When readers submit comments, they are asked if they want to receive an email alert with a link to new postings on this blog. A number of people have said they do. Thank you. The link is created the moment a posting goes online. Readers who find their way here through that link can see an updated version by simply clicking on the headline above the posting.

Needing a break from the political scene, I spent much of the past week photographing the critters that show up at Mitchell cabin.

Eleven blacktail deer grazing near Mitchell cabin last Saturday.

Following the deer up the hill were 21 wild turkeys.

Which led to an unusual stare-down.

For almost three years there’d been a dearth of possums around Mitchell cabin, but this past week two showed up on our deck after dark to nibble kibble.

Here a possum and raccoon dined together with no confrontations Sunday evening.

Raccoons, of course, are fairly comfortable around a number of other animals. Here four of them ate kibble alongside a skunk last fall.

And here a possum dined contentedly between two gray foxes just outside our kitchen door awhile back.

But the most integrated dining I have seen were this possum, fox, and raccoon, which I photographed together next to the kitchen door in 2011.

Monday morning Lynn woke me up so I could see this sharp-shinned hawk on the railing of our lower deck. The young hawk’s expression is mighty stern, and I fear it may be hunting the birds that show up on our upper deck to eat birdseed. (Photo by Lynn Axelrod Mitchell)

In short, not all wildlife live in harmony around here.

Caveat lectorem: When readers submit comments, they are asked if they want to receive an email alert with a link to new postings on this blog. A number of people have said they do. Thank you. The link is created the moment a posting goes online. Readers who find their way here through that link can see an updated version by simply clicking on the headline above the posting.

Some critters get along with their animal neighbors better than we might expect. Here’s a look at some inter-species neighborliness that’s caught my eye around Mitchell cabin.

A curious black-tailed doe watches a housecat clean itself.

A great blue heron goes gopher hunting near Mitchell cabin beside a grazing deer.

Seven wild turkeys hunt and peck alongside four black-tailed deer.

Wild turkeys, in fact, can often be found roaming around with other creatures, such as this lone peacock.

A scrub jay and a roof rat comfortably eat birdseed side by side on our picnic table.

Towhees are nowhere near as brazen as jays, but this one seems unconcerned about eating next to a roof rat.

Raccoons and skunks manage to dine together on our deck almost every night. As previously noted, raccoons, like dogs, identify each other by sniffing rear ends, including the backsides of skunks. The skunks often shoulder aside raccoons while competing for food but for some reason never spray them.

Another milepost in inter-species mingling: a possum, fox, and raccoon eat nose to nose to nose outside our kitchen door.

Three months ago, I resumed updating this blog weekly after a 14-month hiatus caused by eye problems. My renewed blogging seemed to be going well when almost a month ago, I suddenly found myself unable to post new material. Thanks to diligent work by webmasters Janine Warner, who used to be a reporter at The Point Reyes Light, and her husband, Dave LaFontaine, an online-journalism prof at USC, the problem has now been corrected.

What had gone wrong? In trying to figure out what had sabotaged this blog, I took note of what else was getting hacked and who appeared to be doing the hacking. When I looked at what the news media were reporting, the likely culprit became clear. Based on timing alone, I’d have to say this blog had been targeted by the Kremlin.

Vladimir Putin (upper left) was no doubt miffed by the coverage he’s been receiving in SparselySageAndTimely.com. You may be skeptical because you think Putin is unlikely to be reading this blog, but bear in mind Kremlin computer systems scan the entire Internet for him.

And that’s the whole post-truth explanation for why much of this posting is a week or two late.


Our fact checker nose.


This year’s yuletide in Point Reyes Station has been colorful, cold and wet. The annual Lights of Life celebration was held Dec. 2 and was highlighted by the lighting of the town Christmas tree, which is located between the Wells Fargo Bank and Palace Market parking lots.

As always it was a festive event, but this year it also had a somewhat sad cast, for the old tree will be cut down next month.

The tree is on Wells Fargo property, and people at the bank told me it is dying and that they’re worried about dead limbs falling on the public. The pine looks basically sound to me, but I’m no arborist.

Harmony Grisman, played a guitar as usual, and led a crowd beneath the tree in singing Christmas carols.


A few blocks away, the Dance Palace Community Center  held its annual Holiday Crafts Fair from Dec. 2 to 4. Dozens of craftsmen showed off their work. Women at two tables sold holiday-themed treats to raise money for Tomales High student scholarships.

Fairgoers inspected bowls and vases by Inverness ceramicist Molly Prier (right).

At a nearby booth, Point Reyes Station jeweler Kathy Hunting offered an array of pins, necklaces, and other jewelry.


Elsewhere in West Marin, a Holiday Art Fair and silent auction was held in the San Geronimo Valley Community Center on Saturday on Dec. 2.

The Bolinas Winter Faire was held Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Dec. 2 to 4.