March 22, 2002
Return of the Racoon
When I want to bed I was at first thinking about how cold it had been the night before. It was fairly warmer that night, but before long I realized that some of that warmth was eminating from my face. I'd apparently gotten more sun than I realized that day.
Just as the sun was going down a pair of loons came into the cove. They are amazing divers and when they plunge under the surface it is hard to predict where they will dome up next or how long they will stay under. As I nodded off after a long day of paddling and hiking I fell asleep to the errie sounds of their calling as they serenaded me to sleep.
I wasn't to sleep very long though.
Soon there was to be something else to keep me awake. Around midnight I was awoken by a cute, but very pesky racoon. I've had experiences with racoons at this same spot before. One time a few years ago I'd gone to sleep after snacking on a pot of "Jiffy Pop" popcorn. Jiffy Pop comes in a little aluminum "pan" that is like a pie tin with a handle. In the middle of the night, on that previous trip, I woke up to an aweful racket. I unzipped my tent and played the flash light across the area just in time to watch a racoon amble off carrying my Jiffy Pop pan in a little hand as he ran off. What a lot of noise he made, banging that pan around! In the morning when I found the pan there was not a single kernel of popcorn left.
Well this racoon was no more quiet and much more persistant. He was getting into everything, trying to find food. I shoed him off a couple times, but he kept coming back and waking me back up. I finally gave up and let him have his noisy way, as he rearanged everything that he could possibly move.
When I got up in the morning the sounds of singing birds and frogs was interrrupted by a ruckus across the cove. There were several pairs of geese in the grass and reeds on the other side of the water. One pair of geese were wildly honking and chasing the other geese around. They would run with there necks carried low along the ground, hissing at the other geese that were running away from them.
After the cleared out the other geese I could finally see what all the fuss was about. As I sat there quietly eating my hot breakfast I could see that the bossy pair of geese had a string of little newly hatched gosslings following them around now. Geese are very protective parents and won't even tolerate the presence of their own kind for a while when they are raising their young. They can be very territorial, and when they are defending their turf they are subtle about it.