Monday, May 7, 2012

The Swamp Creature Revealed

After trekking down the Great Dismal Swamp Nature Trail for a couple of miles,
we decided to turn back for home. 
The deer flies usually come out this time of year,
and we didn't want to get caught by them as the day shortened.

 As we walked, I tallied our wild life sightings.
We had encountered one measly blue-line skink lizard, 
but hadn't encountered a black bear.
Nor birds.
Nor toads.
Nor reptiles.

But then...

As we emerged from the woods,
I saw him.
Right here:

In full disclosure, I must admit the creature
and I were separated by a ditch,
a bank of honeysuckle,
and an open field.
Not a dangerous encounter.
Not a close encounter.
Nonetheless, I still lay claim to observing the creature first.

Here's a closer look:

It is not a cat, as one hiker asked me.
It is a ground hog.
A chunky, tawny-brown, well-fed ground hog.
A ground hog happily gorging himself on tender spring grasses and clovers
and whatever else he found there.

Here's 30-second video I shot of the ground hog foraging.
He's so far away he's rather featureless,
but look for a large, moving brown dot square in the center of the frame.

Besides my ineptitude as a film maker,
the film conveys the habit of his movements. 

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