Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Wednesday Vignette: Nighttime Surprises

Last Friday night I glanced out the window and was surprised to see a large orange orb hanging over the harbor.  I'd read there was to be another "blood moon" in late July but had utterly forgotten about it until I saw it.

That's the Los Angeles Harbor below the moon


Two nights later I was caught off-guard by a less welcome sight when the cat made a mad dash to the window with a loud hiss.  I saw a furry rump round the corner from the side patio along the path to the back garden.  What was a bigger surprise is that another furry creature was right behind him (or her).  Here are a few outtakes from our security cameras.

Raccoon #1 can be seen to the left of the support post in the middle of the shot.  See his glowing eyes?

He's just outside Pipig's patio enclosure now

As raccoon #1 moves toward the back garden, you can just make out another furry shape above the Mexican feather grass to the right of the post

Here's raccoon #2.  He (or she) seemed slightly more inclined to inspect things along the route but he didn't lag too far behind his sibling.  Raccoons are usually solitary foragers, which is why I suspect these 2 must be siblings.

The lead raccoon is shown here atop the fountain in the back garden, their favorite destination.  A second set of glowing eyes can be seen mid-way along the path on the right.

I turned on the dining room light at this point.  Raccoon #1 held his position but raccoon #2 beat a hasty retreat, or so I thought.

In this screenshot you can see that raccoon #2 looped around to flank his sibling on the left side.  See that second set of glowing eyes under the Echium?

That's my blond head coming out the door, flashlight in hand, as both raccoons retreated

They came back after I chased them off of course.  The seashells that fill the upper tier of the fountain were scattered about the next morning.  I didn't bother to search the camera feed for further evidence of their reappearance. 

That's my Wednesday Vignette.  To see what others have to share, visit Anna at Flutter & Hum.


All material © 2012-2018 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

34 comments:

  1. Great shot of the blood moon! "My" raccoons have been getting more active, they've started digging in my lawn and in the beds, some of which are pretty dry and dusty, making plants easy to uproot. I can see I need to put out more deterrents.

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    1. I've given up on the deterrents. The good news is that, as the garden fills in, they've been less active about digging - or possibly all the grubs they're trying to find have died due to the very dry conditions here.

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  2. A fabulous moon capture Kris. Racoons are not creatures who visit our gardens. It's interesting to see your screenshots. Do they do any damage to plants in the garden?

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    1. In the past, the raccoons drove me crazy as they routinely dug up new plants and tossed them to the side, leaving their root balls to dry out, and sometimes shredded plants, seemingly for no reason. However, they've been less active this year. It could be that a more active coyote presence is keeping them away, or that they don't sense many grubs in the soil anymore - or just plain luck...Their only positive contribution is that they eat snails and slugs.

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  3. Great picture! We don't have raccoons in this garden and I'm not too broken up about it. Love the security footage.

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    1. When we got the security cameras (in response to a high degree of paranoia sponsored by social media in our community) my husband said that their main use would be tracking local wildlife. Thus far, he's been right - but that's a good thing.

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  4. Beautiful moon shot! Sorry about your pesky raccoons! I was just thinking the other day that we haven't seen any in our garden since spring, not that I'm complaining!

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    1. I hope you haven't jinxed yourself by saying that, Peter! I said something similar about the bunnies here and, the next day, I saw a couple hop right on through.

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  5. Hehe, little rascals! You have a lovely night vista - at this time of year, probably the only time you don't mind being outside. Do garden with a headlamp? ;)

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    1. I've wondered if I should get a headlamp, Eliza! My husband installed lights in my former tiny garden to allow me to work into the evening hours but that's not as feasible here. The only downside of evening gardening activity in my book is the presence of hungry mosquitoes!

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  6. Beautiful shot of the blood moon, but darn those coons!!! Such pesky little buggers. Wonder what would keep them at bay...? (I'm sure you've tried it all, by now...) ~Anna K

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    1. Other than chasing after them when I see them, I've given up on raccoon deterrents, Anna. Planting thickly seems to be the best way to minimize their activity in the garden, although absolutely nothing keeps them away from the fountain. I still can't understand why they keep coming back to it when there's nothing in there to eat.

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  7. I can imagine that a fountain would be pretty irresistible to raccoons.

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    1. I can understand splashing around in water containing plants or, more importantly, fish but I don't understand what compels them to pick through those seashells one by one. I used to scatter shells on top of succulent pots as a kind of mulch but they went after those too! The remnant of some primal memory buried deep in their DNA maybe?!

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    2. A relative who was building a house learned not to leave toolboxes or hardware trays open, because they'd remove every single small item and lay them out on the floor. So I think it's a deep, hard-wired impulse. They like to wash their food in flowing water, too -- so your fountain has it all for them.

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    3. The fountain's water is still at night - we have it on a timer - but you're right about their curiosity. If they stopped their destructive behavior, I'd be much more fond of them.

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  8. What a brilliant view you had of the moon! We had to get up at 4.30 am if we wanted to see it! Seeing your raccoons reminds me of the night, out at our farm, when I stood at the door and watched four fox cubs playing on the front lawn. Foxes are loathed here for the horrendous damage they do to native animals, but they can’t help being foxes, and these were very cute.

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    1. The raccoons are cute too, Jane - at least from a distance. You don't want to get too close to them, though, as they've been known to stand their ground when confronted and they can carry disease.

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  9. Those glowing eyes are really quite spooky. Too cloudy here to see the blood moon. There’s a surprise.

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    1. The raccoons have rather nasty-looking claws too, Jessica, although you seldom hear of them attacking humans (unless they're rabid). I'd read that the blood moon was going to be invisible in most locations and promptly forgot all about it until I happened to look out at the harbor at just the right moment.

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  10. Great vignettes! You really have an amazing view of the L.A. harbor, and you make the most of it with your great photos! Those rascally raccoons!

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    1. The view is nice, Beth, although I'd prefer one of the open ocean accompanied by the western breezes off the ocean but one can't have everything (at least not without a lot of money).

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  11. Interesting that you can look at your camera footage to see who has been in your garden. I would probably look every day to see who was enjoying the garden at night. I bet all sorts of creatures wander through especially to the water fountain. I just hope the raccoons don't decide to relieve your garden of any grubs etc. They make such a mess of things.

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    1. It takes a long time to review the footage, Lisa, even when you ramp up the speed. It's easiest to do when you can narrow the window down, as I was able to do as I noted the time I sighted the furry miscreants.

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  12. That moon on Friday night was something. It was fabulous here, too.

    Never a dull moment on your garden cams! Thanks for sharing the activity.

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    1. It's too bad the cameras don't come with a wildlife alert to help identify activity. Scanning daily feeds isn't something I'm prepared to add to my schedule.

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  13. I saw, and enjoyed, the full moon...but there was no color to it. Am I crazy in thinking there should have been? Or does the term “blood moon” not refer to color? Your striking photo has a definite red tint to it.

    Damn trash pandas, I’m fearing their return, as it was about this time last year they discovered any and all water in my garden, even the water in the cups of my Bromeliads...

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    1. The blood moon is associated with lunar eclipses but, if the eclipse itself was visible here, I missed it. Diana of the Elephant's Eye on False Bay (South Africa) blog caught it, however. I noticed that "my" moon was orange while low in the horizon but turned its normal glowing white when it reached its zenith.

      Raccoons in among the bromeliads! I hope my locals don't discover my bromeliads.

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  14. Raccoons seem to be taking over the world. They are everywhere causing havoc. I trapped and hauled off 2 this spring that had somehow gotten into the crawl space of my house over the winter and torn down all the insulation.

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    1. Yikes! I guess we're lucky our house is on a slab - no crawl space!

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  15. My racoons wax and wane -they have been around this summer (I can tell when there is dirt in the cat water bowl outside) but they never seem to dig.

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    1. I'm hoping that as my garden fills in (assuming I stop tearing apart and replanting large sections), the raccoons will stick to hunting snails and slugs and give up the grub hunt.

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