Monday, January 10, 2011

It's a Jungle Over Here

Cue the Tarzan yell.  I always loved watching "The Carol Burnett Show" because she did such a great imitation when the audience requested it.  I really feel like that yell would be most appropriate here in our new surroundings in the 'burbs of London.  Who knew?

The local bird population is quite vocal, though well camouflaged in the greenery.  There is a beautiful, red-headed woodpecker that seems as big as an eagle.  It's been busy in the trees surrounding our house, making the familiar rat-tat-tat.  The magpies are quite distinctive, though I'm probably the only person who finds them so attractive.  The ravens are like grackles on steroids.  They peer at me with their jet black eyes as if they can read my mind.  Maybe they were the inspiration for Hitchcock's classic.

Deer!  Honestly, I thought we had happily put thousands of miles between our SUV and these four-legged nuisances when we moved.  In Texas, I always lived in fear of some whitetail or axis hopping out in front of me on the road.  Most folks in the hill country have their own personal stories of hitting one.  I've had some near misses and hated driving at night thinking I wouldn't be able to avoid one.  So what do I see on our second day here in the new house - a fallow deer.  I just hope the local Bambi population can run fast and is wary of autos.

The most interesting resident of our new neighborhood is a pair of red foxes we've seen in the backyard several times.  The first night we heard some barking and yipping, assuming it was a neighbor's dog out in their backyard.  The motion-activated lights turned on later that evening when we were upstairs and I looked out the master bedroom window to see a pair of foxes skittering around the backyard.  Since then, we've seen them several times.  We were sitting at the dining table, which has a clear view out the set of french doors leading from the family room to the back patio, when the motion lights came on a few nights ago.  The little fox nosing around the patio looked up to spy us right inside the house, and then went back to his business with no great concern regarding our presence.  I wonder if they help control the local cat population?  

My least favorite animal tale thus far - the night when the foxes obviously caught some small animal and you could hear its pitiful cries/shrieks.  It was a most unnerving sound, but I guess they have to eat, too.  I, for one, don't want to find them nosing through my garbage in search of a meal, so I guess I'll have to suffer through them dining on the occasional squirrel or other hapless rodent.

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