Monday, January 15, 2007

Animalia


Shorn Alpaca at Greenbank


I am looking out across Lone lake through a pair of binoculars, trying to spot a friend’s house on the other side. When I put them down there is a man standing next to me. “Did you see that? He asks.
Uh, what?
“That bald eagle! It just swooped down and caught that fish right out of the lake!”
This proves that it is possible that I am sometimes in the right place at the right time. I’m just looking in the wrong direction.
So I’m going to turn my focus away from the direction of the weather (and from the view of frozen snow on the ground that everyone says never happens here) and talk about something else for a change.
Like the fascinating world of animals, for instance.

Here are some interesting stories that I have read and heard about animals of the northwest:

Here on south Whidbey island and northwest Washington in general, there are many stories of people discovering the bones of ancient woolly mammoths in their back yards. In 1977 a man was digging a pond outside of Sequim and discovered two enormous 12,000 year old mastadon tusks, 9 feet long. Several other bones were found, including the bone spear point of the prehistoric weapon that was used to kill the animal, lodged firmly into one of it’s ribs.

One pair of northern spotted owls require 2,200 acres of old growth forest for their food supply.
Because old growth forests are in short supply these days, they make do with what they can
It has been reported that a local woman discovered an owl’s nest with no less than twelve cat collars scattered about inside it.

If attacked by a grizzly bear it is recommended that you curl up in a fetal position with your face down. Talk to it so that it knows that you are only a mere human.
On the other hand, if a black bear attacks you, fight back with any weapon you can find.
It is a recommended that you learn to distinguish between these two bears.
(Actually, there are no longer bears on Whidbey island, thanks to the enthusiastic shotguns of earlier settlers here.)

Geoducks (pronounced gooey ducks) are phallic shaped clams weighing from four to fifteen pounds found by digging deeply into the sand on beaches at low tide. Aside from their unappetizing description, they are an essential ingredient in many clam chowders as well as a few colorful local jokes.

Puget Sound is home to the largest species of octopus in the world. It grows up to 12 feet across and can weigh up to 30 pounds or more. They can make themselves incredibly flat to get where they want to go, and legend has it that one of them once slid out of it’s tank and under the door into it’s owner’s bedroom. The book doesn’t say what happened next, and I am not about to speculate…

The fact that Orcas do not intentionally attack humans is one of the great mysteries of nature.

Transplanted Californians, a common type of homo sapiens found in abundance on South Whidbey, are often known to make annoying whining sounds, especially during the winter months. Otherwise they can be quite agreeable and even charming. Really.

1 comment:

geoduck said...

I love eating gooey ducks. My mother loves to make it with rice, tastes great! Though I do think you have to get used to the texture.

Check out http://www.gooey-duck.com/ for info.