See you later, Year of the Rat

Went on my usual walk to the dyke to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Wish I could find a cattle to take a picture of to make this post more appropriate, but hard to do so when you live in an urban area.

Well, the weather was still nice this afternoon, and the snowfall warning was issued for tonight, but I am not worried about it. In fact, I am looking forward to seeing the white stuff again. But just not the rain that's following the snow. Yuck.

Puffball - this might be the same kind that I saw back in October, but it puffs now because it's all dried up.

The ground and any water-covered surfaces were frozen with a thin layer of ice or frost. Quite beautiful looking.

Looking closely, you can even see the individual ice crystals on this thin grass straw.

Today was a quiet day, compare to yesterday, and I saw many animals this time around.

Great Blue Heron

Northern Harrier

Bald Eagle

And a large flock of Snow Geese. There is definitely a negative correlation between number of humans present and number of wildlife observed!

While I was hiking along the forest edge, I came across this interestingly-shaped wood lying on the ground, and it reminded me of the way Great Blue Herons move their head to avoid eye contact with humans. Picking this piece of wood up, I stuck it into a hole of lying tree.

And voila, an artwork is finished!

The Heron

The sun was setting, so I headed back home.

I saw the heron again, but this time, there was something beside it. It was a Muskrat!

I am very excited about seeing this old friend again. Although it looks a little bit smaller so I am not completely sure if this is the same one I saw earlier this winter.

Apparently, the heron was very interested in this rodent, although it is much larger than its usual prey size. It kept stalking the poor muskrat and forcing it to jump into the water and swam further down the ditch.

I had a good time watching the muskrat swimming away from the heron, the heron walking close to the muskrat, the muskrat jumping back into the water, and so forth. In the end, the muskrat got away safely and disappeared from my (and heron's) sight.

So the heron flew away.

See you again in twelve years, Year of the Rat. But I hope to see the muskrat again soon.


Huckleberry said...

That's interesting about the heron and the muskrat. I saw that video of a heron eating the rabbit, so their prey size can be variable. Nice photos again!

PSYL said...

I just googled "heron eating rabbit" and saw the images of the Grey Heron eating a bunny rabbit. Interesting story. Thank you for the heads up.

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