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Saturday, December 15 , 2018, 2:14 am | Fair 41º


Captain’s Log: Critters Celebrate End of the Dry Season

Stop and listen, and gain an appreciation for the natural order at work

The end of our dry season marks the beginning of the season of plenty for many critters. Life gathers around water, especially in normally dry areas. But a drink of water comes with risks because critters always prey on one another or on plant life to live and reproduce. The first rains of the wet season give critters a chance for easy water and easy prey.

Capt. David Bacon
Capt. David Bacon (Ramona Lisa McFadyen photo)

Let’s be sure we understand what makes the natural order work.

The reason critter populations remain steady is because there is equal death and birth. There is bloody carnage out there, and it ain’t pretty.

The natural order isn’t about benevolent and peaceful coexistence. A critter must fight, forage and kill to survive. While pondering the dark side, remember that one day we may have to fight, forage and kill to survive — after a disaster such as a magnitude-12 earthquake, a major meteor collision, major climate change, or any other natural or man-made catastrophe.

There is a joyous reward for those willing to invest the time to take a walk or drive to a creek bed or water hole after the first rains. It is the cacophony of sounds, and critters celebrate. At times, especially in the late afternoon as darkness descends, it becomes a frightful din. I love those sounds.

Here’s an easy way to enjoy it. Take a walk as dusk approaches to the edge of a creek bed and sit down at a comfortable spot where you can overlook the water and nearby bushes and trees. I recommend bringing along binoculars, insect repellent and a good jacket.

Now, just sit there. As one of my favorite photographers likes to say to his subjects, “You no move!” The critters soon will accept your presence and go about their business — except in the case of biting insects, because you have become their business.

The decibel level will slowly rise as darkness gathers. Frogs seem to be the loudest critters, and it’s amazing how many of them live there. Watch the edge of the water among the bushes. It is fairly common to spot the critters who quietly share these fringe areas of our town, such as raccoons, possums, skunks and even coyotes.

When you’re ready to get up and walk back home, you’ll have a newfound appreciation for the natural order around us.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help.

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