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Tuesday, March 19 , 2019, 3:46 am | Fog/Mist 53º


Captain’s Log: RSVP to the Critter Party at the Creek

There is an annual party of epic proportions at the creek bed, and best of all, you are invited! Heck, everyone and everything is invited.

If you are a mammal, bird, fish, invertebrate, insect — or feel like any of the above — this party is for you.

What’s the occasion? Why, water in the creek and the beginning of the life cycle and season-of-plenty for many critters. Life gathers around water. Species prey on one another or on plant life to live and reproduce. This is the good life for many species.

While this is a grand glorious occasion, let’s be sure we understand the dark side. The reason why 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.

Sometimes we people forget our own history and think we can legislate it all away. As we legislate away our hunting and arms heritage for example, I worry that we lose our ability to rebuild after that proverbial 12.0 on the Richter scale, major meteor collision and other natural or man-made catastrophe. 

The bright side of the party in the creek bed (note that any local creek bed with standing or flowing water and plenty of cover brush is a party location) is the cacophony of sounds.

At times, especially in the late afternoon as darkness descends, it becomes a frightful din. I love those sounds.

Here’s a great way to enjoy it. As dusk approaches​, take a walk 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 repellant 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 will soon 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 becomes amazing at how many of them live there.

Watch the edge of the water among the bushes. It’s 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 are ready to get up and walk back home, you’ll have a newfound appreciation for the natural order around us, and you will feel very much a part of it because you joined the party.

— 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. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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