Monday, May 7, 2012

Yesterday I was enjoying the brilliant, late afternoon sun in the back yard of the rectory when a Painted Lady butterfly crossed my field of vision. As I watched it land, I noticed there was another. After about ten minutes I realized the yard was flittering with several Painted Ladies, all apparently mating. I wonder if they came out of their cocoons in the yard, or somewhere else nearby. It was a delight and I had a hard time returning to reading my Kathy Reichs mystery, Monday Mourning.

Early this morning, about 5:15, just in between dark and the beginning of first pre-dawn light, Xena and I were in the back yard for her first morning constitutional. She was more interested in exploring, focusing on the chainlink fence on the parking lot side of the yard.

Suddenly, she ran, hell-bent for leather, from the far back corner to the gate near the parking lot, barking. I joined her at the gate to try and see what had roused her.

There was, on the lot, a hunched figure. It was standing perfectly still. Yesterday, Sunday morning, as we went out for our 6 a.m. walk, Xena had alerted me to something not right near the church office entrance, but she would not go any nearer the entrance. When, after the walk, I returned to check out what was amiss, I found a raccoon, trapped in the long, large, deep basement window well under the office windows. A wild animal removal company took it away later that morning. But I was wondering, had the raccoon come back?

However, even though it was just barely light, I could not make the shape I saw coincide with that of a raccoon. Suddenly, it took off. It was clearly a cat, but almost twice the size of any cat I've ever seen. It was no coon. It streaked from the lot along the back fence and, as it disappeared in the blind spot in the back corner opposite the lot, it reappeared in the back yard of the dentist building next door.

I remember last year reports of a bobcat in the area, near the bike path, about a block from our house. When it was full light, I went along the outside of the back fence, to the place where it joins the railing at the back of the dentist building. There was a clear, large cat paw print. If it was a household cat, it was really big!

So, raccoons, the occasional skunk, possums, a probable bobcat, and a hatch of butterflies. Who knew that living in the city could be so - wild!

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