Thursday, October 6, 2016

October 6- Island Wildlife

My friend Lesley asked me to share a favorite song on her blog today. She is writing for 31 Days about how music lifts and inspires. Click above and treat yourself.

“And this, our life exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.”

“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”

- William Shakespeare

The island is largely rural. As a community we try to protect the natural, beautiful world around us. In my own yard I can commune with birds, squirrels, raccoons, and deer, plentiful deer. Right now a family of deer came through under my kitchen window. They are not afraid and I wish they had a little more shyness about humans. Due to the deer population, growing a garden happens only behind six foot tall fences. They eat everything, as they are snackers. If they leave your geranium alone today, they will get it tomorrow. 

  A cougar has taken up residence on the island after swimming from the Kitsap Peninsula during a minus tide. The cougar sightings began about six weeks ago, with close encounters in some cases. 

Recently, The Nature Center has set up wildlife cameras to track the cougar's movement. There are deer and other food sources for the cougar, but it will likely leave the island someday to find a mate. A cougar's range is about 50-150 square miles, and the island is only about 35 square miles. It is extremely rare to see a cougar, much less on the island. Nevertheless, take out a small insurance policy on your chickens and small dogs. 

   With respect and affection, I include in this treatise about wildlife, our more eccentric islanders. This is a safe place for those among us who have challenges. Most newcomers won't remember Gary but he is immortalized as a wood statue along the main highway. Gary hitchhiked to town, about half a mile, everyday. Those who knew him, picked him up. He intimidated me a little because he was often angry. I remember him yelling at cars, chainsaw in his hand, trying to get someone to pick him up. My husband took him to town frequently. One particular day he had a large piece of drywall, stretched over his back. Just before Mark pulled over, a gust of wind created lift beneath the large white board and flipped Gary onto the ground. He was not amused. Gary was hit by a car in 1998, along this main highway because he was recklessly in the road. His friend, and artist, Gene, carved the statue and it reminds me that if we are generous of spirit we can live peacefully together.

I am writing for 31 days this October about Island Life. Click here to see the other days of writing.


  1. Deer and squirrels, yes...cougars, no! That is very frightening. To be out for an early morning stroll and come upon him...yikes!

    I'm not sure many people would pick up a chainsaw-carrying man on the highway, especially if Texas Chainsaw Massacre is anywhere in the recesses of their mind! Wow, that statue of him is amazing. What talent his friend Gene has.

    Have a beautiful day,

    1. The cougar may have attacked some sheep yesterday but it also could be coyote.

  2. I love these little insights to your life on the island. The deer are beautiful and I love the statue. Gary sounds like an interesting character- I can see why people were hesitant to pick up someone who is angry and holding a chainsaw!
    And thanks for sharing at my blog today.

    1. Lesley, you are very kind for asking and accepting my words.

  3. That's amazing that you've spotted a cougar!! My 4-year-old is longing to see a mountain lion one day - a goal that I'd happily skip!

  4. I adore the fact that someone took the time to make a tribute to Gary even though he was a difficult person.

    That cougar picture is crazy. In West Tennessee we still have the occasional cougar, a friend came upon one a couple of years ago a couple of miles from our house while fishing. Surprising since we are in a busy suburb of Memphis, but we regularly see deer, foxes, woodchucks, otters, and the occasional coyote. I'm always surprised by how well wildlife can adapt to an urban environment as long as some patches of woods are left untouched.

    Loving your series!


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