Running often involves moving quickly with very little noise through green spaces. So we encounter, and occasionally interact with, the local wildlife. I’ve lost count of the number of raccoons I have met on my early-morning outings. Usually they remain cool, getting out of the way if necessary. Some weeks ago a dragonfly flew alongside me for a quarter of a mile. I have no idea why, perhaps it liked my bright shirt. Then there was a hummingbird that sat atop a fence, took off as I passed, then landed back on the fence 50 yards further along. It repeated this sequence at least five times before heading off in a different direction. I concluded that hummingbirds are not very smart.

This week I had an encounter that produced quite a bit more adrenaline. On the Bay Farm Island trail I usually run in the narrow dirt strip alongside the asphalt, but on this occasion the darkness kept me in the middle. I would probably have runs slap into a bush otherwise. I glimpsed something small and black moving fast on a converging course. Cat? Too low. Dog? Too quiet. Raccoon? Meh. At this point the creature helped me out by running into the middle of the trail and facing me with it’s tail up. The white stripes stood out well. I stopped hard and stood very still. This tableau lasted for a few seconds,and then the skunk moved off. Goodbye, Pepé Le Pew, and thanks for not spraying me.

As an aside, I used to wonder as a child why Pepé had a French accent, There are no skunks in Europe. Perhaps he was from Quebec.


3 Responses to “Wildlife”

  1. 1 Flo September 4, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    What a great post! I love tales from Nature and a Quebecois skunk is hilarious (I won’t tell my French Canadian best friend, though). I wish a hummingbird would follow me, what a beautiful vision you give us with him hopping from fence to fence.

  2. 2 Loraine McVey September 8, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    Were you wearing your bright yellow LMJS when the hummingbird incident happened? What to do if you’re skunked? Bathe in tomato juice or is that just what they say you should do for dogs …? let’s hope don’t need that one. Don’t know if I ever told you about picking the Richmond trail we do as a nice safe place for women to run alone … I’ll tell you why I won’t run there again next time I see you (there and Lake Merrit are off the list).

    • 3 jime2 September 8, 2009 at 6:59 pm

      Flo – I think the Hummingbird was trying to get away from me, but not being too smart about it.

      Loraine – The shirt was white, but one of those really bright whites that probably looks good in ultra-violet or whatever those insects see.
      I gather that tomato juice is the thing, and the more the better. I hope not to find out how well that works.

      Oh dear. that sounds ominous about Richmond and Lake Merritt.

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Race PRs

5K20:43 (LMJS 6/28/09
12K54:36 (Across Bay 3/21/10)
15K1:09:51 (LMJS 19/27/09)
Half1:31:28 (Kaiser 2012
Marathon 3;13:14 (CIM '11)


August 2009
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