Can you spot him?
(Hint: toward the left, right next to the tall grass.)
Enlarged so you can see the little guy!
Wait -- where'd he go?
Yeah, I know, he's super hard to see. Alfie didn't see him at first, just smelled him. Mr. Rabbit was stock still til we got right up next to him, then jetted off with a flash of white tail...I said, "Bunny!"...and since that moment, I cannot say that word (b-u-n-n-y) without Alfie going on High Alert.
Then, the other day we were in a new park and I saw a giant lump of brown next to a pond, which I at first took for a stump. Charissa said she thought it was alive...turned out to be a ginormous woodchuck. Honestly, he must've weighed more than Alfie. I'm glad he lumbered off into the woods while we were still a long way off!
Much smaller and cuter are the tiny spotted and striped ground squirrels, which seem to be everywhere around here.
And of course, you can't have small mammals without their predators...I've enjoyed watching some amazing hawks, and, if I'm up early enough, owls. Less appealing to me are the snakes. Last night Alfie spotted a (harmless) garter snake slithering in a panic across our path, where he'd been sunning himself. While house hunting recently, the girls saw a stunning red milk snake -- you know, the ones that look almost exactly like the deadly coral snake? So we're standing around reassuring ourselves with, "Hmmm...'Red on black, venom lack/red on yellow, kill a fellow'...that IS how the saying goes, right?!" The Missouri Department of Conservation assures that the coral snake does not live in this state -- out of the 40-odd species of snakes here, I only really need to worry about the cottonmouth, the copperhead, and 3 kinds of rattlesnakes. How comforting...? Ah well, good reason to look where you're going.
Out of all the critters so far, though, the most annoying have been ticks. Alfie's on tick preventative/repellent, so they don't "bug" him (I comb him to make sure)...it's US they like, aarrgh! Thank goodness for Deep Woods Off.
Ticks or no ticks, there's nothing like a walk in the woods!