Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Along the bike trail

It never fails: at whatever time of day I take a bike ride, I see animals along the way. They may be dogs being walked (or walking their owners, as sooo many people like to say); they may be other commonplace - but - interesting creatures.

Yesterday I rode around 2 in the afternoon, a time when I expected most animals to be napping through the afternoon heat and humidity. I knew I was wrong when soon after entering the park and starting along the blacktop path, I surprised a groundhog, right in the middle of it (and near bushes s/he could bolt into). Which is just what happened, but not till I was closer to this "critter" than I've ever been to one.

Groundhogs don't lope, they ripple along, w/ parts of their bodies undulating at different times. They look much like Harry, our orange cat, making his escape from a room when a stranger threatens to appear: he gets close to the floor and undulates quickly away.

Next along my ride I encountered two rabbits, one smaller and younger than the other. They too moved quickly into nearby bushes. Then came one black(ish) "Princeton" squirrel, who didn't move away but kept busily at whatever s/he was doing.

Finally, overhead, I saw a familiar bird soaring over the field. I want to think it was a hawk, but its flight didn't look purposeful (as I suppose hawks' would); it looked instead as if the bird was enjoying the air and the afternoon. (Was it cooler up there than on my bike?)

Maybe it was a vulture. I've been told they soar too and they're common around here. Somehow, though, it looked too streamlined for my idea of a vulture in flight; that, as well as too leisurely to be eyeing the ground for road kill.

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