The adventuresome life of a Great Pyrenees/Newfoundland dog in Northwestern Ontario

Posts tagged ‘morning patrol’

UFOs & Aliens?

I guess all of you my faithful readers have been wondering if I was abducted by aliens, eh?

Well… No. But I had a close encounter yesterday!

We were just heading off for our early morning walk. I reached the end of the wooden path when I noticed something very peculiar:

Could they be Crop Circles?

Could they be Crop Circles?

As a Bookshop Dog, I have developed a very open and scientific mind. I’ve heard about this phenomenon two-leggers call ‘Crop Circles’. The theory is that these things are made by alien spacecraft when they land or take off. Elizabeth knows a lady who says she knows the people who made the original Crop Circles in Britain, though, and that the whole alien thing is a hoax. I decided to see who was right. I took a closer look at one.

Certainly looks like something was spinning here...

Certainly looks like something was spinning here…

As a dog, I have an advantage over two-leggers. I have a sensitive and highly developed olfactory system. I have a nose for detection. And I detected a new-to-me but definitely animal scent trail. Well. I guess that technically, Aliens are probably animals too. Only one thing to do… follow my nose to the source.

I nearly bumped into this:

Yikes! It looks like a Stegosaurus tail!

Yikes! It looks like a Stegosaurus tail!

I checked it out from another angle.

Look at those claws!

Look at those claws!

But when I backed up and got some perspective, it turned out to be

the rear end of a Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina)!

the rear end of a Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina)!

The Snapping Turtle is the largest of Ontario turtles and can live up to 70 two-legger years or more. I can’t imagine living that long! They are not endangered, but they are on the watch list. They have a low reproductive rate and take a long time to mature. And two-leggers, well, some of them, like to hunt and eat them. Or just to kill them because they think they are mean old ugly things.

Once Elizabeth was invited to have some by one of the lake people she knew. She almost tried some, but when the old man mentioned that he kept them in his freezer and that they took an awfully long time to die, she just couldn’t accept any. She doesn’t really like these turtles, but they fascinate her.

This one fascinated me, too.

Snapping Turtle 1 miniI felt I had to examine it from all angles.

Snapping Turtle 3 miniAlthough she looks shy in Elizabeth’s photographs, she wasn’t really. This is a very aggressive stance, as I found out.

See how her rear end is slightly elevated?

See how her rear end is slightly elevated?

This female had made the trek up from our bay to find a place to lay her eggs. She needed to get the job done, and I guess she thought I was trying to interfere. Suddenly, she reared up on her hind legs and tail, and her head shot forward at me! She tried to snap my nose off!

Fortunately, I didn’t know her, so I was being a bit cagey myself. I managed to avoid her lunge. I thought it was very rude of her, and I began to move in to teach her a lesson. One does not snap at the Queen of the Boreal Forest without suffering the consequences!

Elizabeth grabbed my collar and took me for a little walk. I’m still ticked off with her. She shouldn’t interfere with me when I’m on the job. This was obviously a very dangerous turtle. It needed first to be taught a lesson and, second, to be banished to its watery domain.

When we got back from our walk, she was just about the same place. Elizabeth didn’t notice until she was looking at the photos today that it appears to be blood on the right side of her carapace. While I don’t condone her behaviour, neither do I wish her any harm. I hope she makes it through laying her eggs and back through the forest, down the hill and into the river again.

She does have rather lovely little eyes...

She does have rather lovely little eyes…

Elizabeth put me in the house and then went out to talk to the turtle and get some more pictures of her. By the time we had to leave for Church, the turtle seemed much more relaxed.

This is the only one Elizabeth took with her telephoto lens. The turtle didn't snap at her when she got her camera in close for the facial portraits! Hmmph.

This is the only one Elizabeth took with her telephoto lens. The turtle didn’t snap at her when she got her camera in close for the facial portraits! Hmmph.

When we got home, the Snapping Turtle had continued her uphill quest in search of sandy soil deep enough for her to make a nest for her eggs and cover them in such a way that no one would ever guess they were there. Maybe I will meet some of the baby turtles after they hatch and begin their journey down the hill to the bay….

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I Make an Awesome Discovery!

Elizabeth and I went for another of our off-road walks in the woods the other day. Fortunately, she took her camera along with us.

The Mouse's Trail Markers

We delved deep into the North Sector of the Estate. At a high point, the trees opened up and we found this system of trail markers undoubtedly laid out by mice so they wouldn’t lose their way.

Usually when I go into the North Sector, I’m on patrol. I don’t take a lot of time to view the scenery. I’m too busy chasing bad guys. I had a tough time walking through on a lead. I was distracted by lingering scents, and sounds of potential intruder activities were drifting across a nearby bay. Relaxing was a bit of a challenge.

At one point, Elizabeth had to stop and untangle me and some trees. While she was busy, I just happened to look somewhere I’d never looked before.

Jaw-droppingly Awesome

And I saw something jaw-droppingly awesome!

Just take a look at this:

Erratic Garden

Isn’t that just the most amazing watching rock you’ve ever seen? Look! It even has a bed ready-made on top!

I asked Elizabeth if we could take it home. I even said please.

She said no, it was much too heavy to move.

She told me it was an ‘erratic’ left behind by a glacier that covered this area a long time ago during the last Ice Age. It may have been carried from a long, long way away before it dropped out of the thawing glacier about – get this – 10,000 years ago. That’s human years, not dog years.

Those were the days, eh? Imagine. An Ice Age. Sounds wonderful!

I could tell that the boulder has been there for a while because the moss on top has taken a long, long time to grow. But Elizabeth pointed out something else that you might find interesting: the plants growing out of the moss on top were some of our most prehistoric, too.

These are Polypody Ferns - Polypodium virginianum.

These are Polypody Ferns – Polypodium virginianum.

Ferns don’t have flowers, so they don’t produce seeds like most of the other plants we’ve shown you this summer. They are sort of like mushrooms and fungi in that they use spores to reproduce. And these ferns were busy making lots of spores. They had them all stored up in special cases. Elizabeth took a photo so you could see:

See the round spots on the back sides of the leaves? Those are spore cases!

See the round brown spots on the back sides of the leaves? Those are where the Polypody spores are!

You can be sure I have noted the location of this erratic for future visits. I must try it out one day when I just need to take a little watchful rest time….

Morning Patrol: A Photo Documentary

As my faithful readers will recall, one of my duties as Head of Security on the Campbell Estate is Morning Patrol. This is a very serious undertaking. All kinds of intruders present a potential threat to my two-legger flock: Black Bears, Sneaky Deer, the Wily Wolf Gang, and Mountain Lions. Every morning I go out and drive them away so that my flock can go about its daily business safely.

Elizabeth managed to get a few pictures of me at work on Friday (It’s about time this blog focussed on ME. Flowers, fungi and birds are all well and good, but this is MY blog, after all!).

I think I see something up the Big Gravel Path!

I think I hear something up the Big Gravel Path!

I hastened up the path to investigate. My quarry ran off into the North Sector. I commenced my pursuit. Said pursuit lasted several minutes. I was too busy chasing to count exactly how many.

Mission accomplished. Returning to commence my patrol of the South Sector:

The terrain is rugged, but I can handle it...

The terrain is rugged, but I can handle it…

I'm 3/4 Great Pyrenees Mountain Dog!

I’m 3/4 Great Pyrenees Mountain Dog!

And that 1/4 Newfoundland part?

And that 1/4 Newfoundland part?

Comes in really handy at the ditches! BOL

Comes in really handy at the ditches! BOL

If you’re an intruder, and I find you while I’m on patrol, you’d better watch out.

I'm all business once I get into Patrol Mode!

I’m all business once I get into Patrol Mode!

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