Monday, July 23, 2007

Masked Bandit Alert

Sitting at my kitchen table and typing away on my laptop, I looked up to see this sight in my back garden. A mother raccoon with 5 very large kits. I rushed to the window with my camera and snapped and snapped through the glass but this was the only half decent photo. My granddaughter was delighted and stood on the chair to watch them.

I then tried to sneak quietly out onto the sundeck to take more shots, but their little heads popped up and they were off in all directions, up trees, into the garden beds and generally not willing to be photographed for your enjoyment. No, my lawn is not painted yellow, it's a late afternoon shot with sun shining through in patches.


MedStudentWife said...

A lovely picture JMB... Mom relaxed but totally watching out for the brood..

Its so nice to see "Mamas" and their youngsters :) I've been following a groundhog family with this spring's brood and the Mom has been doing the same, to a certain extent; as well as a rabbit family - all nibbling on the front lawns of where I work. Its neat to see how the babies are changing as they eat and grow up so fast in the summer.

I hope you are having a really lovely visit with your daughter and her family :D

Lee said...

How wonderful...what a great surprise. :) You were so lucky to have gotten that one photo.

Rositta said...

Great photo, my racoons only come out at night. I always thought that if they come out during daylight they might be sick? Or maybe they were just really hungry...ciao

Ian Lidster said...

I'm afraid I do not like raccoons, mainly because they like koi, and my koi cost a lot of money, and the masked bandits have decimated them on a few occasions over the years, forcing me to screen the pond. But, I admit they are cute.

Jill@Who Could Ask for Anything More said...

Oh my goodness, what a cool thing to see! And your photo is great!

Janice Thomson said...

Gosh what a view to have in your back yard Jmb! I love watching these little guys...awesome photo.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Amazing, jmb. Well done for getting the shot. I can just imagine your grandaughter's delight.

jmb said...

Isn't it cute, the mother relaxing and watching the kits? I know they are destructive since they dig up my lawn for grubs and eat our plums before they are ripe, but they are adorable looking.

Hi Lee, I was lucky to get one in focus.

Rositta, I don't know why they are coming in the daytime. I've seen them three times in the garden.

True Ian, they are a pest I know, for so many reasons, but definitely cute.

Jill, thanks, it was cute and unexpected and I was lucky to have my camera on the table with me.

Janice, I know you love nature so how could you help but love these little fellows.

Welshcakes they are amazing and lots of the shots were out of focus, just one decent and my granddaughter was just about falling off the chair but she was very quiet.
Regards to all

Liz said...

Wow, that's amazing! And I get excited about suqirels! (And I should learn to type!!!)

ipanema said...

that's a lovely photo jmb. :)

Janejill said...

Fantastic photo- what a thrill to have seem them.

Miss Smack said...

This is a gorgeous photo, especially to an Aussie like me because I have seen nothing of the sort over here! :)

Lord Straf-Bollinger said...

You lucky, lucky thing, to have actual racoons there. What I wouldn't give ...

Voyager said...

I know racoons are supposed to be pests, and once my cat came out of fight with a raccon with a torn ear, but they are so cute. And you gotta admire the Momma, five little ones are a handful!

jmb said...

Hi Liz,
I get excited about squirrels too but these raccoons were special.

Thanks ipanema, I was lucky with the photo since it was shot through the glass of the window.

Janejill, I was lucky to be sitting by the window when they were there. I've seen them once more.
Hi Miss Smack, but you have the beautiful birds to watch and listen too, as well as the odd koala and kangaroo, unless you live in the midst of the city.

Hi Lord James, they would have trouble making it to the 10th floor where you live. Do you get any pigeons?

Voyager, they are a pest but so cute anyway. These are very healthy looking ones so I guess they are dining well on everyone's fruit trees and grubs in the lawn, which means they are always digging up our lawn. Once I only saw the mother and one kit but five minutes later the rest of them staggered into view. I was really upset in case dogs or cats or coyotes had taken them.
to you all

Political Umpire said...

Cracking photo JMB, those racoons look a lot nicer than the rather grubby urban foxes we get in London. Do people consider them a nuisance? How do they interact with domestic pets? (My old Bullmastiff/Staffie cross, Boris, would have been unamused to encounter such things but I don't think he'd have known what to do with them.) Are they a protected species?

marymaryquitecontrary said...

Fantastic! I have to admit my first thought was 'Davy Crocket'

jmb said...

Thanks Political Umpire. These raccoons were very healthy looking an d they are considered a nuisance. One attacked and bit my dog a couple of years ago when we were visiting a friends house and we had to take her to the vet. In the raccoons defense she had kits and had a nest under the deck where my dog found her.
They not protected because they are doing very well indeed, populationwise.

jmb said...

MaryMary, I never thought of Davey Crocket but you are so right. The mother does look like that lying there on the grass.
Thanks for coming by.

Political Umpire said...

Hello again JMB. This sounds rather like a milder version of the environmental catastrophes that were visited upon New Zealand by importing deer and, from your homeland, possums. At least raccoons are native to North America (aren’t they?) Whereas, of course, the two species I mentioned were introduced. Some bright spark noticed that possums liked to eat trees and, since the trees were generally denser in NZ, they might do well. No kidding. There are more of the buggers than there are sheep, and they do copious amounts of damage. (Cane toads to Queensland have just sprung to mind too.) I am told they are protected in Australia; conversely, if someone could obliterate the lot of the buggers in NZ he or she’d be a rich (wo)man.

Similar views are expressed about grey squirrels in the UK (rats with tails) which have displaced the more pretty, squirrel-nutkin type reds in all but a very few areas. Kiwis like myself think they’re cute, though, as we don’t have them back home. My sister-in-law was charmed by them when she arrived but then observed, without warning, her landlord (a crusty old Scot who was a WWII veteran and former RAF Group Captain) shoot them.

We do have a funny relationship with animals. I tried to think of a coherent theory of animal rights/husbandry once. I failed.

jmb said...

Ah, Political Umpire, squirrels. That's another story. I have a back garden full of squirrels but I don't bother to photograph them. Another pest really.
Talking about the subsequent pests introduced to New Zealand, don't forget the rabbits some idiot brought to Australia which took over. We even had the great rabbit proof fence to keep them out of Western Australia. Then they introduced myxamytosis to kill them off.
Sometimes we don't know when to leave well enough alone.

Political Umpire said...

Yes indeed, and I remember a film by the same name (though it was about efforts to obliterate Aborigines rather than rabbits, less said about that the better). Rabbits are a nightmare in NZ. It is all quite tragic really. The early settlers to NZ noted that the dawn chorus was deafening - this is because birds had no natural predators in NZ at the time, and you can imagine how ubiquitous and numerous they would have been (bearing in mind every native tree in NZ is an evergreen, and therefore it really was green top to bottom).