Night walk – Summer
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Welcome to a night walk at the Penquis virtual nature center. Summer sort of seems lazy here, but there are critters out and about. Some of them may try to charge you a toll in blood, so make sure you have your repellent. I have some if you need it. We may or may not hear owls tonight. They are finished breeding and don’t call as much at this time of year. However, there will be other animals if we just listen hard.
We are in the garden now where we have made plantings directed at fragrance and textural experiences. Take a moment to sniff at the combined scents. Come to the sound of my voice. OK. Now rub the leaf I am handing you. Right. Mint. We have several varieties growing here. We also have peonies, lillies. That is the lilly garden to your right. Feel the smooth, lance-shaped leaves as they join the stocks. Sort of a spicy fragrance, isn’t it? And listen to those insects. They are saying their name: Katy-did, katy-did. Or so people tell me. I think they are squeeking. They make the sounds by rubbing body parts together. OK, do you want to continue on, or head back inside?
Glad you stayed. Listen to that. Know what that is? Right, whip-poor-will. The accent is on the first and last syllable which distinguishes this species from a relative farther south, the chuck-will’s-widow. Of course, some people feel like the bird is saying purple-rib. You make up your own mind.
Smell anything interesting? Right, that’s our rose garden. They are in full bloom right now. Just lean down to your left and smell. Rich fragrance, isn’t it? The whip-poor-will is still at it. They can go on for hours, especially when you’re trying to sleep. While I think of it, here’s a plant that isn’t usually considered a fragrance treat. Come to my voice and I’ll guide you. Smells familiar, doesn’t it? That’s a tomato, a cherry tomato. It’ll be a few days before the first crop is ripe, then I’ll fight the critters for them.
Hear that? (long)(WK) American toad. If we listen carefully, we may hear another frog or two. Yes, there’s one.(long)(WK) That’s a green frog. Listen beyond those two. That’s not a frog! Know what that is, don’t you? Right, a barred owl. Who cooks for you, who cooks for you-all? Glad we heard one owl tonight.
Frogs call for mating purposes just like birds do. However, birds also are much more territorial than are amphibians, so part of birdsong is territorial announcement, too. Bullfrogs are about the most territorial of the frogs in our area. However That one is not a bullfrog (long)(WK). It is a gray treefrog.
Just enjoy the smells of the garden for a moment. Oops, that one isn’t particularly enjoyble. Get that odor? Someone just annoyed a skunk somewhere not too far away. Hear that? (DVG) It’s a little difference of opinion between two skunks. That’s why the smell. On that note, let’s head back inside. Oh, wait. (long)(WK) Speaking of bullfrogs. On these still nights we can hear them from all the way down at the beaver pond. Well, thanks for coming.