YES, VIRGINIA – – There are birds, reptiles and animals on Presque Isle.

March 13, 2013 8:28 am Published by Leave your thoughts
Turkey at North Pier - - E. Ware

Turkey at North Pier – – E. ware

Quiet Morning on Presque Isle - - Brian Berchtold

Quiet Morning on Presque Isle – – Brian Berchtold

I constantly hear from readers that visit Presque Isle about the fact that they seldom if ever see any wildlife on the park.   Well folks, the park is teeming it.

It’s not that the wildlife is not there, it is.  It usually is that you as a visitor are usually scaring the devil out of them.  I will give you an example.   About a week ago, a cigar-smoking, loud walker ask if I was that there young fella that wrote the blog about the park.  After thanking him for assuming I was a “young fella,” I ask him how he liked the blog.   His answer was great, BUT, he never saw any wildlife out here whenever he and his buddies walked, and I always seem to see and have pictures of it on the blog.  He wondered why.
Well, folks, I knew I was in trouble.  How do I NICELY point out to him and his buddies that they will NEVER see wildlife the way they walk.  Not that what they were doing was wrong.  It was not.  They were getting exercise in the wonderful outdoors, visiting our own personal wonderland called Presque Isle, and all were enjoying the company of good friends.   All of these are great and I think they are what makes the park great.

Mom and Kids - Brian Berchtold

Mom and Kids – Brian Berchtold

HOWEVER, if they want to experience the wildlife and nature on the park, some changes need to be made in their walks.   The animals and birds, a good mile in front of these not so gentle-men, was most likely cleared of all wildlife.   Between the cigar smoke, loud talking and I am sure laughing as a group, they scared the devil out all all self-respecting birds, deer, raccoons, or any other animal.   Only the turtle, which is slow and hard of hearing, might not know they are coming.  Again, they are not wrong in the way and what they do as they walk.  They are enjoying themselves, however they also must realize that they will not see any wildlife when they walk in this manner.

Ten on a log - - E. ware

Ten on a log – – E. ware

Walkers who are interested in seeing animals and nature will need to slow down, put out their smokes, quiet down and begin observing their surroundings.  Many times on Presque Isle, I have pointed out to friends a deer, beaver, or even a coyote that they walked right by without seeing.

Over the years I have become convinced that wild animals have a sixth sense that allows them to know when they are safe with certain humans.   While working on my newest book, which features Presque Isle’s hermit Joe Root, I found that he loved to roam the woods alone bt day or night.   The wild birds and animals met him with hardly a trace of fear or suspicion they manifested in other humans.   I have heard that Joe could call hundreds of birds from the sky with his birdcalls.    He even had a series of tame raccoons that stayed with him at times.  I am of the opinion that he could tame and influence these wild spirits by letting them feel his own spirit.

If you are really interested in getting to observe the park’s wildlife, it is much easier than you might think.  Many animals have two interesting traits you can use to your advantage.  The first is that they do not see clearly so long as you hold still.  The other is that even their keen noses lose track of you after you have been quiet for a little time.   It has been my experience that animals panic with abrupt or unusual motion or loud noise.  Repeatedly when I have been sitting quietly, without hiding but with ‘neutral’ clothing, I have observed deer, coyotes, beavers,foxes, minks, hawks and many other animals on the park.

Dragonfly on Presque Isle - -Brian Berchtold

Dragonfly on Presque Isle – -Brian Berchtold

To give you an idea how this does works, a photographer friend of mine was working to get a few shots of a racoon family, so he laid down in some tall grass at the end of the woods where they lived to wait them out.   After about 15 minutes, the racoons began to cooperate.   However, he didn’t get much of a picture because a deer nearly stepped on him as it went walking through the field.   It scared the heck out of him, the deer and the racoons as he jumped up out of the grass and exited the area.   For me, I recognized this little comedy as a familiar happening  as shown by my blog last week about the weasel I ran into at Horseshoe Pond.

Still another key to seeing wildlife on Presque Isle is learning their habits.   A deer will return day-after-day to drink at a particular spot.   My favorite heron, fishes in one area of Horseshoe Pond twice each day.   The park’s foxes walk almost the same paths each morning.   If you see a deer one day, it is very likely that deer will return to that spot again.  Like we humans, animals are creatures of habit.  You and I need to learn their habits.

Looking for wildlife on the park is an art and certain rules will make your day come alive with chances to see and photograph them in their natural settings


See you on the park!!



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