I went out into the field last night one last time to see if any new moths had come in to land on the mothing sheet frame that is brightly illuminated like a beacon in the darkness to draw in moths from near and a little far off.
I found a Scalloped Sallow sitting on grass blades just beneath the sheet. It was the first Scalloped Sallow I’ve seen this fall. I like the bold patterns on the forewings of these moths, so I wanted to get a few pictures. I bent down close, and took a shot, but the moth wandered off.
You need to carefully stalk them when moths are restless. I kept in step with the moth on the ground. I must have heard a little noise to my right, or felt the scrutiny. Two little sets of reflective eyes regarded me from just outside the bright arc the lights cast.
It wasn’t a cat. I saw glossy black hair and a luxurious thick glossy tail. The little skunk was very interested in my cat-and-mouse game with the moth. Perhaps it wanted to join in. It glanced at me, then down at the moth as it came slowly toward me.
I was thinking lots of things at once, and my thoughts were going in all different directions. I found I wasn’t nervous at all because that really wasn’t the thing to be for the little skunk, and so, not for me.
The little skunk crouched down about 12 feet away from me so I started taking photos again. I wound up picking up the moth and placing it on the sheet.
I caught a hint of skunky scent and looked over to see a second set of eyes peering over the back of the first skunk. Another skunk had come up and was rubbing all around and cuddling with the first. They were having so much fun, and I suppose I had grown boring. I took one quick photo of the two as I backed up quietly. In the photo they are frozen in the act of pouncing on each other.
I stepped quietly past the little frog pond, and a frog jumped into the air off the log we had set up, and splashed into the black water. “Shhh. I said. Noisy.”
The Great Horned Owls were quiet last night. No chain of hoots fading into the distance.
Good for the skunks.
Now I know- When the Great Horned Owls are away, the young skunks do play.