June 6th, 2021

blackhat

(critter watch, cats, dawg)

Delight yesterday was enabled to being alerted to something outside by Carrie. Marlowe was stalking towards the wild back corner. I released the hound, on the theory that Carrie might startle off a mourning dove that Marlowe might actually catch. I watched Carrie bark-barking towards the woods and Marlowe staring towards the glade and finally saw what Marlowe saw. A nice sized raccoon rolling-strolling towards the "pool" -- the wading pool sunk into the ground which a pickerel frog has been frequenting. The raccoon got into the pool and, i presume, was hunting around for said frog. Marlowe stared, Christine and i stared. The 'coon hoisted themself out of the pool, and began to amble back towards the woods. Finally Carrie sees the 'coon and begins even more barking. The 'coon turns and stares at Carrie. Marlowe bolts to the deck (GOOD CAT! COME TO SAFETY!). After a good long stare, the 'coon resumes ambling back to the woods. Carrie continues barking. And barking. And barking. The poor dear finally came in, exhausted.

I am more confident now that raccoons (and maybe possums) are what she is barking at in the evening in the dark. I do think the deer are not that bold.

Later my mood was smashed. Carrie came running from the front room and wanted out NOW. I looked out to see Marlowe with a yellow form in her mouth. Carrie gallows over, steals it from her, and it takes me a few minutes to recover the hooded warbler's body. I take it to the glade, and bury it in the leaves underneath the copse of trees. I sit on the bench in front of St Francis and hope that i am doing more good for critters on the whole than not, knowing the lithe, grey angel of the hunt that is Marlowe has years ahead of her. Edward was a competent hunter as well and could probably still manage rodents, reptiles, and amphibians. (I can't imagine him catching birds now; he did in California.)

I know people have more enclosed spaces to keep cats from expressing all their predatory instincts. We've compromised on our fencing investment: deer out, dogs and cats in. Big enough for Carrie to run laps. My fruit trees have to cope with shade, but the chestnuts will be more or less protected from squirrels by Carrie. Part of the compromise is there is no separate "catio" and Marlowe is hunting. I guess i should prune the lower limbs of the spicebush plants back in that wild corner. I think one of the young dogwoods is already infected anyhow. Maybe a bigger gap between ground and branches will help the song birds.

On a slightly different note -- how was Carrie able to know that Marlowe had the bird?
This is also posted at https://elainegrey.dreamwidth.org/855213.html .