Every time I set up for wildlife with a camera, there’s a sense of expectancy – it’s a blank page that has yet to be written and read. Sometimes it’s a boom, sometimes a bust. But almost always, especially when an area is scouted and filmed at the right time, reward is waiting. And tonight was no exception.
I sat on a remote prairie waterhole again, hoping for bucks that water there. They didn’t come, but a parade of other animals did. I’d no sooner gotten there when a raccoon came out early and took a long drink. Then, as you’d expect, the coon carefully hunted the entire pool edge, fishing around submerged grasses and roots for crawdads and big invertebrates. Green darner naiads are half the size of your little finger, and ferocious predators as they are for smaller aquatic insects and minnows, they’re just a tasty snack for a raccoon. And the deft paws of a coon easily pick them out of the underwater jungle that hides them.
The coon leisurely worked around the pool, and then made its way to the windmill tanks that fed the overflow pond. Climbing onto the tank rims, the animal looked over the clean water and decided the pool was better. So it waded back in for a second go, and finally disappeared in the grass.
Hot or not, it’s always worth watching a natural community at work. A camera is icing on the cake, so that what is seen can be shared with others.