Peering Into Knotholes

Posted: April 14, 2013 in Birding, Birds, North Carolina, Photography, Travel, Wildlife
Tags: , , , , , ,

Ever since I first spied one of these:

Eastern Screech Owl, LaSalle ParkR

in a knothole in a tree, I’ve made it a habit when I’m hiking in the bush, to at least give such places a passing glance.  You’d be surprised how often it pays off.

Sleepy Chippy R 

The thing about hiking in the woods at home in Canada is that there’s really nothing out there that can hurt you unless, of course, you happen to live where there are bears or mountain lions. We don’t. We live where there are squirrels and rabbits, and while they can sometimes be terrifying, they will usually not attack.

I was a bit nervous about hiking in Florida and North Carolina because there are things out there in those woods that will kill and/or eat you. It’s recommended that you make a lot of noise when hiking in these areas so as not to startle lethal snakes and whatnot and give them a chance to get away. Hah! What about giving me a chance to get away, huh?! Isn’t making a lot of noise a bit like yelling, “Yo! Free meal, over here!?”

We decided to be extra wary, but maybe not too too noisy since we were hoping to find some interesting birds. Birds, as we all know, don’t like a lot of noise (I read that somewhere). In fact, if you announce your presence at all, they’ll just leave. Yeah, I know. Fargin’ snobs, eh?

So there we were, hiking through the woods on the Outer Banks. We were stomping lightly, I guess you’d say, and keeping a close eye on the ground for slithering and listening closely for fang-sharpening. If we were to be eaten by a snake, I was fairly sure it would come flying out from the underbrush. Still, I am in the habit of peering into knotholes, so, once in a while, I’d brave an upward glance.

Snake 1R

I have no idea what sort of snake this is or if we were having a near-death experience here, but I was praying it wouldn’t suddenly decide to unfurl itself and become hostile instead of sleepy.

Snake 2R

I’ve honestly never seen a snake do this before. Not that I see a load of snakes on a daily basis, and, generally when I do see one, I’m running like mad in the opposite direction and screaming my fool head off (and we don’t even have poisonous snakes in Canada). So technically, snakes could coil up in knotholes all the time and how would I know?

Still, we thought it was pretty cool.

  1. Wow and scary come to mind when I saw this post.

  2. Shari says:

    Wow. Birdwatching just went up a notch. Do you think possibly those are Pocahontas’ slippers?

  3. I have never seen a snake like that. Wow. I love your first photo of the owl 🙂

  4. Nightmare Logic says:

    Love this – such an original focus! Great pics… I have a robin raising 3 chicks in my apple tree knothole!

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