Instead of bird and nature news, today is devoted to my sweet cat Emmalina who passed away yesterday at age 14 with a massive tumor in her belly. She was the soul and spirit of our house and we miss her at every turn. If you’ve lost a pet I’m sure you understand.
We adopted Emmy at Animal Rescue League (now Human Animal Rescue) in September 2006 when she was five months old. She had been a stray and was very thin but she was beautiful. I chose her because she purred so loudly while I petted her on my lap.
Emmy captured our hearts and earned a longer name, Emmalina, both of which I use when writing about her (see links below). She was an indoor cat but that didn’t mean her life was boring.
In January Emmalina started losing weight but the vet couldn’t find anything wrong; the cancer was sneaky. This month she declined rapidly. Unable to eat, she slept most of the time and was no longer herself. We began to miss the kitty she once was.
Emmalina never lost her purr until her last days on earth. That’s how I knew her end was near.
Sleep well, sweet Emmalina. See you on the other side. Much love, Kate.
If you live in a forested area shown gray on the map below, chances are you’ll encounter a porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum) some day. In Pennsylvania you have an even better chance to see one in the summer because young porcupines, born in May or June, stay with their mothers until they’re six months old.
If you see a baby porcupine, what do you call it?
Find the answer and amazing facts about porcupine social behavior in this vintage article: I’m a Porcupette
(photos from Wikimedia Commons; click on the captions to see the originals)
Every night gardeners roam Pennsylvania’s forests and trim the vegetation. We see their footprints in the morning and the landscape they’ve left behind. Our nighttime gardeners are white-tailed deer.
Unlike human gardeners, deer cut back the plants they like instead of removing weeds. It’s easy to notice what they over-browse (see arborvitae above), but the mix of plants they leave behind tell a story of poison and preference. Last weekend I decided to read that story in Schenley Park.
In early June the forest floor is green with native plants that deer won’t eat and invasive aliens that deer don’t like.
The “poison” story:
Native plants that thrive in Schenley Park are those that are toxic to deer.
No matter what stage your local COVID-19 shutdown is in — whether it’s active or about to end — make a list right now of the unusual and wonderful things that happened while we stayed at home so we don’t forget.
When the shutdown eventually ends I will miss amazing wildlife in cities, free time, no traffic, and clean air.
Here’s #1 on my list:
?Ain’t nature great when it’s claiming back it’s home ?
Above, a pride of lions takes a nap on the road just outside Orpen Rest Camp on 15 April. Click on the photos in the tweet below to see closeups of the lions.
Kruger visitors that tourists do not normally see. #SALockdown This lion pride are usually resident on Kempiana Contractual Park, an area Kruger tourists do not see. This afternoon they were lying on the tar road just outside of Orpen Rest Camp. ?Section Ranger Richard Sowry pic.twitter.com/jFUBAWvmsA