River Otters at Evergreen Ponds

River otter eating a fish, within a small rock enclosure in the small pond.

Our area of Maine loves nature news. So when we heard in the news that there were visiting river otters in the ponds at Evergreen Cemetery, we joined many other Portland residents to go to the cemetery to see if we could see them. And we did! We saw this one in one of the small upper ponds, diving under the water to fish, and then emerging in this little rock cave to eat. We also saw one in the big pond, walking on the iced areas in between diving beneath the open water to fish.

River otter on the ice near a thawed opening in the water.

It has been a while since we’ve been to the cemetery. I used to walk over to these ponds frequently, but haven’t had the energy for an hour-long walk lately, so we drove over this time. Sometimes it is wonderful to be alone in the natural world, to see the secrets of plants and animals revealed to a quiet human visitor. But sometimes it is just as wonderful to be with other humans who love these secrets, and can’t resist our animal relatives. There is a sense of kinship with each other, we chat about the sightings, we notice how skilled the otters are at catching fish, we share our tales with new arrivals. There are children and elders, and every age in between. Outside with each other.

Finally, when the otters had hidden behind the back of a little island, I took a walk around the big pond, carefully making my way over tree roots. I couldn’t resist also taking photos of this lovely blue heron–much easier to catch than otters, since it likes nothing better than standing still on its perch on the log.

Great blue heron standing on one foot, perched on a dead log in the pond.

When we first arrived, before we saw the otters, I also happened to catch her scratching her head. Maybe wondering about the sudden abundance of humans wandering around her pond. But not letting that disturb her equanimity and perfect balance.

Blue heron scratching her head, while standing on a log in the pond.

May our animal relatives find all they need to thrive that they may live long upon the earth. May we human animals wake up to our interconnection with all beings, that we may find a way to turn from destruction to mutuality.

Waiting

Solar Panels all upSo all the panels were completely up on the roof by the end of Tuesday, and the electrician was supposed to come this morning with the installer to hook everything up and get it started.  But he mistakenly went to another job, and our installer was only able to do the internet hookup.  I was so frustrated after being so excited about this being “the day.”  And it was such a lovely bright sunny day too.  Now they are supposed to come tomorrow morning. Meanwhile, I did the paperwork for Central Maine Power to authorize our power generation and net-metering.

And on a different note entirely, I took a walk Wednesday to Evergreen Cemetery and saw the baby owls again, and also this lovely great blue heron fishing in the pond.  I intercepted the Maine Audubon warbler walk and met some birds I hadn’t known before, though my small camera was unable to get photos.  But I did get better at shifting from naked-eye view to binocular view without losing sight of the birds.  I saw a black and white warbler, a chestnut-sided warbler, a blue-headed vireo, and a northern parula. On Monday I saw and heard a wood thrush.

Maybe the blue heron can offer me something in the way of patience. It just kept walking around the pond, looking for fish I presume, and then being still and quiet as it watched and waited.Heron