Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Unexpected, but welcome, visitor

Meet Stumpy!

It seems that our little furry creatures are far more observant than we may have given them credit for.  Chippie has been a regular daily visitor to our garden.  Stumpy is another little chipmunk who lives in a garden across the street.  Whilst having a drink with our neighbor earlier today Stumpy arrived and casually sat at my feet looking up expectantly.  I dug around in my pocket and found a peanut which I offered to him.  Sadly, yes I have taken to carrying peanuts in my pocket just in case.  He took the nut, licked it and tucked it in the side of his mouth, as is customary for chipmunks, and scurried away.  I can only assume that it is considered the height of rudeness in chipmunk etiquette to eat it immediately in view of the donor.  Thinking no more of it we drank our drinks and left.

Later this evening we were sitting out enjoying the warm sun after supper, reading quietly.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw a movement and then felt a familiar bustling about my feet.  Looking down I expected to see Chippie.  But no, Stumpy had obviously decided we were worth investigating and far from scurrying off earlier must have hung around to see where these new people had their nest.  No doubt he thought we must be a soft touch carrying peanuts around in our pockets and possibly he wondered if there would be more waiting for him if he was to make a little journey across the street!

Between the two of them they are providing endless entertainment.  Chippie believes very much in conservation.  Of energy that is, especially his own.  His approach is still quite cautious, but once he has reassured himself that we are kindly souls happy to provide food he now refuses to leave until we have given him three nuts.  All of these he manages to tuck in his cheeks, does some final investigations, you never know we may have a fourth one hidden away, before making off for home.  This means he gets more nuts for less work.
Chippie goes for a hat trick!

Stumpy on the other hand is more bold.  He wastes no time weighing us up, he simply bounds in and sits at our feet like a begging dog.  It seems not to occur to him that we'd do anything other than offer him food! Like an impetuous teenager he took the first nut and headed for the steps.  He did this a couple of times.  On the the third visit he got to the steps and stopped.   The penny had dropped.  He came back for a second nut which he licked and successfully tucked in his cheeks along with the first one.  Looking VERY pleased with himself he took off in a different direction and decided to go through the fence.  It was the funniest thing to see him, cheeks bulging, trying to get through a gap too small.  He turned his head this way and that determined to fit through, but then conceded defeat and decided to take the stairs.

Today I hung up a hummingbird feeder in the hope that we'll get some more visitors to entertain us.  I also saw the most enormous mosquito.  It wasn't just wearing a coat, it had jack boots on too.  Needless to say I made a hasty retreat indoors.  I spray myself from head to foot EVERYDAY but I wasn't taking any chances with this one, a not so welcome visitor.  Trouble is DEET isn't exactly Dior is it?! PHEW!

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