Backyard Critters

….or Doo Doo Doo Lookin’ Out My Back Door.

That’s an exaggeration of course; no elephants or tangerines in our backyard. Or was it tambourines? (Is this a mondegreen;  a case of misunderstood song lyrics?)  Here are two of the most recent visitors to our back yard.

Buteo Lineatus


He/she’s been by to see us twice now.  Well, maybe not so much as to see us but rather to salivate over the plethora of plump acorn-fed squirrels which frequent our yard. Did you know that a group of squirrels is called a scurrie? Do birds salivate?


Red Shouldered Hawk


Speaking of elephants, in identifying this turtle, who is actually a tortoise, I was to look for hind legs which were “elephant-like.”

I don’t know where turtles got their reputation for being extraordinarily slow. This fellow booted it across the backyard like it was four o’clock on payday.

Gopher turtle. A threatened species in Florida.


Also called gopher tortoise. A turtle is always a tortoise but a tortoise is not always a turtle.


Proper name of Gopherus Polyphemus. Back view (as if you couldn’t tell that)


Did you know that Gus the turtle at the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History is a gopher turtle from Florida? And that he is 94 years old? Yup. No, he didn’t make it all that way on his own. A fellow bought him for five dollars in Florida in 1942 and he’s been entertaining NS school children ever since. Probably wouldn’t allow him across the border these days.

© Judy Parsons 2017.

Comment from Jon: 

To be pedantic. your shelled critter is actually a tortoise.

I am sooooo envious of your exposure to wildlife down there. To think these critters are right in your yard!
Reply from Judy: Thanks Jon. Yes, he is a tortoise but turtle is so much easier to say don’t you think.  He was big – the shell about a foot long. I hear they don’t travel too far from their nests so hopefully we will meet again. Re: wildlife envy – they don’t call it the nature coast for nothing. I’m still on the fence about meeting a gator though. And I’ve met the fire ants first hand. Oh the burning, Mommy, oh the burning.
BTW never sure what to do about the he/she thing when talking about animals. I tend to go by the sex of the person they remind me of.
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