Wildlife

I like most non-human animals a lot more than I like humans. In general, whenever someone attempts to insult a human by calling them some other animal, the real insult is to the non-human animal.

This is my true passion and drives the bulk of my vacation time and weekend time. I travel locally within a fairly large radius for long weekends to find a variety of wildlife in the region. Canoing and hiking are my main ways to get views of the wildlife. I tend to find that canoing offers better viewing being both quieter and always in water, a major wildlife attractor.

If you are serious about finding wildlife, especially mammals, but even birds as well, you will likely find that they are crepuscular, active at dawn and dusk. This makes viewing easier in late fall when days are short than in late spring and early summer when days are longest.

On travel to exotic locals, I often end up guided, though of late, my wife and I have tried some travel without guides. Belize is excellent for this. With guides, I tend to find that the more experienced a guide is, the slower they go. If your guide walks quickly s/he is probably less experienced or is trying to get to a specific locale and will slow down there.

So, around home, I tend to try to emulate this. I tend to walk slowly and as quietly as my ridiculous camera pack allows. Paddling is also best done slowly and quietly. This is easier than hiking quietly, especially in an inflatable canoe. Even if you inadvertently hit the side with the paddle, in an inflatable, the sound is muted.

Anyway, feel free to ask any specific questions about wildlife viewing and I’ll do my best to answer.

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8 Responses to Wildlife

  1. Higghawker says:

    Scott, I ran across this video this morning. Have you seen anything like this before? William

    http://tinyurl.com/2dzz4k

    [ed. note: Replaced with tinyurl.]

  2. Misanthropic Scott says:

    Higghawker,

    I’ll check later today whether I can view this on a windows box. It didn’t work on my mac.

  3. Misanthropic Scott says:

    Higghawker,

    Pretty cool footage. I hadn’t seen that before. However, when walking through the tundra looking for arctic wolves, our guide pointed to a mess of white feathers and asked if he’d already shown us his exploding ptarmigan trick.

    Obviously, the real explanation was that a wolf had eaten the ptarmigan and left over the feathers. But, it really did create the appearance of a bird that simply went poof. All that was left were the feathers.

  4. bobbo says:

    So Scott—what is it that you “like” about animals? And to forewarn you where this might go, does it matter at all they give not one whit for you?

    You surely find the same attraction or similar appreciation in non-animal nature–thunderstorms, ocean waves, the wind int rees etc?

    Actually, why any distinction in a holistic apprieciation INCLUDING PEOPLE? I often get a warm fuzzy feeling when I see a small group of people actually getting along with one another? If we humans are just another animal—there really shouldn’t be much distinction.

  5. Misanthropic Scott says:

    I too get that warm fuzzy from small groups of people getting along with each other. I don’t hate individuals. I hate our species. As for why I make the distinction about loving wildlife and hating humanity, there are many reasons here are a few.

    Human behavior is relatively common to see and well understood by all. Behavior of other animals is often a lot more interesting by being novel and often in some ways similar. Both the differences and similarities are great sources of interest to me.

    I don’t include humans in this partly because the behavior is so commonly seen that I tune it out.

    I don’t like humanity because of its huge negative effects on itself and all other species on the planet. When predators eat prey, it is tragic from the prey’s perspective, but does not cause lasting damage to the planet. It does not cause mass extinctions.

    Humans are just another animal. However, our technology adds a new demention, deliberate spelling. We are just smart enough to create a tremendous amount of technology. Yet, we are not smart enough to stay in control of the situations that arise as a result. We have caused mass extinctions even prior to the invention of agriculture through the high technology of the Clovis point or similar weapon. Only in Africa where people evolved did animals have a healthy fear of us and not end up dying off in droves.

    With agricultural technology, we stepped it up a notch. We began our long history of habitat destruction that resulted in still more loss of life. Whole habitats have been plowed under and subverted to use solely by humans and the crops and animals on which we depend. This has been disastrous.

    Now, with the industrial revolution, we have surpassed any expectations one could reasonably have for any prior species on the planet. Now, we have the ability to stop the ocean conveyor belt dead in its tracks. Now we can cause the entire ocean to become anoxic. At such a time as we do this, bacteria will begin breeding in large numbers.

    These will be bacteria that produce sulfur as a byproduct. As the oxygenated layer of the ocean thins eventually to nothing, the hydrogen sulfide gas will be released into the atmosphere in toxic concentrations. So, while the vast majority of the ocean’s multicellular species will already be dead, the toxic gas will do the same for the land based multi-cellular life.

    This is very likely what happened, obviously without human cause, at the Permian/Triassic boundary. In fact, four out of five of the great mass extinctions on our planet were likely caused by non-anthropogenic global warming. This time, we are the catastrophe. Read “Under a Green Sky”, listed on my books page, if you thirst for more information on this subject.

    Does that about say it? What do you think the odds are that we will solve this problem caused by technology with more technology? If we do, do you think we can also solve the other 11 problems listed in the Collapse, all twelve of which must be solved if we are to prevent global civilizational collapse. Eleven out of twelve will not be an A; it will be complete and utter failure.

    Have a nice day! Sorry to be so depressing … it’s just reality.

  6. bobbo says:

    It is depressing. But accurate. Over time, all possibilities will be expressed. When one of those possibilities is human extinction, hard to think it won’t happen. And as stated in Murphy’s Law==usually in the worst way at the worst time.

    Whats wrong with humans though is as you say not in the individual, but with the mass effect. Sadly, by the time the majority needed to take action comes to that realization, the tipping point has been exceeded.

    Only bet left is which of the many ways will be the one that takes us down? The best scenario is that the die-off is not complete and that “we” learn from it, but not much evidence of that ever happening either. If we could learn from such evidence, we would already be taking action–and we aren’t. And Bush still has 80% approval among CPAC members. Maybe we just don’t deserve to exist?

  7. Higghawker says:

    Scott, I ran across this video. Hope you haven’t already viewed it? Higghawker

    http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/206

  8. Thanks Higghawker. That’s truly amazing. I love that last octopus. Actually, the whole video is great.

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