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Spooktacular Halloween

>> Friday, October 30, 2009

Although I am not generally much of a holiday person, I do have to say that I like Halloween.  Part of my appreciation for the holiday is that it provides an excuse for costuming.  It is great fun both to make a costume, and to have the opportunity of being one of my many alter-egos for a few hours (more on that in a few days).

I also love one of the other key accoutrements of Halloween:  all things creepy.  Thus, Saturday evening Spouse and I betook ourselves off to one of the local Halloween festivals for a taste of the season.

Beaver Lake Nature Center is a lovely spot for a quick ramble in the woods, and in fact was the place where I spent my great summer camp week as a kid and first earned the nickname for which this blog is named.  We do not go there often now because the dogs can't go in, and if we're headed off to the woods for a weekend jaunt we generally want to burn off as much basset hound energy as we possibly can.  But it is a nice little spot, and they do a wonderful job with the Halloween festival.

Sadly, in such low light conditions I needed a tripod, and possibly a remote, to get decent photos of the jack-o'-lanterns.  I had neither.  But a few pics of the pumpkins did turn out okay, so I thought I'd share.

It's hard to see how big this pumpkin is - but just note that it's sitting on a full-sized pallet:

Someone's got a deliciously warped sense of humor:

 And this one was just impressive:

Possibly even better than the pumpkin display (which was way more amazing than these few poor shots show) was the raptor show.  A wildlife rehabilitator gave a brief presentation and shared a few of her friends with us.

Meet Victor the Vulture, who I understand was stolen from the wild as an egg, then hand reared by a human until confiscated by the Department of Environmental Conservation:

Too tame to be released to the wild, he performs at regular educational programs.  I learned that vultures' primary self defense mechanism is the ability to projectile vomit the most noxious substance conceivable.  Icky.  But I can't help it - I love vultures.  They're cute in a hunched up cartoony gloom-and-doom sort of way.  Just look at that ickle naked pink face!

Also part of the show was a screech owl who had been hit by a car, and just "isn't quite right in the head" so can't be released back to the wild.

Screech owls are just too cute for words.  Check out those weenie little ear-like tufts!

And finally, this fellow kind of gave me the creeps when he looked right at me.  Another victim of a collision with a vehicle, this great horned owl suffered brain damage and cannot fly well enough to be released.

Talk about a grouchy expression.  I wouldn't want to cross him.

The raptors weren't the only cool critters on display.  Also present was some sort of reptile in a sweater:

Query: does a sweater do any good on a cold-blooded animal??

And I shall leave you with a demon with a tarantula.

Nice and Creepy.

Happy Halloween!


Ellen Rathbone November 3, 2009 at 3:51 PM  

Oooo - very cool! I started my naturalist career at Beaver Lake! You must've been a camper there after my time!

I'm glad to have discovered your blog!

Woodswoman Extraordinaire: November 3, 2009 at 4:27 PM  

Hmm. I actually did have a counselor named Ellen when I was there...! Must have been maybe 1988ish? My counselors were Ellen, Judi and Dave...

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