"CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE GROTON KIND"
Elaine Magnan, summer resident on the pond had the pleasure of watching and photographing a young visitor that climbed up on her deck from out of  the pond.  This little fellow seemed very frightened and exhausted...He stay but a few moments and then walked off  into the woods behind her cottage. 
 Early one morning this last summer Darlene Sprague woke up and looked out the  window to discover a Common Merganser resting on the dock...In the water next to this female, patiently awaits  her mate.  They both took flight after resting for a short period of time.  These water birds are often mistaken for the Common Loon. Photos  and story Darlene Sprague
Photo'  Elaine Magnan
This young bull moose was caught on camera in early spring...Note the area above the tail,  (marked with a red x) where the hair had been rubbed off.  These bare spots are covered with a cluster of tick's. This yearling also had several tick's around it's head and  by it's eye and shoulders....                                
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Moose on the loose
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     This snapping turtle likes to call the area where the south end loons nest, home. 
I have encounter a turtle several times,  perched on a rock just a few feet away from the nesting loon.  It sent shivers up my spine knowing that it was sizing up its next meal, most likely waiting for a newly hatched loon chick.  I believe that when a new born loon chick disappears,  a snapping turtle like this one, could be the reason. The pond is well populated with these turtles. Snappers also pray on baby ducks,  goslings,  fish and carrion.   A snapping turtle is something you don't want mess with.  Photo and story by Darlene Sprague

A HUNGRY SNAPPER
Photo and story  Darlene Sprague.


                          "  Hairy Situation "
      My Adventures on the pond have varied at times. I have encountered many situations, from an angry male Loon, to a close call in the mud with a snapping turtle, nearly getting knocked out of my sail boat by a moose which almost side swiped me, and swamped by a speed boat. 
​​       In the middle of August I acquired a pontoon boat and I loved it.  My Grandchildren begged me NOT to buy a pontoon boat a few years ago,.  When I mentioned I might like to have one...They said "it was an old peoples boat". Well this old person decided it was time to get one. It was quite a change from my tippy v-hull run about. At last I could stand up and walk around without feeling like I was going to do a free fall into the water. I enjoy taking pictures and the stability is a photographers dream. I felt I had to take every opportunity to enjoy the boat before having to take it out of the pond for the upcoming winter months.
     ​I was accompanied by my best friend and companion, Muddy.  An English Springer Spaniel who has lived with me since he was a few weeks old.   I don't know which one of us enjoys the boat more, but I think it would be a tie.
     One  morning  we began our daily cruise by crossing over the pond to the other side towards the eastern shore . I was not in a hurry.   ​​The sun was shining and we just poked along enjoying the day. The water was calm and clear.   I noted something floating about 50 feet away.   It appeared to be a piece of wood. Suddenly it began to move. I slowed the boat down to get a closer look. My first thought was that it was a mink or a muskrat. As I slowly moved closer , I still had trouble identify what it was.  It began to swim toward us.  Now my friend Muddy had picked up on my interest and was intently watching and started his low throaty growl. I put the motor in neutral and told him to be quiet. We watched this swimming object move closer.    
          I couldn't believe my eyes.  It was a  gray squirrel. Swimming with it's tail straight out behind it, using it as a rudder when it changed direction. The tail was all puffed up, giving me reason to believe this is what was keeping it afloat.  Trying to sit still in the boat while Muddy starting coming unglued was a feat in itself.
​​     The little squirrel swam up next to the boat and began to try to climb up on one of the pontoons. It was making scratching noises , but could not get any traction and kept sliding back into the water.  All this splashing was getting Muddy  excited. 
    ​  ​​I suddenly felt a flash of panic. Muddy was hanging his head over the boat rail  and ready to jump ship. He was now in bark mode and started bawling like a coon hound, which was so noisy, it was enough to scare the pants off of anything,  including this little squirrel, who suddenly  abandoned his effect to climb aboard.  His destination seemed to be the east shore, so off he went.
​ If I hadn't grabbed Muddy, he would have been made  that rescue attempt, but this kind of rescue would not bring back a live survivor for sure. 
​     ​ I couldn't help but think about all the hazards this little squirrel would face swimming from one side of the pond to the other.  It would be a long ways. The danger is unlimited.  An eagle, a snapping turtle, or one of those big lunker bass could have made a happy meal out of this little fellow.  I decided to name the squirrel,  Braveheart.  A well deserved name considering this massive effort. 
     ​​ I was able to snap a few shots before the dog and squirrel show began.  So I continued on with the boat ride with many thoughts in my head as to why a little squirrel would take such a risk to swim across the pond. 
​     The springer was now on full alert watching  for movement in the water....To this very day I know he is delighted and fully aware  that squirrels climb trees and  to discover they now swim in waters that he haunts.  Must be pretty exciting for him.( because they are his favorite game of choice aside from birds)
​​     The next morning, once again we  ( Muddy and I ) began our daily ride around the pond.  This time heading north and down the west shore. The water once again was calm and clear, such a magnificent sunny morning. No noise, no boat traffic and nary a breeze.
      I noticed a small piece of wood floating in the water ahead of the boat, several hundred feet from the shore.  As I slowly started to pass this floating object I recognized it as Braveheart.  The  little fellow I had encountered the morning before.   It just had to be the same squirrel. It was too much of a coincidence not to be.  This time it seemed very exhausted.  Barely moving and laying so flat with only it's head  above water, swimming in the direction from the east shore to the west and crossing once again the width of the pond.  Wow l
​​     The little guy was all tuckered out.   Meanwhile Muddy saw the same thing I was looking at and began his low throaty growl and started going wild after seeing the squirrel in the water.   I grabbed him quickly and put a lease on and tied him up.....He was ready to jump in and go after this floating piece of fur.  After all he is a retriever. I was able to contain him and calm him down by moving him behind the steering console so he didn't have a good view of what was transpiring. 
     ​​This time I would offer the little squirrel a ride.  BUT  it would all be up to him if he took me up on it.   I would not approach the squirrel.   I had a wooden paddle aboard, which I tied about 25 feet of nylon rope to the handle and threw it out into the water.  
      Braveheart took the bait and swam towards the paddle.  My plan was to get him to climb aboard and I would tow him to the shore.  In my mind this was a great idea and a life saver for what seemed a squirrel that was seemingly about to drown, but it was his decision.  The squirrel jumped up on the paddle and the springer let out a bawl and a screeching bark that would have woke the devil.  
     Braveheart jumped off the paddle and began swimming towards shore.  I reeled in the paddle and sat quietly watching for another 5 minutes as the little squirrel slowly reached the shore line and climbed out of the water and onto a huge boulder to rest.  Then he ran down over the other side and into the woods.  
     Now that was a unique experience.  I later did some research and found that squirrels are no strangers to swimming and do it often.  Some even have been seen fishing in shallow water. Now where the squirrel found the fishing pole is another story.   That's a fact and so now you know ! 
​Darlene Sprague​
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        "Braveheart"  
         Photo/story~Darlene Sprague
 
    WHAT KIND OF BIRD IS THIS ?
               A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A TURTLE
Hmmm.....
this feels ​warm
 ​and comfy !​
Hey, Knock it off !
 Let's keep the noise down,
   ​will ya
?

THAT DID IT ! DAM DOG !
I HATE BARKING DOGS​ !
​ I AM OUTA HERE !...........​
HEY,.. ,WAKE UP !
​ IS HE DEAD ?​
Hmm warm n
​cozy, Think I'll
​catch​ some zzz.....
Sweet, maybe I can get some
rays
!
NOT AGAIN ! QUIET,  GO AWAY !
 Used to be a guy could get some
​ peace & quiet around here !
           AHHHHH
!​
WOOF WOOF,
BARK, BARK !.
YAP, YAP !
AND HOW DID YOUR DAY GO ?
This Red Neck Grebe had a close encounter with a parent loon and met its demise  when it swam into the loons territory with chicks in tow.   Pictured holding the Grebe, retired veterinarian Clinton Reichard and son in law Rob, who witnessed the attack.
Pretty exciting, just rowing around the pond in the swampy area and what a surprise I had when I looked up to see this fellow basking in the morning sun, within a few feet of  me.  Wow ! To read more about it, go to page titled  "Meet Bob".
Darlene Sprague​
Photo Elaine Magnum
Photo Darlene Sprague
They say sharks will eat anything, this one likes rocks .  So beware you never know what's in the water.
Night time visiter              Photo Gail McDonnell