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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Lucky Lizard and the Wildlife Refuge

The other day, I was surprised to see a stranger on my front doorstep!  A lizard!


 Could it be a one of these?  I have no idea; I just wondered if it was a 'lucky lizard'.  At the same time we spotted the lizard, my son was replacing the hubs on his car wheels and he had left the trunk open.  As I peered into the dark trunk, I took out a large bin and noticed something black tucked in behind it.  "What is this?" I asked.  His face lit up.  Lo and behold, it was his winter jacket that he had been searching for, for months ~ and in the pocket of said jacket was the spare key for my vehicle.  Yay!  Thank you lucky lizard!

The lizard becomes the latest addition to the list of wildlife creatures that inhabit my garden and yard environment.  Speaking of wildlife, I dropped in to the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre today.  This particular refuge has an interesting history, see the link.  Even though Snowbird lives way across the pond, I could imagine her popping out any minute surrounded by an entourage of animals and birds.;)  As with her recovery centre, this one relies on volunteers for assistance.

It was a bit of a dull, but warm, day which didn't lend itself to good lighting for photography...plus the birds and animals were hidden behind branches...and of course protective fencing.  Here are some highlights of my visit:

An eye-catching carving greeted visitors.


Two little bear cubs clamoring up a tree stump.  This refuge is well known for its bear recovery program. Apparently around 70 bears have been treated over the years. In February, two tiny baby bears were left orphaned when their mother was hit and killed by a truck on the highway.  Recently two more cubs (about the same age as the other two are now) were rescued.  I'm not sure what happened to their mother.  The cubs are in a large enclosure which can be seen on a webcam in one of the buildings, and it was fun to see them cavorting about, playing together as cubs do.  These bears will be relocated in the wild once they are old enough to fend for themselves so its important that they are kept isolated from people.  The sounds of the natural environment are piped in to their environment...and they are carefully monitored.

There is one resident ...  very large... bear, Knut, who was ambling about his territory.  I just missed  seeing having a splashy bath in a big tub.  Here he is in a resting area.  Can you see him?



I found a video on youtube that shows Knut being fed by hand out of a bucket...(move ahead in the video) something that is not wise in the outside world!    We are encouraged, for example, to pick all fruit from trees or off the ground, as soon as possible to discourage bears from sauntering into neighbourhoods at harvest time.  Sounds like a plan to me!

There were quite a variety of owls ~ horned, barred, tufted, all with their own story.  Here is a barred owl...a bit of an odd shot!
and another kind of owl... thought I'd remember, might be a barn owl??


Now on to the hawks and falcons:

Swainson's hawk


Red-tailed hawk:

The red-tailed hawk was hard to photograph as it was very high up and quite close to the fence.

Peregrine falcons:



Look at Emily, a Saker Falcon! (an aside:  it sounds like the falconer had the head trauma...;))


There were many interesting and informative exhibits.  The large flight centre can be viewed through small one way glass sections.  I saw some bald eagles, other large raptors and smaller birds through the little window.  There is a treatment area as well where a vet volunteers his services to wounded or sick creatures.  At the moment an eagle that was covered in oil is being carefully washed and it will hopefully be released once it is clean and has moulted again. 

On the way out, I noticed this rather disheveled looking individual on the roof, and I wondered what it was thinking...perhaps:


25 comments:

  1. Sounds like it was a lucky lizard. And it Los looks like you had a great day out.

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    1. Hi greenthumb. I was very surprised to see the lucky lizard on my doorstep, and very happy to have my only spare set of vehicle keys again. Yes, it was an enjoyable visit to the wildlife refuge.

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  2. Hope the lucky lizard stays with you :)
    The Refuge looks and sounds wonderful, a great place to drop in from time to time.

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    1. Hi Mo ~ I imagine the lucky lizard lounges under one of the bushes in the front garden, so I'll keep watch. The wildlife refuge does great work and there is often articles in the newspaper about their recent attempts to help and heal. A membership costs $35 a year, which is well worth it. Also they are happy to take extra fruit, veggies, etc.

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  3. I wish we had more lizards here.

    Thanks for the trip out it looks a great place.

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    1. I saw quite a few lizards in California, but was surprised to see one so close to home. Hope you come across a lucky lizard or two on your travels :) Yes the wildlife refuge is a great place.

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  4. Well, I'm pleased to hear that good luck has come your way, long may it stay!

    Ooooooooh......what a FANTASTIC rescue.....sighs I, now if only I could pop out of the greenery especially where those bear cubs are.....that would do me nicely.
    I simply can't imagine what it must be like working with bears and to see them so close up must be thrilling. And I wouldn't mind hanging out with the odd eagle, falcon, hawk and owl too, what magnificent creatures and what amazing work the center does! Gorgeous pics.

    Lol, thanks for the mention Glo.....btw, I didn't receive an email re this post....most odd, I'll have to keep an eye on that.xxxx

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    1. Hi Snowbird ~ I am sure you'd really enjoy the wildlife rescue centre and they in turn, would appreciate you! I can send you a little brochure and card from there if you'd like to send your mailing address to my email address. :)

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    2. What a lovely thought Glo....I can't find how to email you, my email address is dina_cuthbertson@hotmail.com so if you could email me then I'd have yours email.xxxxx

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  5. No worries Glo, your post just arrived....took it's time though didn't it? xxxx

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  6. what a lovely lizard! The bears are adorable!

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    1. Thanks CGP! More bears will be wandering around now that the fruit and berries are ripe. Hopefully they'll stay safe!

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  7. I love the lizard.. long make its luck be with you.

    Beautiful creatures at the reserve. I have so much admiration for people who rescue and rehabilitate. A fine post, Glo.

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    1. Thanks Hilary ~ always happy to have a resident lucky lizard :) I also admire the dedicated volunteers who help with wildlife ~ the fellow who was explaining about the baby bear cubs was so enthusiastic and really knew his stuff.

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  8. I prefer the bears and owls to the lizard! That's the sort of place that I enjoy going to, and like Hilary admire the people who volunteer.
    Thanks for an enjoyable post with informative links and good photos. Flighty xx

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    1. Hi Flighty and thanks ~ Oh yes, I remember that snakes and lizardy things aren't your cup of tea ;) However, this little lizard was quite harmless and lucky to boot! I'm sure you would indeed enjoy the wildlife refuge.

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  9. Somehow, I don't have any trouble seeing Snowbird in this setting :-) Great close-ups of those hawks and falcons. Lizards are most welcome here (though I've never seen one as pale as your lucky lizard). Wimsey is perhaps a little too attentive to them, but we try to keep them safe.

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    1. Yes, Nikki ~ Snowbird would be in her element. I was happy to get some half decent photos of the birds, but it was no easy task with the wire and other necessary obstructions. Most of them were perched high up of course. I have some good photos of lizards from my trip to California, mostly turquoise ones...much more exotic looking than the lucky brown one. I can imagine lizards would be fascinating to any cat, and Wimsey is no ordinary cat...good for you for watching out for the lizards.

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  10. Great birdies and I love the Black Bears, lol.

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    1. Thanks Bob ~ thanks for dropping by and glad you enjoyed the photos.

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  11. I hope you rewarded your lucky lizard with a tasty meal ;)
    Looks like a good visit to the Wildlife Recovery Centre.

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    1. Gee, I hope Lucky Lizard found some tasty morsels in the garden. He's very welcome to any of the low flying wasps that seem to be in the area, and there are slugs and snails, if he would find them agreeable. ;) Yes, an enjoyable visit to the NIWRA :)

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  12. How lovely to have your own personal lucky lizard. Beautiful pictures of the birds - I am sure they are in the recovery centre to get better - but I hate to see them in cages - they should be flying free. Hopefully they soon will be.

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    1. Yes, a Lucky Lizard indeed :) The Recovery Centre's goal is definitely to assist creatures back into their natural habitat, and only keeps those that need additional care in order to survive. Lots of people go to the Centre to share their eagle release events, for example :)

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