Monday, August 4, 2008

Always a bunny.

I was walking with my young son at the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve, which is along the Vedder River, in Chilliwack. I am exhausted from the trip and the heat, so will write more later. For now, only this:

We met a man on the trail, a burly man with a shaved head. The kind of man who has trouble tattooed all over him. He had a burly voice too, when he spoke to us. He said, “Look. There’s a bunny.” He pointed off the trail.

Sure enough, a bunny. The burly bunny man went on his way. The question then became, is this the red-listed (i.e., extirpated, endangered or threatened) washingtoni race of the Sbowshoe Hare, Lepus americanus, or is it an Eastern Cottontail, Sylvilagus floridanus, a species from eastern and central North America introduced into Washington State early in the 1900s that has since spread into southern mainland BC . Chillliwack is within the known range of both taxa, both of these “bunnies,” and the two are not always easy to tell apart. They are both small brown rabbits encountered in scrubby places. Snowshoe Hares have larger feet, but both species are morphometrically uncooperative.

Ahh, there’s the answer. The rufous nape of the neck. Cottontail. It’s almost always a cottontail.

Whichever, it’s always a bunny.


Cicero Sings said...

You really need to go to the Heron Reserve in the SPRING, when it is COOL and the herons are nesting!

Still, we always enjoyed our walks down on the dikes ... only we did it all before the heron sanctuary, before all the trails were so "modernized"! LOL

swamp4me said...

A new place-name to add to my list of favorites: 'Chilliwack'

Do burly, tattooed types in your neck of the woods often refer to rabbits as bunnies? For some reason, that makes me smile.

Hugh said...

Yes, we'll go back in spring. But even now, in the summer doldrums, there's a lot to see there.

Yes, and you don't dare smirk at them.

Cicero Sings said...

We came down to Vancouver today but en-route, stopped to take me Mither out for a drive. We drove to the opposite side of the Vedder River from the Heron Sanctuary. We briefly visited old haunts. I was hoping to spot some crayfish ... I saw a couple there once. Alas, no dice. There are SO many interesting things to see along through there ... truly ... so many nooks and crannies with many and varied treasures. You need more than an afternoon.

Thanks for the nostalgic jog ... enough to get us to stop by again.