Monday, June 28, 2010

Adventures of Aqua-coon

By Nancy Miller

Last Friday, I had a bad day at work, so I thought the best way to shake it off was to head to the Refuge. It had rained and cooled down about 15 degrees, so why not. I remember I got there about 4:20 p.m., because the Visitor Center was closed, and I couldn’t sign in. (Note to visitors: please be sure to sign in when you visit the Refuge!)

As usual, I headed on down Wildlife Drive. I always have to stop and watch the wildlife along the way, you never know what kind of entertainment you might get unless you stop and look. You can miss a lot if you drive on down the road without stopping.

Before long, I came upon a large number of Canada Geese. I noticed they were all swimming faster than normal. Then I saw something that looked a little different swimming ahead of the group. At first, I thought it was a goose with its head in the water, but when I took a look through my camera, I saw it was a raccoon! These geese were running this raccoon out of their waters!

Now I never really thought about a raccoon swimming, but I guess they do. He out-swam the geese, got out and headed up the incline to Tern Road, never looking back, never stopping. My first thought was all the Tern eggs. But the raccoon crossed the road, and continued back into the tall grass - I was so relieved that he didn’t head down the road where the Least Terns are nesting.

It turned out to be a good trip. With the cooler weather, I saw a lot more activity than expected for that time of day, and all thoughts of my bad day were forgotten.

To learn more about Hagerman NWR, please see, and for information about programs and events at the Refuge, go to

Photo by Nancy Miller

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