Good at spotting balls of fluff (commonly known as raccoons)

Ball of fluff – Photograph by Laura Lecce

Isn’t this the cutest face you’ve ever seen?!

I always keep an eye out for raccoons whenever I am walking through Central Park in New York. I have become very adept in spotting them after I learned a few simple things. They are mostly in the trees and not on the ground. I had no idea that raccoons slept in trees, so look for round bundles of fur tucked into the fork of trees where the large branches leave the trunk. The hour before sunset is when these little fuzz balls are waking up and they start moving which makes them easier to see. You will find them stretching, grooming and coming down from the trees to rummage through the parks trash cans. This little youngster was quite unsure of me and so had all of its fur on end – clearly a grumpy morning person (or evening raccoon).

I’m Going Batty

Going Batty - Photograph by Laura Lecce
Going Batty – Photograph by Laura Lecce

So this was an absolute treat…. About a week ago, this furry little bum showed up on a window sill at work. Completely perplexed by this round ball of golden colored fur, it took me a few minutes to figure out that what I was actually looking at was a bat! It was so tiny, like the size of a mouse. I watched closely to make sure he was breathing (as I thought originally that he might be dead), and I wondered what circumstances he had endured to be forced to spend his daily nap on our window sill. The poor little bugger looked so cold that I wished I could have given him a warm cuddle. I regularly checked on this little golden fur ball through out the day, hoping I would eventually see him fly off. Unfortunately, sometime as the sun was setting I missed the takeoff moment, but hoped he would have found his friends. This tiny little guy is very different from the bats I’m used to back in Australia. Some of our bats are much larger and are actually named flying foxes (although we have about 75 species of bats of all different sizes!). Flying foxes are large black bats with a mane of golden fur around their necks, they are seen throughout Sydney. The Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney was home to a very large colony of flying foxes (over 20,000 of them at times) which took up residence on few leafless trees, completely destroyed to accommodate their numbers. They were incredibly loud, constantly squabbling as they tried to find sleeping room on those poor trees. They have since moved on, but it was always an amazing sight to see and hear so many bats in one place!