Steve White’s Animaux

I recorded relatively few new creatures in 2007. I guess I wasn’t looking for them. It’s strange, because I was unemployed for several months… Here are some observations, nonetheless.

The Mauersegler (Chimney Swifts) are a summertime feature of Potsdam West. All day and all night, they sweep the sky for bugs. (A guy I know hates them, because their shrieks wake him up. I told him, he would hate the bugs they eat more.)

I think these shrieks have something to do with their feeding. On more than one occasion, a swift has approached me head-on and let blast. I can tell you, the sensation is one of pain. This is a kind of echolocation, or a means of stunning prey, or both.

So I was sitting on the porch of my neighborhood Italian restaurant Il Fratelli, watching Libelle (dragonflies) criss-crossing over my head, hunting for the mosquitoes that wanted to suck on me. Then I re-focused 50 m. higher to see the Mauersegler, criss-crossing in almost the same way.

I was surprised to see a Ratte (oh, it’s just “rat” in German) swimming across a duck-pond in Sanssouci. I thought, “wow…swims pretty good for a rodent”. A moment later I saw why: a big duck was chasing him, giving him nasty pecks. He reached shore just in time to avoid being dabbled to death.

It’s a symptom of my bachelorhood that I keep spiders in my apartment. I sort of clean up around them, their cobwebs and droppings, but I don’t usually kill them or escort them out.

2007 was a particularly buggy year. The mosquitoes were crashing into me in my living room. And more than once, I saw one get into one of my spider’s webs. I said to one: “Wer saugt wem, jetzt?”

I imagine, it was too busy to respond.