As a Floridian, I’m no stranger to close encounters with wildlife. Between the wild buffalo, horses, Whooping Crane and alligators on Paynes Prairie to the deer, snakes, raccoons and possums in the back yard there is hardly a day that goes by without expecting to see something(oh yeah, bugs). Going to the beach on the Gulf offered its own variety of encounters like the times a manatee or two would cruise on up to a group of us standing on a sandbar (and stopped for a meet and greet) or watching a pod of 3 or 4 dolphins swim by from the shore. Looking out for sting-rays in the shallows or being woken up from a nap by the wild parrots going by wasn’t unusual either at the beach, seeing (or dodging) wildlife was a regular occurrence.
The lack of wildlife in San Jose is hard to believe. It’s odd, eerie almost to me, to never see anything regularly other than hummingbirds. There isn’t a lizard on every bush or butterflies floating around. Not even mosquitoes really. I haven’t seen a spider bigger than a dime (not complaining) and I’ve seen exactly 2 roaches in nine months….both on the sidewalk in the downtown area (also not complaining). No frogs, no birds larger than a cardinal, nothing. When we go out to the places we hike, the noises are the occasional bird whistle and the wind blowing. No underlying continuous sound of crickets or cicada or frogs in the evening, no hum of life. It feels empty.
But then again, there are the whales.
It’s like this area just doesn’t mess around with all the little, average creatures. No, this area is saving up for the big stuff like sea-lions, whales, seals and pods of a hundred dolphins. Granted, I’ve only seen those things while on whale tours but still, not something I ever got to see in Florida!