I'm seeing more and more of the wooded areas outside our town -- the woods the farmers used to leave alone, or use for hunting -- disappearing. As a consequence (and also, due, I think, in the rise of the coyote population) we're seeing more woodland creatures in town, these days.
Last night, while I was out weeding the potted flowers
in Frontporchistan, I heard a quiet commotion to the west.
Across the great divide (the driveway) my neighbors' house was receiving some guests of, very likely, the uninvited kind:
I only caught three of them with the camera -- the two at the top and the one down below. The other one (the one with something large gripped in its teeth) skittered across the roof before I could adjust the focus to the distant shot and adjust to the dim light of dusk.
Ours is not the only block with raccoons taking over and tearing up turf. Over yonder, in the northeast corner of the city, one of my friends has had bunches of the little barstids caught in humane traps and taken to a farm 25 miles away... and she still has a couple of families stealing from the bird feeder every day. (I worry that, if she stops putting out seeds, the raccoons might start tearing out screens in the windows to get at the trash in the kitchen, the way I had a squirrel do when I lived in the 3rd-floor walk-up in Chicago. It's a lot easier to deal with one itty bitty tree rat than it is to handle a pack of wily bandits.)
At any rate, I couldn't follow the bunch next door, to see where they were aiming to settle in for the night, but I seriously hope the neighbors' roof, fascia and soffit are in good repair, or the attic is gonna be a tough territory to clear.
And, watching this action by the little critters, I'm sorta glad I don't have easily-accessible downspouts for them to climb. It's bad enough I have two big, friendly-looking home-style trees... and the occasional tempting bucket of kibble accidentally left out after dark. I don't think I'd appreciate it if they started taking up residence in my chimney or rafters.