Actually, they've never left, but this is might well be the time to start worrying about skunks.
There one was, in broad daylight yesterday, walking across the street from the Matteoli's house to the neighbor's on the other corner on Trinity and E Streets in Eureka. This, at around 2:30ish in the afternoon. It's always troubling to see a normally nocturnal animal out at mid- day. Some gal in a car that the skunk passed in front of stopped and made a call on her cell phone. I got the impression she might be calling animal control because she kept watching the skunk.
So I go in the back yard and tell the wife to keep an eye out for skunks as we've had big problems with them before. She didn't seem too concerned right then, but, some of you might remember we had a family of 7 or 8 of them living under our house some years ago. Took a while to get rid of them.
About an hour or so later the wife comes and tells me there was a big skunk in our yard. It strolled in from the next door neighbor's yard. Connie says she "...told it to go away.." and the skunk went back into the neighbor's yard and under the back of her house.
I'm not sure if the skunk I saw and the one she saw were the same, although the one I saw would have to have crossed a busy E street to get here. Still, something must be afoot in skunk land for them to be so active in the middle of the day.
Could be rabies, but I'm figuring it's more likely mating season for skunks, assuming they have a mating season. That would fit in why we had a family of young and old skunks under our house one summer a few years ago. Mate now, then skunks have summer to grow up. We don't want to go there again.
I'll be calling Wildlife Services and see if we can't trap the skunks in the neighborhood before they multiply. Probably best for everyone to do the same if you've been seeing skunks in your neighborhood during the daytime.
Speaking of pests, now is probably a good time to start looking for mosquito breeding grounds so we can nip those in the bud. Well, maybe a bit early as it's still cold out. I notice last time I brought the subject up here was May 25, 2006. That's when the mosquito larvae showed up that year.
What I do is establish at least one observation post- the observation post I used back then was the wheelbarrow just outside my back door that was filled with rain water. I left the water in there on purpose: To see when the mosquito larvae would show up. Once they did, I dumped out the wheelbarrow and made a point to go all over the back yard checking for anything holding standing water and drained that source of potential skeeters.
Didn't use the wheelbarrow this last couple of years. In fact, don't remember what I used last year, but I just noticed a couple five gallon containers full of rainwater on the patio. I'll check those every day or two. Once the larvae show up I'll dump the water out and start a search for any other standing water around the yard and drain them as I always do.
You might want do the same.