Roadside natives 2: Unexpected irises
Roadside natives 3: A golden milkweed

Last night's visitor

He/She has ben visiting every day for the last week or so, often in the afternoon which is unusual for raccoons which are mainly nocturnal. That bird feeder is certainly 100% squirrel-proof, but the raccoon seems to have no trouble getting at the sunflower seed. He/She was there for almost an hour early evening yesterday, and looked up and paid attention when I enquired after his/her welfare (from six feet away) and asked if there was anything else needed. Then he/she washed his/her paws in the birdbath, and climbed down from our raised deck and went hunting elsewhere.

I can understand why some people keep raccoons as pets; they're certainly extremely endearing. And when we were in New Jersey, the local raccoons and our cats would cuddle up together on the back step; they all got on just fine.

OK, I know that if they get into the attic they can be big trouble. But it's such a treat to live where they just turn up.

Not sure if he's a she or what - couldn't get that close. So: how do you sex a raccoon from a distance?