The first time I saw a wild porcupine I was totally awestruck!  That was a couple of years ago after I moved to the Oregon Coast.  To see such an extraordinary figure casually strolling along the dune grass was totally amazing!  As it so often happens, I had no camera with me then, but ever since that first encounter I have been dreaming of photographing a porcupine.  This morning I finally did!

Blanca and I had just finished our morning beach walk and were heading up the path to the car when she suddenly froze.  Only then did I realize there was a porcupine a few feet from us munching peacefully on some fern!

Once again, I had no camera with me, but the porcupine was kind enough to wait while I drove home, dropped off Blanca, grabbed my zoom lens and returned!  I spent about 20 minutes clambering through the wet bushes alongside the porcupine.  He only took brief notice when I moved and then would simply turn his backside towards me and otherwise ignored me.

Quite a striking little character, and his endearing face reminded me of the guinea pigs I had as a child.

He was working his way up a small hill that is overgrown with dense bushes and ferns and overlooks the beach.

He seemed to have a little bit of a problem with his left eye as there was a discharge.  Here he was doing some digging while still chewing on a bit of fern.  They also like tree bark.

The North American porcupine is a large rodent that ranges from Alaska to northern Mexico. They are relatively long-lived, up to 30 years, and live solitary lives. They are near-sighted, slow-moving and mostly active at night. They rely on their quills for an effective defense and also have a strong warning odor (although I did not smell anything). [Wikipedia]

This encounter definitely made my day and I wish him (or her?) well!  We have had two months of very rainy weather and I got the feeling he hadn’t been out for a good long meal in a while!

Happy New Year everybody!

(Click on pictures to see larger)

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