I often forget to mention that there is wildlife up here in the patch. They are from up here so I guess I expected to find them being chauffeur driven around in a stretch Caddy with bull horns fixed to the front but its not the case. Life up here is pretty tough on the animals.
There is a fox family that lives somewhere near our lunch trailers. They are very bold and don’t show much fear so we see them often. Its too bad as the Oil Boys will eventually have them captured and put down if they cause a nuisance. The rules up here are pretty strict relating to animals. Ignore them or they die. A fed animal is a dead animal. We aren’t allowed to take pictures on site anyway but you also aren’t allowed to engage the animals. No chasing them, throwing things at them, poisoning, kicking or basically engaging them in any way. And NO feeding them!
The fox family is kind of fun to have around. Mr. Fox is smaller than the misses. He has more red in his pelt. He is pretty nervy though , dodging his way into the smoke pit, climbing up on the bench and having a shit on it as some kind of weird ‘thank you’. His wife by contrast has a lot darker coat and a tail that is magnificent and fluffy. She appears to be pregnant but that doesn’t stop her or even to slow her down. The two of them weave in and around the trailers every few days scouring the ground for things to eat. If you leave your bag on the ground they will take it so no one really does. As I mentioned they aren’t that afraid and often weave in and out amongst the people as if aware of their ‘safe’ status.
The other site scavengers are the ravens. Ravens are awfully smart and travel in groups. They are like natures vacuum as they fly around with their sharp eyes finding any little thing and trying it. They will ignore you but if you so much as bend over to do up your boot they assume you are bending to fetch a stone and they flock off quickly! When I am up on the steel I often see them hopping around up there tugging on insulation in case it might be cotton candy or flying off with anything shiny that they can find. They really are both tough and ingenious.
Back at camp you often see their tracks. Coyotes are the ghosts that haunt us in our camp. They don’t hang out in plain site very often but if you look around you can see their tracks everywhere. Over at CNRL they had several that roamed around the site and it wasn’t uncommon to see them fighting over a workboot that they had stolen. I am pretty sure they do the same thing here so we are warned about leaving things laying around anywhere. I am pretty sure they get the boots from the backs of pick up trucks. The coyotes are not that big and look for all intents and purposes like a small husky dog.
Beyond those animals there aren’t that many that let themselves be seen. From the bus I have seen bears, moose and the occasional deer but thats about it. The bears are the little black ones and they can be a nuisance if given an opportunity to find food of any kind. No one wants to turn around while working and find a bear sitting there so no one feeds them.
I left out wolves didn’t I? Probably because I personally haven’t seen one although people have. They are apparently much bigger than a coyote which probably helps when they are going after moose or are trying to keep a bear from their spoils.
I believe that there are lynx up here as well although most have only been seen by bus drivers who cover a lot more ground than we do. I don’t know much about the lynx so ask a driver if you are interested.
I mentioned above that you can’t take pictures of the animals. I am not sure if the oil company is worried that they will develop big egos and will start wanting appearance fees or something like that. One guy, as the rumour goes, took a picture of the fox and posted it on his wall. Big mistake as the Big Oil Police (possibly using information from the NSA which is run by the US government which is in turn run by big oil and similar interests) saw it somehow and his job vaporized in seconds. Apparently it was a picture of the female which as I said is an amazing looking specimen. Odd eh? In most places if you posted a picture of a foxy bitch it is your wife you’d be worried about and not your employer!