Begin here Jan 1st 2018. Thank you.
Begin here Jan 1st 2018. Thank you.
A post was merged into an existing topic: 2017 July to Dec - Fog, Lights, Birds, and Animals
Sorry, trying to get this to the top of the list.
I came home Tuesday night for a supposedly 2-day reprieve from babysitting and to get some things done around my own home. The first thing I did was spook the deer that were raiding the bird seed and peanuts under the pine tree in my front yard. Sorry!
Wednesday noon time I replenished the birds’ and squirrels’ “supplies”. Got called to my daughter’s house for a 30-minute project that turned into 10 hours! Getting home at midnight - and with snow expected to begin falling by 5 AM, I put out more peanuts and seed.
Thursday at 1 AM I stepped outside to find 6 deer raiding the birds’ and squirrels’ breakfast! They left - slowly - through the front yard, across the street and up through the woodlot.
5 AM and it’s snowing, but there’s quite a few juncos having a feast.
Oh! On the 2nd of January, there were 5 robins - that have been wintering over for the past few years - in the large cedar in my son’s backyard. Later that day some crackles showed up with some starlings. I guess the red-wing blackbird who has now assumed the role of the harbinger of spring!
Easter & April Fools
Didn’t you find the pink ones yet?
hmmm you’re giving me ideas
Since my last post 5 days ago, my wife and I watched a lone coyote walking along the path on the other side of the small brook at the bottom of the hill on our son’s property. It kept its nose to the ground as it walked - completely ignoring my son’s two dogs (golden retrievers). About 20 to 30 minutes later it came back from wherever it had gone (north of us), and as it reached a path that leads up to the corner of a fallow field just to the south (also on the opposite side of the brook), it headed up to the field and walked along the edge by the woods. I lost sight of it as more trees got between us as it headed south toward the Hannacroix Creek in the next county.
A pair of pileated woodpeckers has been frequenting the neighborhood and letting everyone know of their presence with not just their “hammering” on trees, but with their loud calls as well.
The red-headed woodpeckers have been all around my son’s house as well as the hairy and downy woodpeckers, especially at the suet cages.
About 16 robins have been showing up for the past several days as well as some grackles (large iridescent black birds). Still waiting for the red-wing blackbirds to show up and tell us spring is here!
The rest of the usual crowd is around from sun up to sundown - juncos, cardinals, titmice, several species of wrens, chipping sparrows, finches, bluejays, crows, ravens, hawks, turkey buzzards, etc… (I think the bluejays and crows fly back and forth from my son’s house to my house. Some of them look suspiciously familiar! Haven’t seen nor heard an owl or turkey in a while.
The deer (6 at my house and 6 at my son’s house) are daily and nightly regulars as well! Yesterday around sundown a lone doe (and a big one) was standing behind the girls’ play tower in the backyard, only about 7 yards/6,4m from the deck.
And that’s probably what the cats are doing with their humans to
I think I know roughly what my cat was saying (OK, screaming) at me last week when I picked him up from the cattery!
It wasn’t repeatable (neither the original nor the translation), but was loosely along the lines of “You rotten humans, you went away and left me with those HORRIBLE people! How dare you?!”
He has just about forgiven us now, I think - plenty of treats and cuddles. Bribery almost always does the trick…
Yesterday afternoon I was holding my 7-month old granddaughter as we watched through the bay window the birds feeding beneath the maple tree. She was having a ball watching the birds hopping around trying to get the “best” seed before someone else did. A red-headed woodpecker was pecking away at the suet cake hanging over to the right. There were juncos, chipping sparrows, cardinals, mourning doves, titmice, a few red-wing blackbirds (yeah, they’re here already), chickadees and some starlings. Just as Grandma walked over, a hawk swooped in at ground level from in front of our car, made a 90-degree right turn (inches off the ground) came around to the rear of the front passenger tire and snagged a junco! Before the hawk even dropped to the ground it spun around so it was facing away from the car. By that time all the other birds had high-tailed it out of there. The hawk stood there staring toward the woods for a minute before jumping up with its catch and flew toward the woods at the edge of the ravine only 2 feet off the ground. My granddaughter thought it was great to see that big bird land (she miss the catching of the junco?), stand there so she could watch it, and then fly away close to the ground so she could again watch it for a while. The hawk was probably happy as it got a meal this week. It took 15-20 minutes before the birds slowly returned to finish eating for the day.
So far at my son’s house I’ve seen hawks catch a chipmunk, pluck a sparrow off the electric line, and then this incident. We’ve also seen a crow nab an injured hairy woodpecker that I had fed on the ground for two days. It was making its way back over from the birch trees across the street when the crow grabbed it, killed it and took off with it before the other crows came over to try to steal it from him/her.
26 Jan.: At 1130 tonight there were two male red fox in the lower northeast corner of the field across from the small brook behind my son’s house. They were having a territorial dispute. What a noisy confrontation it was! They sounded like a couple of “ankle biters” (small dogs) having a go at each other. The entire ordeal lasted nearly ten minutes before one gave up and left. I almost brought the dogs outside with me when I went out… it’s a good thing I didn’t or they would have been running down the hill toward the brook barking at them. The last thing we need is to have the girls awoken by that!
It’s been a little strange that we haven’t been seeing the deer coming around during the daylight hours for a few weeks now. Of course they’re still making their appearances every night (to raid the bird feeders, cleanup the cracked corn and sunflower seeds, and to nibble away at the arborvitae). Some male red fox have an ongoing fight as to which one is going to keep this part of the territory! They’ve been having a go (verbally) at each other several nights each week.
The birds are messed up as to when they’re supposed to show up for spring. We’ve had about 16 male robins winter over again for the 5th year now. Yesterday around 5 PM a flock of about 200 robins showed up for a 5-minute rest in the tree tops and then headed off to the northeast. And also yesterday, I observed 2 male song sparrows - the ones with the beautiful copper-colored heads and necks. They have such a beautiful song! We used to have a pair nesting in one of our hanging baskets on our porch. Had “music” with our morning coffee!
Oooo I’m going to have some FUN this year! Mwahahaha… rubbing hands together
I had just gone outside behind my son’s house - left the dogs inside this time - and was startled by the howl of coyote in the corner of the field across from the small brook at the bottom of the hill (which is my son’s backyard). I heard a reply off in the distance to the southwest. The first coyote was only about 100 yards/91 meters away. Ah, love is in the air!
Out on our walks this week up in the hills we spotted this small herd of deer. Managed to get a few pics with my not so smart phone (wish I’d had my camera) but as soon as moved a little closer to the fence the stag (indicted by the arrow), who kept his beady eye on me, moved them further away. Not sure if they are Red or Roe deer
When I caught up with my son and asked if he’d seen them, he says “they’re just deer, what does it matter, anyone would think you’d never seen a deer before”
I’m forever having to catch up with him as he takes off at his own pace, says I’m too slow
And to think there was a time, not so long ago, when it was the other way round but I had to stick beside him
How soon they forget… or have they developed “selective memory” by this age?
This morning in the front of the house were that same pair of song sparrows that visited a few days ago. In the back - in the trees across the small brook - I could hear a robin calling. About an hour later some cardinals were sounding the alarm, followed shortly by some blue jays. As I stood there watching, a red-tailed hawk flew in across the backyard and then up into one of the large oak trees near the top of the hill on the other side of brook. As it perched there looking around, a pair of cardinals and a blue jay flew back and forth over and in front of it just about 10-15 feet (3-4,6 m). Apparently they were building nests in the neighboring trees and was trying to lure it away. When that didn’t work, the cardinals landed in a tree about 25 feet (7,6 m) away. The blue jay took off in the other direction as did a lone sparrow. The hawk looked in one direction first, then turned and faced the other. It remained for nearly ten minutes before taking off.
It rained from a little after 4 AM until about 11:30 AM. There was a steady, damp breeze that felt like it was going right through you. Not a nice day! Even the turkey buzzards were flying just over tree top level and were left alone by the crows. A pair of ravens was back doing their aerial mating dance in the sky over the woods.
Shortly before sunset (which was blocked from the overcast skies - I made out a lone “flag” of white-tailed deer as it ran across the field across from the brook. The trees blocked most of the field, so I didn’t know if there had been other deer that crossed the field ahead of this one or not. I just happened to look up and there it was. It was a big deer however. First one I’ve seen during daylight hours in weeks! (Because of the coyotes?)
This evening about 7 PM the coyotes were at it again in the lower northwest corner of the field across from the brook. Sounded like several of them were vying for the alpha position. I’m glad the male golden retriever - who started growling, got up and headed toward the steps - obeyed me and came back. I let him inside and listened to the coyotes for several minutes before they became quiet.
Still haven’t seen any turkeys around since last year. Still waiting!
27 Feb. Two red-tailed hawks seem to have made this area their “go-to” hunting spot. They were back again twice today, only receiving a half-hearted effort by the crows to drive them off. The coyotes were back in the corner of the field across the brook again late this evening. We waited until the left before letting the dogs out, not that I don’t think they’d have a problem with the coyotes. Bella - the older dog - is still quite quick and when she snaps her jaws shut, it sounds like a bear trap tripping. And she can do this nearly as fast as a woodpecker hammering away at a tree. Solo may not make any sound when his jaws clamp shut, but he does have a stronger than usual bite force for a golden retriever. He’s fast and has some weight that would knock over a coyote. But there’s no sense in provoking a fight when the coyotes only have one thing on their minds at this time.
Yesterday several red-wing blackbirds were here. After they ate at Jim’s fast food diner they all flew out back for a calling contest! So far, the eastern blue birds, robins, song sparrows and red-wing blackbirds have arrived. So does this officially make it spring? All the indicator birds say so… but then we’re having a good snow storm at the moment. Something is amiss in Mother Nature’s house!