Sunday, January 25, 2015

I Love the Wild

Every weekend I spend my time heading out onto my trail, exploring tracks, setting up/retrieving my camera, and hoping for a wildlife encounter. January has been very kind to me so far!

Here are some Evening Grosbeaks, enjoying a snack of seeds in a neighbour's tree. I love seeing that pop of yellow colour. Something unexpected in the middle of winter!

 Sunrise. I love the view from our house.
 A red squirrel checking me out.

 A softer, paler sunrise, yet still so beautiful!

 On Friday, I took the kids for a walk all around town and on some trails. We are in the middle of a warm spell right now and it was pouring rain when we came across two deer. The buck was resting on the ground and the doe was browsing nearby when we approached. The buck got to his feet, but didn't seem alarmed and continued browsing with the doe as we watched.

I love this picture of the doe's fur. You can see that it is wet. I can almost feel the fur.
 If you look closely, you can see the buck's antlers through the branches.
 This raven was serenading me with all sorts of odd sounds before giving a couple of caws and flying away.

 A Hairy Woodpecker.
On Saturday, I bumped into my friend at the head of the trail. Every weekend morning I see him out in the bush, collecting firewood which he carts back to his nearby house in a wheelbarrow. He's been living here since '62. While his house is now surrounded by other houses, it used to be all in the bush with no roads. He's befriended a couple of squirrels that live near his house and as I headed up the trail that morning, he told me to sit down on the logs a little ways up. Sure enough, with the bribe of birdseed in my hand, a little red squirrel appeared and climbed up my leg. He took a look at the birdseed in my hand, turned up his nose, and scooted back down. He hopped to a nearby tree and scolded me harshly for not brining peanuts.

I headed further into the bush and eventually came to the start of the game trail where I have my wildlife camera setup. I paused at the top to listen and heard the crashing of big animals moving in a hurry. With heart pounding, I had very little time to figure out what was running up the hill towards me and hastily moved to the side of the trail as four deer came bounding up the slope. I was very relieved to see that they were deer, not a moose or a groggy bear. The deer came to about 10 feet from me before they realized I was standing there and hastily backed down a ways. Then they stood and watched me, judging whether or not they should make a break for it. I tried to look as least threatening as possible, but after a minute or two they "stotted" away (mule deer bounce on all four hooves at once), down the hill and then back up a ways from me. From this safer vantage point they stopped and watched me and I watched them, taking a few pictures. I managed to film a bit of the encounter. I find it funny that this happened to me the day after I watched this video. I definitely had it on my mind when those deer came charging up the hill.

Lungwort Lichen

This morning, I went to see if I could find any new sign of the beavers. After weeks with no sign, I was beginning to think they had left, but the thaw must have brought them back out to work. I found new trees cut, new tracks, and a new hole in the ice that the beavers have been dragging trees into.

The water is scarcely a foot deep in this area, so I am impressed that the beavers can fit under the ice with trees. But they clearly do, as there are no other tracks once they get to this spot. Although, it looks like not all the trees fit under the ice...
And as I walked in the woods this morning, I was pleased to find a little creek, with open water. Although I am not happy about the thaw we are having right now, it was nice to hear the trickle of water and to see the reflection of the forest on the water.

Mmmmm, I love being outside!

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