Posts Tagged ‘deer’

Evening Visitor

The low light at dusk created unusual pictures.

It added movement, more movement than the deer actually made.

I couldn’t tell if it had its eyes on me, or if it ignored me as it ate.

Parts of this deer became almost transparent from the camera movement as it ate. (All these pictures were taken of the same young deer.)

No, it wasn’t raining, like it looks in the picture. I couldn’t hold the camera still enough to get more realistic pictures.

My fingers are crossed, hoping the deer will return.

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Sign of Yard Visitors

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I don’t actually have to see all the visitors to know who’s been in our backyard.

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A stand of sumac trees in the back our yard had recent attention

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   from a deer rubbing its antlers on the young trees to remove the velvet.

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It looked like this was done recently.

Fox Update

Please excuse the quality of these pictures. Thick clouds dulled the hazy day.  Sunshine’s been rare the last 2 weeks.

I hadn’t seen the foxes since before the heavy snow/sleet/freezing rain event.

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Then I looked out around noon, and there was a fox. It scratched and scratched and scratched.

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I figured the unusual upward position of the hind leg indicated this was the female.

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There’s no doubt that this was the female.

 Red foxes begin mating late January into February here in southern Illinois. Their gestation period is 51 days. So I figure she’ll probably give birth in a couple of weeks or so.

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…. And here I sat in the evening, working on the blog above. I looked out the picture window and there was a doe. A younger deer soon joined her.

A Cloudy Day Short Hike

It may not have been a bright sunny day (early in February). At least it was near freezing, and a light snow began falling. Buffy and I just had to get out before the next weather possibility.

A pretty day doesn’t have to be bright and sunny.

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This grassy expanse, on my rural property, is a sandstone barrens. There’s another barrens on the other side of the ravine. Little bluestem grass is the dominate plant.

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Last night’s heavy rain increased

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the flow in the creek.

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It didn’t look like anybody was at home.

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Sandstone outcroppings occur commonly along the ravine.

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I call this outcrop “my rock.” It has a natural seat (top left) where I sit and enjoy the view.

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View to the left (north).

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View in the front (east) and

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 view to the right (south).

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The little bluestem grew taller last summer than I’ve ever seen it before. The stalks grew to my height and even more. I’ve seen it less than 3 feet during severe drought years.

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Mini snow cones for sale?

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We passed five deer feeding near the road on our way home.

Close Encounters

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… which this wasn’t.

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I took these pictures through a not-quite-clean double-pane picture window. The deer was feeding on leaves of what looked like vines.

 The young deer reminded me of a close encounter many years ago. I was hiking at a limestone barrens on Shawnee National Forest land. A light brown shape caught my attention. Why would anyone leave a lunch sack in the barrens. I went to retrieve it … it was a very young fawn. It remained motionless while I did a rapid sketch of it. Then I left.

Then I thought, “I bet the mother was just inside the woods, watching me.

That memory quickly took me to one of another close encounter. I returned to camp on rural property I own. Four or five biggish young birds were hunkered down in the mowed grass  near the pull-in. I did a gesture drawing, all the time asking them aloud, “What are you?”

Then I heard movement to the left and behind me. A hen turkey was sneaking toward the taller grasses where we didn’t mow. She had been feet from me. I didn’t see her because I’d locked in on the young birds. Obviously, she didn’t perceive me as a threat. Needless to say I decided it was time to leave and walked causally to the truck.

I wrote and illustrated nature articles for several local newspapers for almost 10 years. Obviously, this kept me hiking and camping a lot. Wildlife didn’t notice me when I was in deep concentration. One time I sat on the ground, drawing mosses. I heard movement and here came a coyote trotting down the short hill toward me. It saw me when about 12-15 feet away, “turned the corner” and kept on trotting.

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Another memory just came to me, one that left me shaking.

I hadn’t seen my first wild turkey yet and knew they were feeding up the hill from camp at my rural property. I suited up in camouflage, sat at the base of a tree with my 35 mm camera in my lap. No turkey. I dosed off. Wind rustling the trees woke me, only the leaves weren’t blowing. To my left — here came a 4-foot kingsnake. Somehow, I grabbed my camera and quickly made it to a standing position. My movement stopped the snake’s movement 5-6 feet from me. My hands shook too much to take a picture, besides, I wanted more distance between us. I stepped back several steps and watched it. Finally, it started moving in the same north east direction. It stopped when it came to the warmer ground where I’d been sitting.

It would’ve gone — or at least started– across my lap if I’d been asleep.

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All this from watching a young deer in the backyard.

Persimmon Smorgasbord

Our volunteer persimmon tree kind of gets lost in the tangle of plants and trees that border the lower part of our yard. The hill in the background is on our neighbor’s and is the end of an old strip pit.

I always forget about the persimmon tree. Then I realized it was the reason why Buffy kept disappearing when we were out. It’s the tall spindly tree near middle of the picture.

From what I’ve heard, the persimmon trees have out-done themselves with fruit this summer. The tree grows against our side of the neighbor’s fence. He’s let the area behind us grow up like our shrub border.

I followed Buffy in the thick of things to check things out. It’s denser than it looks in the picture. Then I found an abundance of poison ivy. I even had problems finding an easy way out.

 Buffy had eaten all the persimmons that had fallen. They don’t drop until they’re ripe.

I do hope some animals come and dine on the smorgasbord of fruit. Online research listed coyote, fox, raccoon, squirrel, possum, deer, quail and wild turkey as eating persimmons.

As for dogs eating persimmons, ones under 60 pounds aren’t supposed to eat them because of the size of the seeds.

I do hope other animals help eat the fallen persimmons. Buffy doesn’t need so many. I’m supposed to get her down to 90 pounds, and the persimmons aren’t helping one bit.