May 20, 2010

Peeper on the Porch

Rarely can I find a spring peeper when they are peeping.  They're small.  They're camouflaged.  It's dark out.  This is one that didn't get away.  Last year I heard a peeper in the bush directly off my porch.  I looked diligently and I never did find him.  It came back to taunt me this year.  It made a mistake this time.  It moved.  From there I was able to track it to the yucca plant and photograph and video it.  The pictures turned out very well.  The video is a bit shaky, but the sound and movement of his sides and throat pouch as the peeper peeps is great!

Spring peeper video

Spring peeper photos

Fishing Canoe Creek

Canoe Creek borders the Red House property. It is stocked in the spring. The trout are not fished out as in so many other places. Having an opportunity to walk out of your door and catch a trout in your yard is one of the charms of living here. I often take an hour in the evening to hit the creek and walk up or downstream fishing. Most of the time I catch a rainbow trout. This last time I caugth four rainbows and a native brook trout. While I usually catch and release, the trout pictured here swallowed the hook and I had to take him home. I missed another trout of the same size after catching this one.

Mar 30, 2010

The Great Blue Heron Rookery

Close to Red House a rookery of herons has existed for several years. Great blue herons form a colony or a rookery to raise their young. I counted twenty-four nests last week. The road is some distance from the rookery, so that number may be inaccurate. The birds have been claiming nests for weeks now. I've been graced with them flying over the house singly or in groups. I watched a group of fifteen a week ago leaving the rookery, doing a u-turn, and heading back towards the rookery. I used the car as a blind and tried to get some pictures without disturbing them a great deal. Here are the results.

Mar 25, 2010

Turkey and Black Vultures

The vultures have been back in the area for about three weeks. While most of our vultures are turkey vultures, a number of black vultures have shown up this spring. I watched a mixed group of black and turkey vultures fill up on a deer carcass for several days in early March. They would be there through mid-morning then disappear by 11am. Recently Charly and I have watched the turkey vultures and a few black vultures roost behind the house in a large pine tree. I've seen up to forty birds, but tonight I could only pick out twenty or so.

Black vultures have a shorter wingspan than turkey vultures. They tend to be found further south of here, but they do make an appearance now and then. The two pictures show the difference in wing patterns between the two species. The turkey vultures trailing wing edge is gray to white while the black vulture has shorter wings and has gray-white wing tips with a black trailing edge.

Mar 23, 2010

Frogs N' Such

The wood frogs have been in the little cement pond for over a week now. I can still hear them clucking, sometimes during the day, but also at night. The spring peepers have been slow to start, but last night a fairly large chorus was heard. I even heard a toad trilling. It's a bit early for them, but I guess the early toad gets the girl, or something like that.

Nov 16, 2009

Friday Charly and I were leaving for school. As we left the living room door, she spotted a deer. It took me almost 30 seconds to find it. It was 50 yards away standing by the mailbox. I'm taking her hunting with me this year. These eyes aren't what they used to be, I fear.

I got a couple pics with the camera. Here is one.

Oct 26, 2009

Ten Minute Break

I took a stroll to end of the driveway tonight at 11 pm before tucking myself in for the night. I couldn't help but throw out some screech owl whinnies. I got a response first from what I think was a flying squirrel. A boxy shadow glided from the outer branches of the catalpa tree closest to the driveway to the trunk when I began to call. About a minute later, a small shadow passed about ten feet overhead, heading across the driveway and the garden to the catalpa tree with the bluebird box on it. I soon heard the high pitch whinny from the east across the paved road perhaps at 150 yards distance. After another minute a lower-pitched whinny joined in the chorus directly behind the house, perhaps 40 yards away. I kept each whinnying for a minute or so then stopped, not wanting to disturb them further. The owl behind the house moved to the south and was heard close to the pond. The other owl fell silent. I decided to leave them be and walked back to the front door listening to the lonely call of the screech owl near the pond. I'll stay out of their lives for a few weeks, but I'm sure I'll feel the urge to talk with my neighbors again in the future.