Mar 30, 2009

Sixty-Eight Deer and a Red Fox

With the lengthening days, I have actually been able to return to home before dark. This evening as I drove down Beaver Dam Road, dozens of vultures were circling the northwest-facing mountain preparing to roost for the night. Driving across Canoe Creek and turning onto Scotch Valley Road, I watched as a red fox darted across the road into piles of stored construction materials. I pulled the car off the road and watched the field, quickly realizing that I was being watched by the fox. Approximately 100 yards off, his face was dark, but the large pointed ears were aligned to pick up any noise I made. Within seconds, he trotted across ten yards of open field into the lumber and pallets, disappearing from site. Last week I had heard a fox doing its scream-like bark at one in the morning. Every ten seconds or so, it would let go with this hoarse, high-pitched bark, apparently identifying its territory or perhaps courting a lady friend.

Excited by the sighting, I drove slowly through Scotch Valley towards Frankstown. First, a deer jumped across the road. Two more moved silently out of the brush and crossed behind the car. Next five more deer were spotted. Then eight in a field. The numbers added up quickly with eight here, thirteen there, five in that field, and a few more there. The last sighting was the most spectacular. I had passed the Scotch Valley Country Club and cut through to Turkey Valley. As I crested the hill, the field to my left was filled with deer. After two counts with binoculars, twenty more deer were seen. The final count was sixty-eight deer.

Mar 16, 2009

Spring Birds and Weather

This morning's walk to the car brought a sound to the ear that I haven't heard in many months. The raspy call of the eastern phoebe, returned from parts unknown, was heard 40 yards away at the edge of Canoe Creek. Herons did a fly over, leaving their rookery on Beaver Dam Road. A song sparrow performed its long and melodic song. A warm enjoyable way to start the day.

The evening was equally pleasant, while the birds were quiet, a steady light rain was falling. Warm air, gentle rain, and longer days and awakening the slumbering world, and driving us forward into a spring of returning birds and emerging flowers.

Mar 6, 2009

The Return of Old Friends

Today I stayed at home and enjoyed the last day of my spring break. The turning Earth and warming trend brought back some old friends. The early morning is now beginning to be filled with the chorus of many birds. Red-winged blackbirds, grackles, killdeer, and bluebirds are calling more and more and arriving in greater numbers. This afternoon, three great blue herons passed over the yard heading back towards the rookery near Gamelands 166. It's a positive relief to see days lengthening and the birds returning.