Used to be a ‘new’ Jersey Girl   : now A Colorado Girl

Monday, December 12, 2011

Back and Front Yard Fauna

Living in the country as we do we see a variety of wildlife. We have possums, squirrels, chipmunks, deer, turkeys, and the occasional bear. Poor bears. They are being hunted once again this year. It’s too sad to even talk about.

A few weeks ago I looked out the window and saw a beautiful buck deer standing up by the top of our driveway, his rack of antlers held proudly. With a flick of his tail he was off up into our neighbor Kim’s yard. I see a small band of about five or six deer pretty often just outside the fenced part of our yard in the woods. The dogs just lie on the deck and watch them.

Lately we’ve had a mangy looking fox hanging around. I first saw him sitting in our driveway grooming himself like a cat. He looked up from his ritual and saw me watching him through the window. It was weird making direct eye contact with a fox. I went to grab the camera as quietly as I could but he ran off. Here’s the shot I got of him then.

IMG 6596

Then the other day he was back again to take advantage of the bird seed and stale bread I had thrown out at the bird feeding area in the front yard for the squirrels (so they’ll leave my bird feeder and suet feeder in the back yard alone!). I think he must have mange although I have never seen it to identify it in a wild animal. He is scary looking! I do admire his black legs though. The rest is pretty darned ugly.

IMG 6605


IMG 6610

I’ve seen him down the road at neighbor Luke’s house too. A few years back I remember seeing another scroungy looking fox and I have to wonder if it’s the same one?

Another visitor to our yard and woods behind the house has been the pileated woodpecker. Every time I run for the camera he spooks and flies off to a different tree farther away. Do you remember when I was able to get photos of him a few years back? Follow this link to see them. We can hear him sometimes and don’t see him. When he flies he looks like no other bird: big black wings with a white streak. You don’t even notice his head until he lands. Twice in the past week I have caught him out of the corner of my eye in flight. He’s elusive that’s for sure.

I haven’t seen any cardinals for a long time. I wonder where they go? We are overrun with titmice, chickadees and white-breasted nuthatches. We have a few juncos now too and yesterday we saw a rosy finch.

The woodpeckers seem to really be taking off this year in numbers as well. We have downy woodpeckers and a red-bellied woodpecker that have always been visitors. But this year we also have the downy’s bigger cousin, the hairy woodpecker too. Here he is:

IMG 6559

He looks just like a downy only considerably bigger.

Yesterday I looked out at the suet feeder and something about the bird on it didn’t look quite right to me. At first glance I thought it was a downy woodpecker, but it had a dark chest, not a white one. Hmmm. I got out the binoculars and saw that it had a red spot under the chin as well as one on top of its head. The markings around the eye were different too. Off to get the bird identification book! I am proud to present our very first Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker!

IMG 6644

The light was not good since it was late in the afternoon but I think the shot is decent enough to see the bird fairly well. I hope he comes back!

We didn’t have any acorns from the oaks this year. It’s odd, but I guess they do have years when they don’t produce. Maybe that has something to do with the increase of woodpecker activity? Maybe they produce more sap when they don’t produce acorns?

I like having all my back and front yard buddies around. Well, maybe not so much that fox ...

Comments:

That fox is creepy looking.

You definitely have a very strage looking fox - he looks almost rabid. You have some beautiful looking birds tho’.  We have quite a number of birds that visit our garden but I don’t have a good enough camera to be able to get photos.

Honey, I know!

Joyce, I don’t think he’s rabid. At least I hope not! He doesn’t present that way. I think he just has a bad case of mange. And yes, you really have to have a telephoto lens to try and capture birds via camera. Even then they don’t hold still long enough. I would imagine your birds are varied and very different from ours!

Very cool sapsucker!  And the fox does look really weird.  His face is strange looking as well as the fur.

Have to admit, my first thought was that he was rabid, but maybe he’s just pitiful and mangey.  Poor thing. I say keep feeding him, but keep your distance. By the way, all of your cardinals have come donwn to NC to visit family—we ARE the state bird, you know. We see mostly cardinals at our feeder now with some titmice (sp?) sparrows, mourning doves, brown-headed nuthatches, and a few carolina wrens, and one lone bluejay in our birdbath—truly an occasion, since they usually congregate on the street behind us, Davis Rd.

Got to love the birds!!!

Carolyn, he’s been back again yesterday too! The sapsucker I mean ... The fox’s face looks funny in the photo I think because he was chewing food. Otherwise he doesn’t look too bad.

Bigsis, I’m not really meaning to feed him! He just shows up when I’ve happened to throw some seed and stale bread out for the birds and squirrels. I’d rather he didn’t visit! Tell some of your cardinals to come back here! I haven’t seen my carolina wren in a long time. I miss him! I’ve not seen a brown-headed nuthatch, do they look like the white-breasted ones only with a brown head?

I used to read my son a story about a yellow bellied sapsucker.  Thats pretty cool to see a photo of a real one!  I have never seen a fox that looked like that…poor thing.  Wonder if he knows he looks so bad grin

Debra, well now you know what one looks like! Me too! And I don’t think the fox has a clue how ugly he is, but who knows, he just might!

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