Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Local Wildlife

Since I've been out early and late for the past week, I've been surprised at the amount of early morning wildlife I've encountered.  It's been in the teens and single digits for temperatures overnight, so I really didn't expect to see a lot of critters out and about before sunrise.  The number of birds, squirrels, rabbits and mule deer out and about was mind-boggling.  
   This morning, I was driving down a residential street - two driving lanes, and parking lanes on both sides - when I met a herd of mule deer does (no buck) who were strolling, shoulder to shoulder, lined up almost evenly, from curb to curb.  I had to stop and wait for them to part and walk around the car before I could drive on.
   The other morning, just as the first rays of light were spreading in the east, I stepped out of the car, closed the door, and heard the hoot of an owl.  Looking around, I saw the pair of great horned owls that are usually in the neighborhood during the winter.  Then I heard the "neeep, neeep" of several nut hatches, followed by the calls of chickadees.  Then a flock of more than 20 magpies flew over, making comments.  At the next house, I encountered several rufous-sided towhees, and a huge flock of sparrows.
    The cottontail rabbits are still greatly in evidence. My brother-in-law was amazed to see the local bobcat stalk, attack, kill, and eat a rabbit in his back yard garden.  The few times I've seen the foxes this fall and winter, they, too, have been chowing down on the surplus rabbits.  The mink is spotted about once a week around the neighborhood, too.
    One of our previous neighbors, who moved away, contacted me yesterday and told me that a friend of hers had purchased a home on Tamarack recently, and was very surprised to see the bobcat cross her yard two nights ago.  Risa told Tracey about my Wildlife Watch newsletter, and Tracey wanted to be signed up.   I contacted her last night, and added her to the e-mail group this morning.  I hope she appreciates the area's natural wildlife as much as I do!

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