Monday, February 13, 2012

Winter Critter Visitors at For Love of a Dog

It all began with a toad glued to a window in September...  Last Wednesday I promised to share some photos of rather odd wildlife visitors here at the For Love of a Dog and Talking Dogs homestead.  Today's the day.

As I mentioned in my Red Sky at Morning post, this winter has been a strange one.  Unseasonably warm and mild, with - so far- none of the usual ice and freezing rain to contend with.  However, I should note that as I write this, it is snowing.  I can't help but think that our strange weather has resulted in some unusual wildlife sightings.

We live in the country and we're used to seeing wildlife.  However, not as close up and personal as we have this year.  Deer?  Yup, see them frequently.  Herds of deer?   No, not as large as the group that spent a week or so with us.  Twelve total deer and fawns.  Pretty cool.  Very close to the house and yard!  Unfortunately, my trigger finger was never quick enough to catch a photo of the whole group.  Rather than simply grazing, they spent a lot of time playing and frolicking.
These three deer seem to have the same feeling about cameras that our dogs do!
We have a series of small spring fed ponds that border our backyard (the 2 acre fenced area for the dogs) and herons frequently visit.  This one was not going to be deterred - by barking dogs - from catching his breakfast.

Another water visitor was this solo wood duck who stayed for several days. Unlike the Canadian geese who visit us in pairs or small flocks, this fellow was alone.  Each morning I cringed... thinking he might have fallen victim to the marauding coyotes that also frequently visit us.  One afternoon, he simply flew away.
He looked so lonely to me...

The strangest visitors this year have been this pair of hawks.  Sure, we see plenty of hawks around here.  In the sky.  However, it was amazing to glance out a front window and see this pair just sitting in the front yard.  For hours.  Just sitting and once in awhile fluffing their feathers.

They've been with us all winter and we often see them circling our fields, now and then diving down to snatch their prey.  Last week we noticed one on the gate leading to the spring ponds.  The hawk perched there for quite a while.  Suddenly he swooped down towards the water to grab something and flew up into a tree to examine it.  Looked like pond scum to me...  Suspect he decided the fields were a better source of dinner!

I've yet to capture a photo of the armadillos that are becoming more numerous in our part of the country.  They tend to sneak into the yard at night with the express purpose of rooting up all of my flower bulbs.   And, because they also visit us at night, I've not captured any images of the coyotes.  They've been visiting frequently.  Enough so that we're careful about letting the dogs out after dark.

Mild weather?  Critters getting used to us?  I can't say for sure.  I only know it has been a pretty wild winter even without wild weather!


  1. Hi Y'all,

    Got to run get my Human!

    Having spent a good part of her life living near or beside the water she misses the wood ducks, other ducks, geese, herons, and egrets as well as gulls, when we are here in the mountains.

    Eagles and hawks are common sights both here and at the shore. Deer, turkey, coyote, bear and bobcats are common visitors in the mountains.

    One thing neither of us is missing here in the mountains, are the alligators that kept me from one getting any water retrieves last year.

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  2. Oh, I wish I'd gotten more photos of the wood duck for you! I did take quite a few of the heron, but was afraid readers wouldn't be all that interested. (ditto my pix of Canadian geese) We do have bobcats here, but I never seem to have the camera handy. Had bear and wild hogs in VA, but (thankfully) never was close enough to take photos, if you know what I mean ;-) Gaters? No thanks! lol

  3. Oh, what beautiful birds! (But seeing them that close would give me the willies - I don't like seeing them swoop on the prey.)

    We've got all that you've got - except for armadillos! I had no idea they were as far NE as MO. I hear they're kind of like possums out here - frequent road kill. :(

    Our mild weather hasn't stirred up anything unusual with the animals (but I'm surprised we haven't seen confused reptiles and frogs). The robins have already arrived, though, and that's a sure sign of spring.

    What a great place you have there!

    1. Our robins arrived two weeks ago. A full month or more early. Such a strange winter!

      I HATE (not a strong enough word) the armadillos. When we moved here someone warned me about them and I thought they were kidding! Until I saw all the roadkill and realizes who/what was uprooting my flowers!

      I mostly like watching the hawks, but then I don't have any small puppies or kittens... if you know what I mean.

      Thanks, Elizabeth! We like our place... but still miss Virginia.


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