Tag Archives: nature

Have you ever….

 

Tried to photograph 4 fawns frolicking around your back yard… at dusk…. through a window?

It’s not easy.

And most of your shots come out looking like this:

 

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Or this:

 

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They look rather like ghost deer…

 

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But I assure you they were corporeal beings.

 

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They just rarely stand still.

 

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Or face the camera.

 

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The video is poor quality, and a bit shaky…. although it gets slightly better halfway through.

But you’ll see what I mean about frolicking.

 

 

Multiple Bambis!

There.

You have now fulfilled your cuteness quota for the day.

Anyone lose a Chukar?

 

As we were pulling out of our driveway the other day I spotted something odd in front of our deer ravaged Yew bushes….

 

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Naturally I made the husband stop while I ran back inside for my camera.

 

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It was an odd looking bird I hadn’t seen before…

 

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And when I looked it up online, I understood why.

 

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It was a Chukar.

Introduced from Eurasia, the sandy-brown Chukar is a game bird that lives in high desert plains of western North America, as well as in Hawaii and New Zealand. Its namesake call echoes across dry rocky slopes. It runs and scampers up steep terrain with the agility and speed of a mountain goat, prompting hunters to nickname it the “devil bird” for the brutal chase it gives. Dark bars on the sides and a band across the head and neck adorn this red-billed game bird.

 

A devil bird?

Well that’s disturbing…

 

 

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If you look at the map of it’s range in the U.S…..

 

 

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You’ll see it’s a long way from Maine.

Which got me curious enough to do a little research.

 

 

Oh, stop being so dramatic….. you might learn something.

It’s nothing you need or want to know, but still.

 

Depending on where you live, you may have the fortune of encountering a medium-sized game bird called Chukar. You’ll recognize this bird from their inclusion in many North American field guides, though they are not a native species. Chukars, pronounced “chuh-kahr“, are an introduced species, originating from mountains of middle Eurasia, now common around the western United States’ Great Basin north into western Canada. With this history, and a lack of showing any establishing populations in Maine, Chukars should be treated like other escaped domestic fowl.

 

 

Of course. Happy to…

 

 

The American Birding Association put forth Criteria for Determining Establishment of Exotics which Maine’s Chukars don’t meet. These birds are raised and released by commercial hunting operations with no success establishing wild populations. Northern Bobwhites are another game species widely released in Maine. While these small quails have successfully bred in the wild multiple times, none of the populations appear to be growing or even stable enough to warrant becoming established.

 

So basically they’ve taken these poor birds, who have no hope of surviving here, and released them into the wild so they can hunt and kill them. Of course the ones they don’t shoot will probably die of cold or starvation.

 

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Makes me wish I had scooped the sweet little guy up and brought him in the house as a pet.

Humans are cruel.

For bird nerds.

 

If you don’t spend countless hours staring out the window with camera in hand to see if a new bird has shown up at the horrendously expensive buffet of seeds, nuts and suet you arrange on what used to be your laundry pole?

Feel free to skip this post.

 

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But birders will get it.

The other day I spotted a Red Bellied Woodpecker. They used to be relatively rare in Maine and all the field guides say they shouldn’t come any farther north than Massachusetts… yet here they are.

Trying to get an unobstructed shot of one proved a bit more difficult.

 

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Juvenile starlings are notorious photo bombers.

 

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Almost…

 

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Finally.

 

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An even rarer spotting was this Scarlet Tanager.

 

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They’re usually forest dwellers and our place is pretty open.

 

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So I was tickled pink when this little beauty showed up.

 

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Or red, as the case may be.

That’s the wonderful thing about bird watching, you never know what you’ll see.

 

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By now our Baltimore Orioles are usually long gone, but this year I bought a feeder that houses grape jelly so they seem to be sticking around.

 

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These two made me laugh.

They seemed to be squaring off for an orange eating contest.

 

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Granted it doesn’t provide the same excitement of hot dog eating contests…

 

 

But there’s also less chance of projectile vomit…

So that’s a plus.

 

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Bird watching… there’s never a dull moment.

Alright, I lie. There are plenty of excruciatingly dull moments, but when something special does happen?

You smile.

 

WWF – Woodchuck division.

 

Warning…  woodchuck cuteness ahead.

 

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Yes, I’m afraid so.

 

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The babies are still sleeping on our deck.

 

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As well as still slightly off center when eating.

 

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And yes, momma chucker is still in dire need of support undergarments.

 

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But this is new a feeding position….

 

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And this gives me cause to wonder if woodchucks really do chuck wood.

 

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But the best parts lately are the wars.

Mock battles between the babies.

Serious cuteness!

 

 

 

Funny little scampers.

I could watch them all day…

 

Let’s Talk Chicken … Chapter 3.

 

If you missed the first two chapters of this riveting chicken series, catch up here:

Let’s talk chicken…

Let’s Talk Chicken… chapter 2.

Onward.

 

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This could be a trick question as chickens often eat ticks, but we’ll proceed anyway.

 

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Let’s start with some interesting chicken facts.

 

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Quick recap – You can’t beat a chicken off the line unless it’s at night… and if it catches you? It will unleash it’s inner T Rex.

My advice?

Don’t race a chicken.

 

 

 

More facts:

 

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Quick recap – There’s no need to buy your chickens deodorant or a birthday cake.

Though wearing the hat can be quite stylish.

 

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A 3 eyed chicken?

 

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I’ve often thought having a third eye on the top of my head would be helpful, though it would be hard to find the right pair of sunglasses…

 

 

Next up –

 

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Okay, whether you’re a chicken fan or not this is fascinating stuff.

They can literally be asleep and awake at the same time. How frickin’ cool is that?

Heck, I could snooze and finish off that 12 part documentary series about Heinrich Schliemann at the same time!  (1)

 

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So there you have it.

Never let it be said my blogs are not educational…

 

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(1)   A few years ago I started watching a PBS documentary series on the search for ancient Troy.

Was it dry? Perhaps a wee bit…

Was it boring? Not to a history buff like me… but the husband fell asleep approximately 7 minutes into each and every episode.

If he was a chicken we could have discussed it later.

Wild Kingdom… the River edition.

 

It’s not just the woodchucks who show up for a nosh at Casa River.

 

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We have a beautiful pair of foxes who are denning down in our woods.

 

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Hey now… I’m sharing the sights and sounds of my backyard.

Please be respectful.

 

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Early morning shots through a wet window are a little blurred.

 

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This is sharper.

 

 

 

Then there are the daily seed raiders…

 

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This not pregnant anymore doe just dropped her fawn in the woods 2 houses down and is late in blowing her winter coat.

Of course if we had this type of deer, our seeds would be safe.

 

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But if we had these?

We might not be.

 

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Yikes!

 

 

 

And do you remember the Catbird nest with it’s bright blue eggs?

 

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Well….

 

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New life is popping there too.

 

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Although momma Catbird doesn’t like it when I photograph her babies. Turn up your volume to hear her cry.

 

 

 

And then there’s this fellow…. who I stumbled on by accident and took one quick out of focus shot of before I hightailed it inside.

 

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At least I wasn’t looking at the business end.

 

 

 

 

Baby chucker update.

 

What…

You thought I’d run out of cute baby woodchuck pictures?

 

 

No, they’re still here.

 

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And still adorable.

 

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So there will be baby woodchuck butt shots….

 

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Baby woodchuck eating apple shots…

 

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Baby woodchuck following momma shots…

 

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Baby woodchuck napping on the deck in the sun shots…

 

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And various baby woodchucks just looking too damned cute shots for days, okay weeks, to come.

There’s even woodchuck baby I’m too  fat  fluffy to take a bath without falling over videos.

 

 

 

 

Which, btw…. took me two and half hours to upload to YouTube with our slow as molasses internet connection.

A little appreciation would not be unwelcome.

 

 

That’s better.