Posts Tagged Wildlife

Monthly Image: Hawk vs. Squirrel

A hawk, perhaps an immature Red-Tailed, landed on a branch outside the kitchen window while we were eating lunch.

After a minute or so, a squirrel ran up the maple and began taunting (?) the hawk:

Immature Red-Tail Hawk vs. Squirrel - approach

Immature Red-Tail Hawk vs. Squirrel – approach

The hawk obviously had no clue what’s going on inside that critter’s little brain:

Immature Red-Tail Hawk vs. Squirrel - faceoff

Immature Red-Tail Hawk vs. Squirrel – faceoff

The squirrel alternated between inching out on the branch, closer each time, and dashing back to the tree trunk, for maybe ten minutes. It eventually reached the rightmost patch of lichen, a foot from the hawk, without suffering any damage, after which it ran down the tree and away. We have no explanation.

Perhaps this is the same squirrel as before? All we know: (over)confidence goeth before gibbage.

Taken with the DSC-H5 near the end of the adventure; it took me a while to deploy the camera. The first picture looks diagonally upward from the kitchen, through three layers of 1950-era glass. The second comes from the back door, zoomed about 10x, with no tele-adapter. Obviously, good color correction didn’t happen here…



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Too Many Deer, Twice More

We spotted a classic example of deer damage at the corner gas / repair station:

Deer-smashed car

Deer-smashed car

The undamaged bumper below the smashed grill and hood is diagnostic; the legs bounce off the bumper, while the body punches the grill back through the radiator. The airbags didn’t fire, but I’m pretty sure that car is just as dead as the deer.

Plenty of deer-colored fur clinches the diagnosis:

Deer-smashed car - hair detail

Deer-smashed car – hair detail

A few days later, a vulture overflew me on Hooker Avenue:

Vulture - 2016-09-25 - Hooker Ave

Vulture – 2016-09-25 – Hooker Ave

It was flapping strongly, powering its way up to cruising altitude, which seemed odd that far into the urban heat island. On the return leg of the ride, I saw what had its attention:

Deer carcass - 2016-09-25 - Hooker Ave

Deer carcass – 2016-09-25 – Hooker Ave

All swoll up, as the saying goes, and ready for the carcass disposal crew…

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A Curiosity of Sparrows

There’s obviously something going on inside the long-abandoned nesting box:

Sparrow investigating bird box

Sparrow investigating bird box

You’ve seen this happen to people, too:

More sparrows on the bird box

More sparrows on the bird box

How many sparrows can fit on the roof of a bird box?

Four sparrows investigating bird box

Four sparrows investigating bird box

There’s always room for one more:

Late season sparrows on bird box

Late season sparrows on bird box

Perhaps they were having a family reunion?

Taken with the Canon SX230-HS from the patio, zoomed all the way, and ruthlessly cropped.

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Monthly Image: New Coopers Hawks

“Our” Cooper’s Hawks have long since flown off, although one occasionally swoops through the yard on an urgent mission. I took this picture on an early July morning, when they were still being companionable:

New Coopers Hawks - Watching the Area

New Coopers Hawks – Watching the Area

Taken with the DSC-H5 and 1.7x teleadapter, zoomed in all the way, and dot-for-dot cropped. The birds look fine and the image looks awful…


Wasp Flyby

I didn’t notice this at the time:

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The camera runs at 60 frame/s, so the entire show spans a bit more than half a second: zzzzzip!

I think it’s a member of the Yellow Jacket wasp family, noted for their in-your-face attitude and repeat-fire stinger. They’re highly capable flying machines, that’s for sure…

We were pulling out of the local “health food” store with fresh-ground nut butters in the packs, nearing the end of a 17 mile loop on a fine Sunday morning.



The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

We are not dog people, so being awakened at 12:45 one morning by a large dog barking directly under the bedroom windows wasn’t expected. After a bit of flailing around, I discovered the dog parked under the windows on the other end of the bedroom:

Dog on patio

Dog on patio

That’s entirely enough dog that I was unwilling to venture outside and attempt to affix it to, say, the patio railing, where it could await the town’s animal control officer in the morning:

Dog upright

Dog upright

It’s not a stray, because it wears two collars: one with leash D-rings and the other carrying a black electronics box that could be anything from a GPS tracker to a shock box that’s supposed to keep it inside one of those electronic fences. If the latter, a battery change seems past due.

Being a dog, it spent the next two hours in power-save mode on the patio, intermittently moaning / growling / barking at every state change in the back yard: scurrying rodents, falling leaves, far-distant sirens, neighborhood dogs, you name it. We would be dog people to want that level of launch-on-warning, but we’re not.

If parvovirus were available through Amazon Prime, I’d be on it like static cling. By the kilogram on Alibaba, perhaps?

Grainy photos taken in Nightshot IR mode with the DSC-F717, which works well enough after I (remember to) jiggle the Memory Stick to re-seat the ribbon cable connections.

Hat tip to Sherlock in Silver Blaze.



Garden Shelter, Now With Toad

Mary used a garbage can lid to shelter some plants, left it in the garden for a while, and a critter moved into the new shelter. She first noticed two well-prepared front entrances:

Garden shelter - front entrances

Garden shelter – front entrances

And a rear entrance or, perhaps, the emergency exit:

 Garden shelter - rear entrance

Garden shelter – rear entrance

Gingerly lifting the lid, she found a dismantled bird corpse:

Garden shelter - bird corpse

Garden shelter – bird corpse

Along with a large stash of sour cherries from a nearby bush:

Garden shelter - sour cherry stash

Garden shelter – sour cherry stash

A good-size toad kept an eye on the proceedings:

Garden shelter - toad in lair

Garden shelter – toad in lair

We didn’t know toads ate sour cherries, but the evidence seems clear:

Garden shelter - toad on sour cherries

Garden shelter – toad on sour cherries

The image of a toad taking down a bird can’t be unseen, but, more likely, a recently fledged nestling took shelter and couldn’t figure out how to get out again.

We’ll never know the rest of the story.

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