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Thread: Backyard Wildlife

  1. #1441
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    Backyard Wildlife

    While I was enjoying a cigar last night, I heard leaves rustling outside of my shelter. I peaked through the window and saw a first not only for the Ďbackyardí but also in all my time here: a ruffed grouse. Not this one but its near twin:

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  2. #1442
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    I havenít seen deer for some time at my house. Saturday Iíd been asleep, woke up a little a bit after five (I do not get up at five), thinking I heard a sound like someone lightly knocking at the front door. I wasnít sure, I could have been dreaming, and I was in the back bedroom (about the furthest point in the house from the door).

    I went to see what was going on, looking through windows (there was just a bit of light and I wasnít about to open a door without checking). I saw a deer looking at me standing in the front yard, also nobody was at my door. I went out then and it moved into the street when it saw me. In the dim light it looked like there were two or three more further down the road. There were no people around.

    Iím guessing they might come to my street early when people arenít usually around to munch on plants. I have no idea what the knocking sound was. Perhaps it was a coincidence and I had dreamed it. Perhaps somebody did come to the door but left quickly. Or perhaps it was a deer doing something that I interpreted as knocking (though it is amusing to imagine that deer knocking at my door).

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." ó Abraham Lincoln

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  3. #1443
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    We used to have Stellar Jays that knocked at the door. My wife had been feeding peanuts to the squirrels at the sliding door to the upper deck and the jays caught on. They'd come and rap on the glass with their beaks looking for peanuts.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  4. #1444
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    I was away for a few days on what's becoming an almost annual motorbike trip to the Nass Valley. I love being there in early May - there are amazing fragrances from the plants that are just leafing out, few other tourists are there, and the locals are friendly. Three years ago a friend and I had a scary close up encounter with a pair of grizzly bears on one of the less-travelled gravel roads. This time I had the bear spray in my jacket pocket, just in case. And sure enough, I saw one (and based on the coat colour, I think it may have been one of the two I'd seen in 2016), but I saw him first, tooted the horn, and after he stood up and looked around, he took off into the woods. That's the way it's supposed to work.

    That evening I stopped at tidewater to take photos. There's a curious, purposeful placement of stones at the edge of mudflats, and I wanted to document this. So I'm playing with the picture format, zooming in and out, walking around, and panning to find a shot that captures what was done there as well as the distant mountains. The light wasn't very good and I was really concentrating to figure how to capture it. In the end I didn't get the shot I wanted because I was surprised by a grizzly walking into the scene about halfway between me and the rocks. I hopped on the bike and got out of there, bags open, sitting on my gloves, helmet not properly done up. This picture sort of sets the scale:



    But I realized that I might get some acceptable shots of the bear from a safe distance by using the bike as a brace for the camera and zooming in. By then it was walking amongst those rocks.





    Still, far as I was away from that bear, I didn't want to push my luck because they can really cover ground in a hurry.
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  5. #1445
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    You just need to have a slower companion!

    Wait, I think I used that one just a week or so ago.

    Meanwhile, this was overhead when I picked up my wife at the beauty shop yesterday. No positive ID, but most likely turkey vultures. My first thought was "what died?"
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    Also saw a dolphin in the bay a couple of days ago.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  6. #1446
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torsten View Post
    I was away for a few days on what's becoming an almost annual motorbike trip to the Nass Valley. I love being there in early May - there are amazing fragrances from the plants that are just leafing out, few other tourists are there, and the locals are friendly. Three years ago a friend and I had a scary close up encounter with a pair of grizzly bears on one of the less-travelled gravel roads. This time I had the bear spray in my jacket pocket, just in case. And sure enough, I saw one (and based on the coat colour, I think it may have been one of the two I'd seen in 2016), but I saw him first, tooted the horn, and after he stood up and looked around, he took off into the woods. That's the way it's supposed to work.

    That evening I stopped at tidewater to take photos. There's a curious, purposeful placement of stones at the edge of mudflats, and I wanted to document this. So I'm playing with the picture format, zooming in and out, walking around, and panning to find a shot that captures what was done there as well as the distant mountains. The light wasn't very good and I was really concentrating to figure how to capture it. In the end I didn't get the shot I wanted because I was surprised by a grizzly walking into the scene about halfway between me and the rocks. I hopped on the bike and got out of there, bags open, sitting on my gloves, helmet not properly done up. This picture sort of sets the scale:

    ]

    But I realized that I might get some acceptable shots of the bear from a safe distance by using the bike as a brace for the camera and zooming in. By then it was walking amongst those rocks.

    Still, far as I was away from that bear, I didn't want to push my luck because they can really cover ground in a hurry.
    Some great photos - but I would have been scared stiff. From what I understand they could catch a bike rider on the flat?

  7. #1447
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    You just need to have a slower companion!
    Ha ha, yes, I've been told that...

    Meanwhile, this was overhead when I picked up my wife at the beauty shop yesterday. No positive ID, but most likely turkey vultures. My first thought was "what died?"
    I don't think I've ever seen those. I just checked my guidebook to see how far north they come, and see that you're near their northern limit on the coast.

    Quote Originally Posted by ozduck View Post
    Some great photos - but I would have been scared stiff. From what I understand they could catch a bike rider on the flat?
    Well, when I first saw that one I was scared, because it was so unexpected and so close. And although I was far away when I began taking the pictures, he was getting closer (those are at focal length 626 mm and 758 mm, respectively, on a 35mm equivalent). But this one didn't seem interested in me. I was more concerned about meeting one on that narrow, rough gravel road, and it not yielding, because there is not much room to maneuver and they can reportedly run as fast as ~58 km/h, which was about my top speed with that heavy bike on the roughest portions of the road. This encounter was along a paved highway.

    Oh, and I consider that area my backyard.

  8. #1448
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    @ Torsten - Wow!

    @ Trebuchet - I would guess TVs (turkey vultures) too, but a little hard to tell. No scale, but they seem big, which narrows the selection. I look for a wobbly flight and the feathers at the tips of the wing often spread out like individual fingers. And also @ Torsten, I never thought of Turkey Vultures having a northern limit, they are so common around "balmy" Ohio, but you are right, they barely get into Southern Canada.
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

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  9. #1449
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    We have a couple of flocks of turkey vultures that hang out at Armand Bayou Park/Nature Center. They scavenge the picnic tables when they can.
    Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by ignorance or stupidity.
    Isaac Asimov

    You know, the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They donít alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit their views.
    Doctor Who

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  10. #1450
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torsten View Post

    Well, when I first saw that one I was scared, because it was so unexpected and so close. And although I was far away when I began taking the pictures, he was getting closer (those are at focal length 626 mm and 758 mm, respectively, on a 35mm equivalent). But this one didn't seem interested in me. I was more concerned about meeting one on that narrow, rough gravel road, and it not yielding, because there is not much room to maneuver and they can reportedly run as fast as ~58 km/h, which was about my top speed with that heavy bike on the roughest portions of the road. This encounter was along a paved highway.

    Oh, and I consider that area my backyard.
    I had just read this story before I read yours. So I already had been primed for your "scary" photos. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/10/o...sultPosition=4

  11. #1451
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    My current backyard wildlife involves a skunk doing it's best to dig a den under my garage's concrete slab. Have caught him (or her) on camera over the course of a week digging around 3am, as I fill it back in each day when I'm certain it's not in there. We're both stubborn.

  12. #1452
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    @ Torsten - Wow!

    @ Trebuchet - I would guess TVs (turkey vultures) too, but a little hard to tell. No scale, but they seem big, which narrows the selection. I look for a wobbly flight and the feathers at the tips of the wing often spread out like individual fingers. And also @ Torsten, I never thought of Turkey Vultures having a northern limit, they are so common around "balmy" Ohio, but you are right, they barely get into Southern Canada.
    Yeah, quite large, and in a big flock. Other candidates like eagles (which are bigger anyhow), hawks, and ravens don't do that, I think.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  13. #1453
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    In upstate SC, the turkey vultures are generously supported by the local roadkill, particularly by dead deer, which can bring a half dozen or more to one spot.
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
    ó Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi (1883)

  14. #1454
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Yeah, quite large, and in a big flock. Other candidates like eagles (which are bigger anyhow), hawks, and ravens don't do that, I think.
    Hawks will form "kettles" (the birders term for these circling flocks), but generally only during migration. Turkey vultures do them routinely.
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

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  15. #1455
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    And also @ Torsten, I never thought of Turkey Vultures having a northern limit, they are so common around "balmy" Ohio, but you are right, they barely get into Southern Canada.
    I'm completely unfamiliar with them. I always think of them living in really warm areas - maybe from a lifetime of seeing photos of them in such environments.

    Quote Originally Posted by ozduck View Post
    I had just read this story before I read yours. So I already had been primed for your "scary" photos. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/10/o...sultPosition=4
    That's a very good article, ozduck. I remember when the attack described in it was in the news. It's quite a remote town, in a really picturesque setting. The last I was there was almost 17 years ago.

  16. #1456
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    Some of our wildlife - a bit less scary than Torsten's ursine friends

    We went away for a couple of days to the Southwest of Western Australia. These photos are taken at Hamelin Bay which is about 300 Km south of us. The stingrays in this bay are very calm and curious and like to hang out for the chance of some free fish. They are protected in this area.

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    The bigger one was over 1 metre from wingtip to wingtip

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    You can see how close to the shore they come.

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    An overview of the beach. The timbers are the remnants of an old shipping jetty.

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  17. #1457
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    Very cool! Is that another ray in front of the person in the third picture?
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  18. #1458
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Very cool! Is that another ray in front of the person in the third picture?
    Yes it certainly is. There were three or four of them flapping around mostly only about a maximum of 5 metres from the shore. The one closest to me when I took this photo was the largest of them.

    They come right up to you feet in hope of a treat. Apparently mostly around during the summer so we were lucky it was a sunny day (22C) for late autumn. For a little more https://hamelinbayholidaypark.com.au...the-sting-rays

  19. #1459
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    Yes, very cool. I didn't know they did that.

  20. #1460
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    Backyard Wildlife

    We have a red fox that roams the neighborhood, and it drives my dog nuts, especially now that we sleep with the window open.

    When she smells the fox, she whines and jumps to go out to our fenced yard.

    When letting her out, Iím intentionally clumsy at the door to make noise, and turn on the lights. Hopefully, the fox gets the message, and they wonít have a direct encounter.



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  21. #1461
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    Across the road from the front yard wildlife:
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    Ain't he a cut little guy? And I do mean little -- maybe five inches long. I assume it's a juvenile.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  22. #1462
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    I've been seeing some new birds feeding along the canal the last week or so. Turns out they're yellow-crowned night herons. There was an article in the Houston Chronicle about them. They normally stay hidden, feeding at dawn or dusk, but the heavy rains a couple of weeks ago have increased their food supply and they're venturing out in daylight to take advantage.
    Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by ignorance or stupidity.
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    You know, the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They donít alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit their views.
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  23. #1463
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Ain't he a cut little guy? And I do mean little -- maybe five inches long. I assume it's a juvenile.
    Angus, the cat who allowed me to provide him a home and food for many years, brought me one of those once.

  24. #1464
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    The cross traffic was really slow a few evenings ago.

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    Conserve energy. Commute with the Hamiltonian.

  25. #1465
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    Nice snapper. Keep your fingers away from the front end.
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

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  26. #1466
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    Nice snapper. Keep your fingers away from the front end.
    Yes. I did help this guy across the road, but did so by grasping the shell from near the back, just above the two hind legs, where none of the sharp bits could get close to me. And I made sure to be very conscious of where my hands and his mouth were at all times.
    Conserve energy. Commute with the Hamiltonian.

  27. #1467
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    Nice snapper. Keep your fingers away from the front end.
    The only time I picked up a similar beastie to that one was to rescue it from drowning! I was taking my dog for a walk near a wetlands reserve when two woman ran up requesting help. A tortoise had slid down a muddy bank into ditch and had become stuck under a piece of rock/concrete with his head underwater and his rear legs kicking helplessly in the air. I was able to lie down and reach him before he ran out of breath.

  28. #1468
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    I picked up a non-snapping turtle of some sort in a dying town in Oklahoma, in front of a cabin where Jim Thorpes was supposed to have lived, so my wife could take a picture. It peed on me.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  29. #1469
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    A good day for spotting wildlife along the canal ... 2 snowy egrets, 6 blue herons, 2 night herons, 2 cormorants, 7 turtles all in a three block stretch.
    Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by ignorance or stupidity.
    Isaac Asimov

    You know, the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They donít alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit their views.
    Doctor Who

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  30. #1470
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    As I was getting up this morning, I glanced out the window and said "Hey, a bunny just hopped down the driveway". Then I had to explain to my anxious wife that it was a rabbit, not our cat named Bunny, who is strictly indoors.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

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