Monday, January 14, 2008

Nature Sightings

We are blessed with our new home to have it located adjacent to 600 acres of protected woodlands.

As such we do get wildlife. This includes: mice, usually found dead - smushed or rotted; bear, visiting as they do, rather oblivious to this whole "people" thing; snakes, along the driveway; chipmunks everywhere; and birds, at the feeder, under the feeder, nearby looking hopefully at the feeder with squirrels not far behind. Of course many of the animals like the snakes, bears, and chipmunks have disappeared for the season.

We've been seeing deer tracks around the house, because the snow leaves a perfect surface to tell who's been coming by. Back in November our neighbor told us how some deer were in their front yard playing tag with their bird-eating cat. It was only recently that we have actually seen deer on the property. About three weeks ago, some house guests noticed deer right out our kitchen window. I guess we needed new eyes to scope them out. There were three of them. Only a few days later, I saw another one taking its time munching on bark in the woods. I snapped a quick photo where you can just make it out.

Then last week, Sasha noticed a woodpecker and alerted me while I was in the shower. I had seen a Downy Woodpecker at the feeder once, so I was not in much of a hurry to see this one myself. When I finally saw it a few minutes later, I was awestruck. This was a male Pileated Woodpecker which is about 19 inches tall. That's huge. That's about the height of a newborn baby - up to your knee. We're talking Woody Woodpecker with the red head. It wasn't at the feeder, it was making it's own feeder out of an oak in the yard. After a while, it threw up it's wings like a costumed caped super-hero and peeled off into the woods skipping from tree to tree.

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