Saturday, December 6, 2014

Meanwhile, back at the watering hole....

While we've been running around like nuts, and spending money we may or may not have, the animals are doing their thing. One would like to think that they're thankful every day.

Enjoy the videos and pictures.

A raccoon family reunion

Go outside and play.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Vulpes vulpes may be the most widespread mammal on earth

At least some experts believe that to be the case.They can be found at all latitudes and in a variety of climates from forest to desert. They are happy to live in close contact with man.

There certainly are a lot of them at Cromwell Valley Park, and at Hampton National Historic Site, and probably lots of places in between. Almost everywhere I put my camera, another beautiful red fox appears.

Red fox primarily eat meat, usually small mammals, but also some birds, frogs, crickets, vegetables when they have to. This week, I captured a fox with dinner in its mouth. See below.

Mating season is coming soon in December and January. The female, or vixen, will give birth to four to six kits next spring. Maybe we'll be lucky enough to catch them on camera.

Last week, I put the camera overlooking a small creek near the Sherwood Farm. I found quite a bit of activity.

And please note--the date and time on these pictures is wrong. I have to admit I forgot to reset them after changing the batteries. All the pictures below were recorded last week.

Look closely, see two foxes?

Deer are pretty common around here too.


Two foxes. Is the one on the right claiming his territory, or saying something else?

Deer breath.

Turkey vulture. Just out of view in the left rear is a dead deer. That may be why the vulture is here.

This and the next two photographs show the fox with a meal. I can't make out just what, but perhaps a groundhog?

What do you think it is?

A raccoon.

Belay that, as the sailors say. Two raccoon.

It's a beautiful world. Go outside and play in it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

One foxy post, updated

So, if you like foxes, keep reading.

The camera has been looking at this tree for some time because some animal has been digging a hole under it. Several times through the summer and fall I filled in the hole. Maybe ten or fifteen days later, I would find the hole dug up again. Yet nothing appeared to be living under the tree.

I decided to move my camera from Cromwell Valley Park to see if I could determine what animal was digging the hole.

I did find out.

As you can see by reviewing the videos below, a fox is hunting something that lives under the tree, probably a vole or mole.

Fox are beautiful animals, aren't they?

Enjoy the videos.

It's a beautiful world. Go outside and play in it.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Guess what you find under a black walnut tree in October?

Since my last post, I have moved the camera under a black walnut tree. You probably won't be very surprised to learn that there are lots of squirrels eating and storing lots of walnuts under black walnut trees in Autumn.

There also are red fox, whitetail deer, and birds.

I hope you enjoy the videos.

This one is very interesting. Keep watching to the end and you'll see a second animal appear.

Don't forget to go outside and play.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

It's been a quiet week.....

I placed the camera along the edge of a field where I though I spied a game trail. I was wrong. No game showed up on the camera.

But I did capture a sparrow.

Meanwhile, I have an animal mystery at work. So the camera is helping me solve that problem. If I find anything interesting, I'll let you know. 

Go outside and play.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The deer are still there (and a bat too)

There's not a lot to report with this post. The deer are still active but their antlers appear to be grown. You might also notice that they have rubbed the velvet off their antlers.

Here are some recent videos you may enjoy.

And a bonus video with a flying animal. It flies by pretty fast but I believe it's a bat.

Go outside and play.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Only deer have them

And they are not horns. Antlers are a form of bone; they grow from a small button-shaped knob on the male deer's head called a pedicle. Only the deer family, Cervidae, grow them. The deer grow their antlers during the summer, in preparation for the rut. Sometime in midwinter the antlers fall off. After they fall off, they generally don't last long as mice, porcupines, and squirrels eat them as they are rich in mineral content.

Why they grow them is a question that scientists are still trying to answer. They require a great deal of energy to grow so they must offer some advantage. They don't seem to be defense against predators as only male deer grow them. If they were defense, we might expect females to also grow them. So, for males, they may be for fighting other males during the rut, or for attracting females.

"When it comes down to it, though, the only thing we can be sure of is this — why antlers? Because they're a handy weapon against other male deer! Drawing the attention of the ladies may possibly be just an extra (not primary) benefit." is the final conclusion of the  Mississippi State University Deer Lab.  You can read more here.

Horns, however, are for defense. They are grown by both the male and female of the family bovidae.  Bovidae, are cloven hoofed, ruminant animals, such as cows.

And here is a fun game to help you learn the difference. Courtesy of our friends, the National Park Service.

a deer rub.
The deer antlers at Cromwell are still covered in velvet. The velvet is a skin-like covering over the bone that supplies blood and nutrients to the antlers. After the antlers are grown, the velvet dies and the deer rub it off on trees. This is the cause of deer rubs, that you may have noticed at one time or another.

Below are some recent pictures of the deer at Cromwell Valley Park. Enjoy them, I hope.

Don't forget to go outside and play.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Family portrait, Birds in flight, and the Deer in velvet

Summer. That's my excuse for the delay since my last post. It's a pretty good summer in the family, though.

The camera has been in a couple different locations, and captured some interesting photographs. Three subjects seem to jump out from the rest. A family group of raccoon, both day and night; various birds in flight, and sitting on the camera; and the buck's antlers are coming out, still in velvet.

A disclaimer. Please disregard the date and time stamp. The camera got wet, and I had to dry it out. In the process I reset it and forgot to set the date and time. All the photographs in this post were taken in the last three weeks.

Raccoon family.

A set of photographs of a mother and children. Aren't these fun?

And maybe even more fun. The same family at night. Look closely. Those eyes are in there.

And in an open field, some birds, in flight and sitting on the camera.

And the deer are out in force. The yearlings are growing up, and the bucks are growing their antlers. 

 It's a beautiful world. Go outside and play in it.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Still no turtle--and a two for one special

Still no turtle. And that reminds me that I've also never caught a skunk on film.

I wonder why that is. There must be skunks in the area. They live in a variety of habitats and eat most everything.  And apparently their population is growing like crazy in many cities. See this fascinating article in the most recent Outside magazine. 

Someday, maybe, I'll capture a skunk.

Meanwhile, where I can't find a turtle, I have found some other animals. 

You'll recognize this raccoon. And you may think that it is washing it's food--that's a commonly held belief. So commonly held that it's Latin name is "Procyon lotor". The lotor means one who washes, or washer. 

Current thinking, however is that the raccoon is not washing its food, but that it has very delicate feeling in its paws. So it hunts by feel.

In the photographs to the right, the raccoon is hunting for food in the pond. Crayfish and other food found in ponds are a major part of the raccoon's diet.

The home range of the raccoon varies, but seems to be seven acres at a minimum. They especially like to be around water. Cromwell Valley Park has over 400 acres and a lot of water, so I expect has a pretty good raccoon population.

And here is a very wet mammal. I'm pretty sure it's a groundhog, probably the same one we saw in my last post. I didn't know groundhogs like water. But this one, at least, does.

My last picture is a two for one special. 

You can see why another name for the raccoon is ringtail. 

Take a close look at the center distance. 

See those eyes?

Apparently the raccoon also saw those eyes.

It appears to have exited the scene to the right, and pronto.  Then a fox ambles in to the scene nonchalantly.

Stay tuned. The camera is now looking for the mean troll under a bridge. Think I'll find one?