Cooler, drier weather has allowed us to venture into the woods for some of our walks. On a very still morning, parts of the lake looked like a reflecting pool.
We had a little taste of Fall last week, which I really did not mind, as the mosquitoes and deer fly were less active, allowing me to work outside in peace.
I often come across a toad in or near my barn, and the cats, fortunately do not seem to bother them. This fine specimen has to be the biggest one I have ever seen!
The numbers on the ruler don’t show up well in the photo, but he measured almost six inches long.
Turtles are on the move. It must be time for them to lay their eggs. I spotted this one trying to do so in the middle of my front lawn. Seems the digging was a little too hard there and she made her way over to the side lawn. I left her in peace, so I’m not sure if she was successful over there or not.
Came across this Snapper in the Park the other day. Always careful to keep my distance from these big guys!
I found this one at the beach. Not sure if it was a snapper or not, but was careful not to get too close.
Bunnies are not very welcome visitors to my garden. For one thing, they tend to eat my flowers, and they also make the dog bark.
I was lucky enough to spot two rabbits on the front lawn the other day before Abbie was aware of them, and I couldn’t resist trying snap a few photos.
A more welcome visitor was the Garter Snake I spotted on my front steps one morning. Although many people find them creepy, I know they are harmless and beneficial and was happy for the opportunity to photograph one.
This little guy was not happy to be photographed however, and quickly found a place to hide, slipping between the boards to disappear from sight.
Well, the cold weather finally did catch up with us, and we were in the deep freeze for a while. The lake in the Park finally froze over, and we even had some ice fisherman out there the other day.
The Canada Geese stuck around through December, but seem to have deserted us now. I have not seen or heard any for some time.
I finally did get to try out my new snowshoes, and they worked well on the few inches of snow we had a couple of weeks ago.
Most of the snow is gone now, as we are back to milder temperatures for a few days. We feel fortunate to have missed the big storm which has crippled the Northeast.
This Titmouse looks like he is feeling the cold as he patiently waits for his turn at the feeder. But February is just around the corner, and the days are noticeably longer, so Spring is not so very far away!
As the number of Bald Eagles increases, we see them in our area once in a while. Several times I have seen one circling high in the sky, only the flash of a white tail making identification possible. So we were very excited to spot one yesterday, right on our own road.
It was being harassed by a crow when I spotted it out of the corner of my eye as I drove by, and as I slowed down to get a better look, it dropped low and flew right ahead of us down the road, landing in a tree, where we were able to stop to get a good look at it.
Today, we spotted it again, feeding on a dead deer carcass close to the road. This time I did have a camera with me, and although it is not a great shot it is the first I have ever taken of a Bald Eagle in the wild, so it just has to go on the blog!
Our barn cats, Otis and Boo get along so well together, and when the weather gets chilly, they snuggle together keeping each other warm. It looks like I do need to supply them with a slightly larger bed though! 🙂
As expected, our unseasonably warm weather did not last. A series of cold, wet and windy days has prompted me to leave the camera at home, so I have been neglecting the blog. Today, the sun peeked out at last and I was able to get a few nice shots on our walk.The Canada Geese are gathering in larger and larger flocks by the lake. When we arrive at the Park in the morning, hundreds of them occupy the beach, picnic areas and parking lot. They are not happy to see us, and soon take to the air with loud complaints, and head out, probably to neighboring corn fields. They will need to build up their strength before they head South.
Robins are gathering together too, and will leave us soon. Our recent stretch of rainy days is supplying them with lots of worms, so they will probably stick around for a while yet.More cloudy days are in the forecast, but so far today is sunny, so we will enjoy it while it lasts.
Something spooked the horses the other day, so I stepped outside to see what had startled them. Turned out to be a buck and doe grazing next to the barn. Went back for the camera and managed to snap a few photos before they spotted me.
Tried to sneak a little closer, but the doe spotted me and gave the alarm. In seconds they both melted into the trees out of sight.
Our next visitor was this Tree Frog. He was about to climb the window in search of bugs attracted to the light.
I found this grasshopper when I was watering the Impatiens on the deck. Was surprised he stuck around long enough for photos, but it was quite early, and perhaps he wasn’t quite awake!
After about a week of Fall-like weather, we are back to Summer temperatures again. The last couple of days have been hot and humid with more of the same forecast for the rest of the week.
The Thistle is another flower we work so hard to keep out of our lawn and garden, we rarely stop to appreciate its beauty. The bees and Goldfinches love them, so I was pleased to find some growing next to the lake on our morning walk.
Came across a Bumblebee when photographing the thistle blooms, and he was kind enough to stick around till I got some good shots.
Two Summers ago, Bumblebees built a nest in our barn. I was concerned they would pose problems for us, and did some online searches. The first few pages only offered ways to kill them, but with some help from a beekeeper friend, I was able to learn that they are non-aggressive and would pose no risk to us or our animals. Also, they would not return to the same nest next year, so I did not have to worry about the nest growing larger each year.
Sure enough, they did not return to the barn the following summer, but did build just inside our garage. This year they are somewhere under the deck outside our back door. This door is in constant use, but the bees don’t seem at all concerned about us as we go in and out, and have not caused us any problems. With the shortage of honeybees, I am happy to have them around to pollinate my flowers. 🙂
I have learned I am not patient enough to be much of a wildlife photographer, but sometimes I get lucky. This rabbit has made its home under the spruce trees in our front garden, and was not the least bothered by me and my camera as I snapped away.
A few weeks ago, we came upon this family of Canada Geese and I managed a few shots before they swam away, complaining loudly at being disturbed. The babies are all grown up now, and hard to distinguish from the parents.
The Grape Jelly we put out for the Orioles has also been attracting a pair of Purple Finches, and the male was kind enough to pose for me the other day.
It looks like the Orioles have had a successful breeding season. The whole family is coming to the jelly now, lining up politely to wait for a turn.
Our Hummingbird feeder is doing a brisk trade too, but they are just too quick for me!
The campground in the Park was almost deserted on Monday, so Brian and I took our walk there. When I spotted a swan on the lake, I thought it would be one of the Mute Swans we often see there, but when I was able to get a closer look, I realized it was a Tundra Swan. Have never seen one in the wild before.
I went back later in the morning with my telephoto lens and managed to get some decent shots of it. It involved some scrambling through the woods and balancing on a downed tree, but I thought it was worth it! 🙂
It should be in migration now, and I wonder what it is doing here all alone, and if it will be able to continue its journey after resting up for a few days.Came across some more Rue Anemone on the trail along with plenty of Skunk Cabbage. Seems to be a lot of that around this Spring.
Spotted some Marsh Marigolds in bloom yesterday, but didn’t have my camera with me. The forest floor is getting greener by the day, and soon there will be lots of wildflowers. Temperatures are still dropping below freezing at night, but these delicate plants must be a lot tougher than they look!