Sunday, June 10, 2007
- Groundhogs - there seems to have been a population explosion. We've seen mature, fat groundhogs scurrying across the driveway, and smaller ones burrowing around in the orchard. They're cute, but I wonder why there are so many?
- Osprey - We see lots of birds, and until recently the most unusual was a blue heron, who is now a regular visitor to our pond. But one spring day we saw a bird we didn't recognize. Consulting our field guide we determined it was an osprey. Now that was a surprise! It spent most of the day sitting in a tree looking for food in the pond.
- Fox kits - foxes are commonplace (see: ducks), but coming across fox kits was a real surprise. One day in April, Chris was mowing the pasture, and came across a kit sitting out in the open. He and younger daughter J convinced it to go back into its den, and Chris stopped mowing for the day. The next day we went out to see if all was clear. Looking into the den, we saw two tiny pairs of eyes peeking out at us! Chris decided to mow away from their den. At one point he turned around and both kits were out, sitting next to their den and watching him mow! He later saw their mother at the edge of the pasture. We haven't seen them since and expect she may have moved them to safer quarters.
These three sightings were what ultimately inspired me to start this blog.
Our ducks are still around, but far fewer in number. Their survival skills are not very strong, and many have fallen victim to foxes. As of this writing, the "beak count" stands at 8: 2 pekins, 3 khaki campbells, and 3 cayugas. Canada geese fare much better. Over 3 winters we've come to expect large numbers of geese for Christmas, a couple pairs in the spring, and 8-12 goslings every year. They're wonderful!
Sunday, June 3, 2007
We were also able to capitalize on a local nursery that was closing, offering its entire inventory at half price. We bought several trees for the back yard, including cherry, ginko biloba, and bald cypress. We were also able to pick up a number of plants for the front garden (rhododendron, holly, roses, etc.)
Chris also started a bee colony, with mixed results. The hive is located in the orchard, ideal for both the bees and the apple trees. While it thrived initially, by autumn it became clear the colony was no longer viable. Was our hive affected by whatever has caused the alarming decline in bee populations across the country?
Saturday, June 2, 2007
Most of the geese that visited over Christmas left in early spring, but a couple pairs stuck around and then one day, there were families! Goslings had arrived! We have also been thrilled by visits from a blue heron, who really enjoys hanging out by the pond.