"A Sand County Almanac"

"THERE ARE SOME WHO CAN LIVE WITHOUT WILD THINGS AND SOME WHO CANNOT."
"FOR US IN THE MINORITY THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEE GEESE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN TELEVISION.".....Aldo Leopold

"THE TABLES TURNED"

"COME FORTH INTO THE LIGHT OF THINGS. LET NATURE BE YOUR TEACHER"....William Wordsworth


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Short Eared Owls Near Gettysburg

Short eared owls have long been a species that I had heard much about but had never seen.  That all ended in a grand fashion two days ago when we took a ride to the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  A search on Google produced a good deal of information about areas to look for the owls, but a phone call to a friend who was recently there helped us to find the "spot".  Thanks, Joe!

A female northern harrier was hunting the grasslands when we arrived...





At 5:00 pm the harriers disappeared and six short eared owls took their place.  What a treat to have these birds flying about in good light, and getting close enough for decent photos.  There were quite a few other photographers and birders present at this well know location...






The owl display continued until it was too dark for photography and we reluctantly left for home.  The good news is that the area is only a thirty minute drive away, so we will be back...

 
If you have children that you would like to get interested in nature I can't imagine a better way than to take them owl watching.









Red Fox "Mousing"

Two days ago we ventured up to Bullfrog Road in Carroll County in search of short eared owls.  The owls did make an appearance when it was almost too dark for photography. 

Fortunately for us, this fox spent some time hunting for voles earlier in the evening.  It was at least two hundred yards from the road in these photos...




 
The fox stalked, pounced, and caught numerous voles while we watched.  It was catching them faster than they could be eaten and the fox went from spot to spot with its mouth bulging with the rodents...
 

 

 
Even at such a great distance the fox was hearing the sound of my cameras shutter...


Thanks for visiting, stay well, and come back soon.
 




Deer, Mink, Racoon, Skunk and Squirrel

Most readers know that we have been locked in a cold spell for some time now.  Freezing temperatures are hard on humans and wildlife alike.  The following images are of local wildlife venturing out into the cold.

The first is an American Mink...



A foraging Raccoon...



Striped Skunk looking for grubs...



Young Whitetail Deer...






Eastern Gray Squirrel...



Today is the first of March.  Can spring be far away?


Great Blue Heron

Great blue  herons are tenacious birds and some of them stay in our area all winter.  The one shown in the following photos was searching for prey in a small stream that was partially ice covered...




A small fish (minnow) can be seen in the beak.  I wonder how many of these tiny meals a bird this size needs each day?



 
 
When not stalking prey, herons can often be seen resting in the sun, usually a short distance from water...
 


Now that ice and snow covers most of the streams in our area great blue herons are rarely seen.  They congregate by the scores at Conowingo Dam on the Susquehanna River where there is usually open water all winter.






Saturday, February 28, 2015

Frederick County Raptor Hotspot, Part Two

Raptors have continued to be present at the fallow field on Stull Road that I described in my previous blog update.  At this time the field is under a blanket of snow which might be making the hunting harder, the numbers have dwindled to some degree.

Still present last week was this northern harrier...





 
At least two rough legged hawks are still present.  It might require a little patience to spot them, but those who persist, are usually rewarded...
 



 
 

Red tailed hawks are the most common species seen at this time.  It is easy to locate as many as ten during a single visit to the area...



 
Red shouldered hawks frequent the trees along Stull Road and occasionally perch on the utility poles running through the center of the field...
 


 
Thanks for visiting, stay well, and come back soon.