"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


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

First Love

There is an old saying about never forgetting ones first love.  I don't know if the same thought can be applied to deer, but I enjoyed this young buck showing his exuberance and vitality as he experienced his first pangs of "love" during the rut.  It all began with a whiff of female pheromones near a licking branch and scrape...





Even though there were no does in sight, he could not control his hormonal reaction to the intoxicating scent...


 


If the first doe is not interested...
 
 
There are plenty more to pursue...
 
 
This is a wonderful time of the year to be outdoors.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Chasing Phase Of The Whitetail Rut

For the past few days I have seen activity that would lead one to believe that the whitetail deer have entered the "chasing" phase of the rut.  More bucks are being spotted traveling alone, no longer in the bachelor groups as seen previously.  Less than a week ago I was watching one of my favorite spots when a doe came running by...


Not far behind was a 9 point buck trying to overtake her...

 
She dodged behind a round bail in an attempt to elude him...
 

 

For a short time there was a stand-off...


Then, he would begin his pursuit again...


It was a cat and mouse game that went on for several minutes...


 
Finally, both deer began to tire...
 
 
 
After the doe bedded down, it did not take the buck long to lie down near by...
 
 
I have seen many similar scenarios in the past.  Often the buck will stay near the doe for hours, or even days. Whether one is a hunter or a photographer, now is a very exciting time to be in the deer woods.
 
Thanks for visiting, be well, and stop back soon. 


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Changing Seasons On The Farm


What a difference there can be from one autumn day to another.  I am not referring to the changing weather, but rather to the erratic behavior of the deer on the farm.  Many mornings only a doe and her fawns will appear in the alfalfa field…
 
 

The next morning, eight or more does along with bucks may be present…
 
 
 
From now until the end of November, most mornings will find me parked along the lane...
 
 
  I try to be there before the sun is up to watch as the golden morning light chases away the shadows…
 



It is often at this time of day that the sound of migrating geese can be heard as they return from their nesting grounds far to the North…
 
 
 
Geese are intermittent visitors to the farm.  Far more dependable are the chickadees and tufted titmice that can almost always be found…
 
 
 
Pileated woodpeckers fly from one stand of forest to another uttering their raucous calls…
 
 
Their excavations into the standing, yet dead, trees provide shelter for numerous other species…
 
 
While waiting for something wild to appear, I often marvel at the amount and variety of life that is present so close to the edge of town.  The constant hum of traffic on a major highway always provides unwanted background noise to my quiet reflections; yet somehow the more subtle sounds of a squirrel eating his breakfast, or a white-breasted nuthatch tapping on a limb, manages to reach my ears…
 


Although I mainly watch for deer...
 
 




 and turkeys at the farm...
 
 


 
I also enjoy seeing the other wildlife such as groundhogs, like this one that appears to have been flooded from his den…
 
 
Or this one, that thinks it is hidden and I cannot see him…
 

A raccoon paused just long enough for me to take a photo...


I have only seen one wood turtle at the farm…
 
 
Not to be confused with the more common box turtle…
 


Among the birds rearing young were a pair of robins…
 
 
Various sparrows…




At least one pair of brown thrashers…
 
 
Brown-headed cowbirds…
 
 
Grackles by the hundreds…
 
 
Starlings always have a nest in the same tree from year to year…
 
 
 
I watched a pair of Baltimore orioles build and nest and hatch their brood for the second year…
 



On occasion I see a bald eagle cruising high above the fields and the river…
 
 
A number of warblers were present this year, such as this yellow-rumped warbler…
 

Indigo buntings are plentiful along the lane...


I had several opportunities to watch a coopers hawk attempt to catch a squirrel but it was not successful while I was watching…
 
 
One of the reasons I enjoy mornings at the farm is that as the sun rises the light gets better for photography with each passing minute…
 



By contrast, the light diminishes with each minute in the evening…
 




There is still enough light to observe wildlife long after adequate light for photography has been lost. 
Almost every year there is at least one piebald deer in the herd.  This year there is a buck and a fawn…
 


I hope the piebalds escape the sharpshooters, but I am not optimistic about that happening.

Did I mention that I own this farm?  Well, technically I own a 1/318,946,000 interest in the farm.  I feel protective of it; almost as if it were 100% mine. 
I enjoy watching the red fox cross the fields…
 
 
Seeing a coyote is a very special event.  I am willing to wager that not one hundredth of one percent of visitors see a coyote on this property.   I have seen, and photographed, at least eight coyotes over the years.  No doubt there are many more that remain hidden…
 

 

Changing seasons are magical anywhere.  The Worthington Farm, at the Monocacy National Battlefield, is one of the places where seasonal changes are most important to me.  The fact that it is only a short ride from my house is a huge bonus.

Finally, when writing a blog post that contains so many bird names there arises the eternal question “to capitalize or not to capitalize”?  Just so you won’t think that I take the issue lightly I will recommend reading a post found here: http://penelopedia.blogspot.com/2010/12/bird-names-to-capitalize-or-not.html

Thanks for visiting, be well, and visit "my" farm soon.  Maybe I will see you there.