Thursday, February 19, 2009

Snowy Day

After several weeks with no new snowfall, we finally had some last night - about 6 inches. It is a heavy wet snow (perfect for snowmen!) that is already starting to melt.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Two opossums!

Yesterday afternoon we saw an opossum again - this time headed down the hill below the Pardoe building walking on the well-worn snowshoe trail towards the barn. We had to get some things from the barn for our upcoming February WildQuest camp anyway, so we went down and watched the opossum for a bit, too. He/she came into the barnyard and sat for a long time outside one of the fences, focused rather intently on the Garden Shed. After a minute or two, a second opossum appeared! It came out from under the Garden Shed and wandered about, then went back under, joined soon thereafter by the first opossum. Perhaps we will have opossum babies in the near future?

Here is a picture of Opossum #1 while it was waiting outside the fence:

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


We have been seeing opossum tracks all over the place and today we looked out and saw him right around the corner of the Pardoe building!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Cooper's Hawk

We went out this afternoon to check out the Sugar House and make a list of what needs to be done before our sugaring programs start. Then we headed toward the pond and found coyote tracks and fisher tracks near an area where it looks like an animal cached something on top of a rock outcropping. On the way back up toward the farm we came across a leg from The Deer and just as we passed that saw a large bird fly up from the ground to the limb of a big oak tree. We were able to get quite close and get some pictures and later identified it as a Cooper's hawk. The hawk had just killed a red squirrel and was eating it up in the tree. After we turned to continue on, we came to the kill site.

A great afternoon to be out - not a cloud in the sky!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Nature's Suet Feeder

Yesterday we went out to see what is going on with The Deer (see previous posts). We discovered that the deer is now completely skeletal and quite disarticulated. First we came upon a drag mark filled with hair, scat and urine markings, where predators had dragged it further down the hill from where it previously lay. Further down the hill we came across a section of the pelvis and backbone with a chickadee feeding on it:

Beyond that we found the skull with the jawbone separated from it. All over the place were bits of fur and fragments of rib bones (characteristic of coyotes feeding). We could see areas where the scavengers had probably taken a section of the deer, trotted a short distance away and lay down to eat it. We also discovered the frozen rumen (stomach contents) which are usually the least delectable and left for last. Amazing how much has happened in only three weeks, though if it wasn't so cold and frozen out there things probably would have happened even faster.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Parking Lot Tracking

We had a dusting of snow last night and there were so many good tracks in the driveway this morning! Here are a couple of pictures:

From top to bottom: A small bird, some sort of canine (looks too big to be a fox, possibly coyote?), crow.