Wildlife watch, late September

Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. ~Isaiah 35:6


Two does and two fawns grazed casually on the shrubs this afternoon, before playfully prancing across the field toward the pond. Such a beautiful sight.

These were a different set of deer from the three does I saw earlier today as I sat in my vehicle, watching them cross behind the big oak near the playground. The woods are full of deer this year, it seems-- and big ones, too: two of them are larger than most does I’ve ever seen.
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Wildlife watch, mid-September

A couple of crows have been at it all day today, cawing and flitting up and down from the trees just outside my window. They surprised me several times with their cawing, and one time the flutter of wings so close to the window startled me.

Late in the afternoon, a pair of deer came out for a snack-- a doe and fawn, with spots still clearly showing on the young one. They munched for a bit, and I noticed them in time to watch for a few minutes, wondering to myself about how good twigs and leaves taste to a deer.

As they made their way around the bend, mother doe was startled by the crows, too-- enough to jump. Young fawn remained careless, not yet accustomed to the need to be wary. Crows are harmless to deer, though, and they continued on their way for a while before finding a convenient hole back into the brush.
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Wildlife Watch, early September

Well, the does are back to making frequent appearances. Sunday morning I saw the “pair” that regularly moved together last fall-- I think a mother/daughter couple. Only this time, they were accompanied by two fawns, spots still showing. They moved down the left side of the field, then stepped into the woods about 50 yards from my window. I’ve seen them several times, and the other group as well.

I’ve also seen bucks a couple of times. One was just a glimpse of the big guy I first saw last fall; he stood at the edge of the far side of the field for a moment, then turned quickly back into the woods. The other was a younger (looking), smaller buck who crossed the field on his way to the pond. Thirsty in the late-summer heat, I suppose.
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Wildlife Watch, mid-August

The deer have been moving more and more. Over the past week, I’ve seen does almost every day-- and usually multiple times a day. They are frequently lurking just inside the edge of the woods behind the big oak, and they love to eat the berries and leaves off of the brush out of my office window.
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Wildlife Watch, July 2008

It’s been a while since I’ve given an update on the wildlife around the church-- but that doesn’t mean it has been absent.

This summer has been inconsistent: sometimes the heat has appearently kept all the creatures under cover and in the shade; at other times, I’ve seen them out in force.

This morning, two does walked by the windows of my study, just as they have done so many times before. Again, it looked to be a mother and daughter-- though I think the daughter must be a yearling, not a fawn, since she didn’t have any hint of spots. Is this the same mother-daughter pair I saw so often last fall?

Earlier in the week I saw a group of them grazing in the field behind the church-- all does. There were at least five, but it was dusk and difficult to tell, especially because the grass was quite tall.

I’m certain that I’ll see more and more as the fall approaches. Now back to work...
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Wildlife Watch for Holy Week (and some)

Welcome back to the wildlife!

As spring emerges, I've noticed the more conspicuous presence of my wildlife friends in the past week or so.

Last week, the does returned to the field behind the church; I saw them again yesterday, under the big oak tree by the playground. These days there are five of them. I still maintain my assumption that something happened to a couple of them, and either the group of five remains intact or they have united into one grouping.

I've also seen a lot of birds. I'm no birder, so I can't identify them easily. There have been some doves, though, as well as bluebirds.
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Wildlife Watch, 1/25/08

Well, the deer returned this morning-- this time with a young buck trailing behind the six does. The were a bit nervous, though-- I'm not sure what spooked them, but they stayed close to the edge of the woods and moved pretty quickly.
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Wildlife Watch, 1/18/08

The does came back this morning-- six of them crossed the big field at a walking pace. I don't blame them-- it was a beautiful morning (if a bit brisk!) and a great time for a walk.
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Wildlife Watch, 1/9-1/15/08

Well, the deer have mostly slowed down in their movement; I still see them every now and then. (Lou has a knack for noticing them while we're meeting together!)
On the other hand, the fox (or foxes-- both, incidentally, are grammatically correct) have been moving a lot! I've seen a red fox and a grey fox in the past several days.
UPDATE: Wouldn't you know, the same day I put this up, I see three of the does wandering about? They were on one side of the church when I came back this afternoon, and came out on the other side later.
And then, of course, there is the wildlife experience that is the skunk hanging out under the sanctuary...
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Wildlife Watch, 1/4/08

As I walked up the sidewalk this morning, I saw a doe just inside the woods. If you didn't know to look over there, and if the leaves hadn't mostly dropped, AND if you didn't know what to look for, you would have missed her. I felt pleased that I didn't.

Then not long after I arrived two does crossed the field behind the church. Lots of deer activity today!
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Wildlife Watch, 12/27/07

As I was walking out to the mailbox, about half-way up the sidewalk, a large doe jumped out of the thicket behind the big oak. She stopped and I stopped. We stood there, looking at each other, for a few minutes-- then she jumped off into the woods without looking back. She showed no signs of fear or alert-- I guess the HWPC grounds truly are a sanctuary!

I also saw a grey fox cross the field out back.
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Wildlife Watch, 12/26/07

I literally just watched six does playing tag in the field behind the church. It was quite a sight.
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Wildlife Watch, 12/19/07

I saw a doe this morning. It was sort of cheating on my wildlife log, because it was just inside the edge of the woods as I was walking out. I've started being extra-quiet as I leave, so that I don't spook any critters that are about, and I was able to watch her walk for a few minutes as I walked down the sidewalk.
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Wildlife Watch, 12/17/07

Six does this afternoon. You might think that all six were moving together-- but you would be mistaken. They met up for a little mid-field frolicking, then the pair (maybe a mother/daughter pair?) that move together went their way while the others went theirs.

I've been watching these groups of does all fall-- the larger group was a group of five; I wonder if one met an early end. All of them are fairly young and pretty small, though there is one doe that is much bigger than the rest.

Every now and then, the bucks that hanker after them show up-- but these bucks are quite young, too; you can tell by the spread of their antlers they aren't but a year or so old. One buck, though, will be huge when he matures: his antlers are very narrow, but he's already a six-point.
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Wildlife Watch, 12/12/07

Lou and I saw a red fox this morning, with a very bushy tail.

I also saw two does.
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Wildlife Watch, 12/10/07

One of the "perks" of my job as Pastor of Hickory Withe Presbyterian Church is the view I have from my office window. I often get to watch wildlife eating, playing, or just moving around in the field behind the church property. I rarely tire of taking this in, and I keep a pair of binoculars by my desk to facilitate.

I want to keep a log of what I see, mostly for me-- though some of you might find it interesting too. So I'll keep my log on this blog. Here's the list for today:

16 wild turkeys, including 3 really big toms, 4 jakes, and 9 hens!
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