Thursday, August 16, 2007

Overrun by White-tailed Deer and Texas Longhorns

No doubt that the white-tailed deer population is overrunning the Colvin Run Habitat. At dawn and dusk each day, this year's fawns and their mother, now joined what I believe are last year's two fawns, come through the Habitat for a drink and meal of fresh green trees, shrubs, and any remaining flowers. On the front street, you are equally likely to find at least another family of deer as well.
But, our problems are nothing compared to the people in the City of Southlake, Tarrant County, Texas, who are being overrun by stampeding longhorns. The only thing is the Southlake Longhorns are of the City's own making.
To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Southlake is hosting a public art exhibit featuring these Southlake Stampede Longhorns. These longhorns can be seen at the Southlake Town Square (located on Southlake Blvd, off of Highway 114). Grab some Piccomolo Italian Ice Cream and walk the town square to see the longhorns. Better yet, grab some Frappuccino at the Starbucks and use their wifi net to access the Colvin Run Habitat Blog.
While all of the longhorn art are sensational, my favorite is Darth Mooder (last photo) by artist Christina Keith sponsored by Philip Wise.
From the Colvin Run Habitat, to the people of Southlake, Happy Anniversary and keep all of those green spaces green.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Heat, Hawks, Hummingbirds, and Herd

The Colvin Run Habitat experienced record heat this week. Temperatures each day were about 95 degrees and mid-week saw 102 degrees. So what better way to beat the heat than by stopping by for a drink of water?
This year's two fawns showed up for drinks at the water tub - and several mouthfuls of grass and holly shrub. Most interesting, and perhaps most disturbing, the fawns were not accompanied by mom. Next morning, two independent groups of deer passed in the Habitat - at least 5 fawns and 8 older deer. They appeared to be going in different directions, were spooked and scattered. Two of the younger males did some pushing - some early behaviors for the future perhaps.
In one of my typical, not-thinking moves, I came downstairs this morning and immediately bolted through the doors onto the porch - only to cause the unseen hawk perching on the feeder tree to fly into the oak tree. If only I would look before bolting. Anyway, here is that hawk two trees later. From his size, less than a crow and more than a blue jay, I am guessing it is a sharp-shinned hawk.
Hummingbird photos have been rarely posted - seems like fewer visits and certainly many fewer visits in good light. One evening this week, a hummingbird came to the feeder, then perched in the nearby dogwood tree. This photos was taken in very low light conditions, but I though I would share it.

Monday, August 06, 2007

First Flights

First Flight
While we have many, many birds walking and spending time on the ground in the Colvin Run Habitat, it is rare for them to lay on their bellies and have their wings extended. That behavior is a good indicator that we have a young bird taking its first flight, when it basically jumps out of the nest and glides to a nearby branch or to the ground.
Although not positive, I believe that this first bird is an Gray Catbird, which is a rarely seen resident of the Habitat. This young bird spent about a minute on the mulch then got enough strength to fly (third photo) into the nearby dogwood tree.

Robin Chick Leaving Nest

Look very, very carefully at the fourth photo and you'll see a robin still in the nest. From the amount of activity, it was clear that this bird wanted to fly, but just did not have the necessary skills.
While I was photographing, he managed to get up and stand on the edge of the nest (last photo). While this made it much easier to photograph him, he still lacked the skill or courage to take to flight and actually leave the nest.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

More Fawns

Mother and Fawns Return for a Drink

This year's two fawns and their mother returned last week for a quick bite from the flower pots and a drink of water from the tub.
The smaller of the two fawns seemed far more interested in a drink from mom.

Mother and Fawns Return for Breakfast
The two fawns again returned (always with mom) less than an hour after sunrise this morning for a little breakfast of what was left in the flower pots. Mom even did a little face washing of one of the young.
Mom is increasingly willing to walk away from the fawns; they are increasingly willing to follow at a distance.
Regardless of the distance between mom and the fawns, she is always watching. Mom is clearly walking gently on an injured back leg or hip.
From these photos, you can clearly see the size difference of the two fawns - we saw this same difference last summer.
These two fawns are not the only fawns in the immediate area of the Colvin Run Habitat. This evening we saw two other fawns less than a mile from the immediate Habitat which were smaller than the smaller of the two pictured here.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Lazy, Crazy Days of Summer - Deer Napping in the Shade

Dog (Deer) Days of Summer
Our typical hot, humid, hazy Colvin Run Habitat weather had everyone sweating and tired yesterday afternoon including these two deer.
On two separate occasions, they found the shade under the Bradford pear trees, then laid down and napped.
By using some of the holly shrubs as cover, I was able to get within 20 feet of them before they spotted me. When they did notice me, they were quick to their feet and fast away.