Thursday, October 16, 2008

Colvin Run Habitat: Popperatzi: Slalking Deer

I normally do not shoo the animals (well except for the crows) from the Habitat. But with the deer so numerous and frequent, I began a game of stalking the deer this summer. The position of the shrubs in the Habitat allowed me to get very close before the deer saw me. Of course with me close, as soon as they saw me, the deer would take off. Most times, I only got shots of their rears.
Of course, my stalking never deterred them coming back. In fact, as can be seen from this second photo the buck never lost even a green leaf - even in full stride.
The deer typically ran 30 yards and start eating again.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fawn Salad

While the deer usually come through as a family unit, every once in a while only one of the fawns are observed. The other are most likely nearby, but unseen by me.
There is nearly nothing that they will not eat. I have suggested taking our "National Wildlife Society Certification" sign down and replace it with one saying "Deer Salad Bar - Help Yourself."
My wife tried to keep them from eating her flowers this year with Tabasco sauce - I believe that the deer actually began to enjoy the flavor - nothing stops them.
The last two photos were taken about a month earlier than the first three.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Even Deer Need Water

Before the arrival of Hurricane Hanna (passed us as a tropical storm), the Colvin Run Habitat was in need of water. In fact, it was so dry that even the deer were drinking from the bird bath.
Well, at least the doe and the fawns were - the buck would only stand and watch.

Monday, October 13, 2008

White-tailed Deer Family

As Colvin Run Habitat visitors know, white-tailed deer are plentiful - to the point that we refer to any backyard flowers as deer food.
Two family units were near daily visitor this summer - one was a female and a single fawn - the other family was the one pictured here - a doe, a buck, and two fawns.
Most times, the family simply walked through feeding on anything green at sunrise or sunset. They would also drink from the bird bath (the next post). Some days the whole family would sleep away the day in the shade of the Bradford pear trees in the Habitat.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

See Colvin Run Habitat in Google Earth

Ever wonder where the Colvin Run Habitat is actually located?

Well, thanks to the folks at Google Earth and Panoramio you can now see the Northern Virginia, USA, location of the Habitat. Go to the CRH site on Panoramio, the folks who allow you to post photos on Google Earth. When you get there, you'll see the CRH sign. Above the sign photo, click on the "See in Google Earth" - click and you'll see the Colvin Run Habitat in Google Earth.
Of course, both Google Earth and Panoramio are free web products.

Great Blue Heron Flyover

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While photographing the raccoons one evening, a great blue heron flew over. We have only had one heron ever stop by the Colvin Run Habitat for a visit.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Evening Raccoons

The spring thrill of nesting bluebirds was followed by visits by a pair of raccoons each evening during July.
Frequent readers of the Colvin Run Habitat know that I have posted two other photos of raccoon visitors. But, in early July, we had a raccoon visitor each evening between 7:30 and 8:30 PM. The two were never seen together.

Of course, the main attraction was the sunflower seeds that the crows scatter from the feeder to the ground every day. Every once in a while, a raccoon would dig in last fall's leave mulch.
After 10 days or so, it was clear that I was dealing with two different raccoons. In addition to slight differences in the color of their coat, two very distinct behaviors were observed. One (later determined to be a female) allowed me to approach to within 10 yards of her and to even use the flash for photos. The other would run into the brush as soon as I left the back door.

So how did I know one was a female? One evening, she rose up on here back feet to inspect the feeder (the only time either showed interest in the feeder versus the seed on the ground). Of course, when she rose up, the fact that she was nursing was clear. I never observed any of the young. I suppose that the other could have been a young raccoon, but seemed to be full size for that early in the season.
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Friday, October 10, 2008

Bluebird Chicks at Three Weeks

Friends of the Colvin Run Habitat - Since early July, duties at the office have prevented me from spending time writing. But, I have photos to share about an exciting summer at the Colvin Run Habitat. Over the next few weeks, you'll see the wonders of raccoons, hummingbirds (who are now gone for the season), the Cooper's Hawk (who arrived for the winter as the hummers left), a gator (seen in the wild on a 4-day vacation), and our resident deer (now nearly a herd) and other birds.

The true joy and thrill of the spring was two broods Eastern Bluebirds. When we last published the second set of chicks had been in the nest about a week (picture above). A week after that photo, the chicks and their parents had left the nest and were then seldom seen. The photo below is one of the chicks about 4 weeks out of the nest. The photo is poor quality as it was taken at sundown with a flash. None of the bluebirds have been seen since late-August.

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