“Dean…there’s 3 new gopher holes in the lawn!”
“Dean…the turkeys have scattered the bark all over the walkway!”
“Dean…the deer ate all the flowers on the front porch!”
“Dean…the raccoon tore down all the hummingbird feeders last night!”
“Dean…there’s a rattlesnake by the pond!”
Such are Kathy’s almost daily observations. Yes, it’s our life in the wilds of Butte County, California…and we love it. In the spring and fall (and during lapses of 100 degree heat in the summer) our deck is our evening observation point where we sip our wine and watch the activity in the backyard and beyond. At night my trail camera records the happenings around the feeders. And mornings are my times to wander out in the “back 40” hoping to find a willing subject for the big lens.
Of course, such benefits are not without their costs. Ten pounds of sugar and 100 pounds of bird seed each month; coercing our neighbors to fill our bird feeders while we travel; and cleaning up strange piles of poop on the walks and walls. But, as I say every evening…”what more could a biologist ask for?” And, with my new hearing aids allowing me to again hear the birds and frogs again…uplifting!
Four species of hummingbirds frequent our feeders and we’ve logged almost 20 species using the seed feeders. Turkey vultures are always overhead or in the canyon and 9 other raptors are seen on occasion. And, spring and fall the sandhill cranes, geese and swans can be heard overhead going to and from their wintering grounds below us in the valley. We’ve identified 65 bird species just from the vicinity of our yard.
Here are some images from our immediate area.
The Observation Deck
Dinner is served-Anna’s hummingbirds
Too early for Thanksgiving (and probably too tough, too!)
Western bluebird bringing goodies to nest
Blacktailed deer waiting for things to quiet down so they can raid the bird feeder
White-breasted nuthatch at one of 12 birdhouses
Chorus frog on lily by pond
Midnight maurader-Raccoon raiding hummingbird feeders (trail camera photo)
Great horned owl