We are expecting guests to visit this winter, as they do every year. Here are a few that came last year. I hope they make a return visit -- we're ready for them!
The bobcat as seen through our dining room window. The fresh kill was a rabbit. A very large one.
This wild cat, Lynx rufus, is supposed to be reclusive, hunting at dusk and dawn. But ours visits in the daytime, feeds at all hours, and is not bothered by being so near houses. The pictures are fuzzy because they were taken through the window, and Jim did zoom in. But the bobcat was no more than 15 or 20 feet away, in the tall grass at the edge of the yard.
A parade of turkeys. They are God's goofiest creatures. They're just dorky in a regal kind of way. They always march along the edge of the yard, half in the tall grass and half out in the open, daring anyone wild or human to mess with them.
The coyote does not visit very often, but we know they are around. The yipping and howls outside are eerie in the middle of a dark winter's night.
This picture was taken with the zoom; the coyote is not as willing as the bobcat to come into the yard, and prefers the half-woods behind our house. There is no mistaking the coyote for a dog -- he is big.
I thought all canines were exclusively meat eaters, but this coyote visits a nearby crabapple and eats the fallen fruit, leaping backwards each time he grabs one off the ground, as if he just killed it. We spent over an hour one afternoon watching him stalk fruit.
The red tailed hawk is a constant visitor in my garden, all year long. We often hear the high pitched "screeeee" above, and look up to see it. Birdsong all over the yard goes suddenly quiet.
Some visitors are a little greedy, and too many come at once. But all are welcome.
The black bear might be by this winter. I went to an education class on black bears at our local library, and learned that around here they will awaken from hibernation at various times in winter and wander about, then return to hibernating.
I have not seen the one that cruises our area, but neighbors have called to say it was in our yard, or that they encountered one on the way to the mailbox. Some visitors are a little more intimidating than others.
Of course the white tailed deer herds are always here. I try to be open minded about them, and accept them as I do all the other guests, but they do so much damage to my plants that I really can't tolerate them in my garden.
They are the unwanted party guests who always show up, eat too much, and won't go home.
Everybody else is welcome to come and visit in small groups or singly.