December 27, 2013

Guests Are Expected

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.

28 comments:

  1. Aren't you lucky. I live in the eastern side of West Hartford, on a much denser suburban lot. Most of our visitors are dogs whose owners let them deposit remembrances in our yard.

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    1. I lived for 20 years in the Bugbee school area of W. Hartford. People used to take their dogs to the school grounds to do their thing -- leaving all sorts of deposits specifically where kids play. Sheesh.

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  2. You have many visitors, Laurrie. I'm afraid of bears, they are very dangerous. The birds, bobcats, dears are the most usual animals. I have only small visitors in my garden ---mice, rats and birds. Sometimes I see the footsteps of a cat, that hunts mice and I'm glad seeing them. Take care!

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    1. Nadezda, the bears here are not dangerous -- they are black bears and will run away when they see humans!

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  3. What an apt description of the deer. So true! What are those birds feasting on the berries? Right now my top garden visitors are moles. They are tunneling everywhere. I don't mind so much in the lawn, but I wish they would stay out of the garden.

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    1. Sarah, I'm not sure what the birds are, probably a mob of starlings. This is the first year I am seeing evidence of moles way out in back by the meadow. They have caused no real damage (yet).

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  4. What a parade of nature you have passing through your garden. I am envious of the bobcats. I have never seen one alive.

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    1. Lisa, it really is a parade at times here!

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  5. You sure have an amazing guest list in your garden! The black bear would definitely throw me back! Oh and the bobcat of course! I would want the deer to leave as well as I know the damage that they can do..I would be out there chasing them away! A very Merry Christmas to you and a Happy New Year!!!

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    1. Nicole, the only critters I chase away are the deer (oh, and the voles but they never pay attention). Happy New Year to you!

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  6. So much wildlife in your yard! You've said you live in a large area of subdivisions, right? There must be a lot of woodland corridors in between. Are there wild areas nearby?

    We have those same animals too, except for bear, and we have resident red-shouldered hawks instead of red tails. A couple of yayhoos trespassed down here a few years ago, drunk, looking for deer and bear. Deer yes, bear no, and you're trespassing and we don't allow hunters. Naturally their jeep also got stuck and Gene had to haul it out with a tractor. A two truck couldn't have done it, it would have gotten stuck too. lol

    There are a lot of bear east of where we are. There are a lot of swamps that can't be developed and the bear live there.

    Jim got some great pictures! The bobcats here don't pose. They are shy and mostly nocturnal.

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    1. Sweetbay, yes, there are woodland edges and forest park trails all around us. Once you get away from the cities near NY, Connecticut is heavily forested. We have very little farmland, the state is mostly subdivisions spread out between woodland strips, in between small cities.

      What a ridiculous story about the stuck jeep guys! Sheesh.

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  7. Wow... You do have a variety of wildlife about your garden! Larry

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    1. Larry, thanks! I do enjoy all these visitors.

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  8. I love how much wildlife you have in your garden. :o) But seeing a bear or a coyote in my yard would freak me out! I did see deer tracks in the snow about a month ago and am hoping they haven't decided to put my garden on their buffet list. So far, I haven't seen any plant damage. But you can send that bunny chomping bobcat right over, as long as my dogs are in the house!

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    1. Tammy, I think I'll send you all my deer, instead of the bobcat. You can have my entire herd : )

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  9. Laurrie, I really enjoyed meeting your guests! I laughed at the coyote who stalked fruit. We once had a black lab who LOVED muscadines, especially old, fermented ones lying on the ground. I wish you the very best in 2014, and happy gardening!

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    1. Deb, it's funny when animals get looped on fermented fruit. We used to watch the birds stagger about after eating the fermented berries on the bushes outside our window!

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  10. You are so fortunate to have such amazing guests...Love the photos.

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    1. Charlie - thank you! I know I am lucky to live where there is so much wildlife to watch.

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  11. Hooved minions of Satan occasionally visit here. Thanks for reminding me to spray the Arborvitae. This morning I watched a large lumbering possum forage on my back lawn. At first I was worried but Google reassured me it was OK for them to be out during the day. Never a dull moment on the wildlife watching front even in suburbia.

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    1. Sue, it is pretty incredible what kinds of wildlife roam around our houses in suburbia. Love the description of hooved minions!

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  12. I remember when you posted about the bobcat, what a sight! didn't realize you had coyotes too though. you would think they would help keep the deer at bay. Hope you had a merry Christmas and best wishes to you and your family in the new year.

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    1. Marguerite, I do think the bobcats keep the deer away, but it's a balance: when the predators are not around, the deer maraud in my gardens, and when they come back, the deer hide! Clever beasts.

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  13. Laurrie,
    What a fantastic thing!!! To have a bobcat eating rabbits in your yard!? Are you ever nervous about walking in the woods?? I was walking the little dog in the autumn, every day in the forest preserve at the corner and I swear I heard one growling at us. I got the willies and scooted home asap. 2 weeks later, they killed one about 50 miles from here....but to have one in the yard?? AWESOME!

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    1. Sissy, I don't really walk in the woods. This is a suburban neighborhood, so I stay on the roads when I'm out and around. And both of our cats are indoor kitties, good thing! Bobcats have never been documented to attack people, but I would be nervous like you if I heard growling nearby -- yikes.

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  14. I'm totally in awe of the wildlife you have in your area! We have coyotes but you have to be up very early in the morning to see them. These days I'm seeing a lot of crows and squirrels and not much else. Great photos!

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    1. Heather, it is pretty amazing what we see in this highly developed suburban area in the congested northeast. There are bears and coyotes and bobcats and turkeys and the strangest human beings!

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