Saturday, January 30, 2010

Mangy Squirrel - Not a Pretty Sight!

mangy fox squirrel
We noticed this squirrel up on the potting bench this morning.  A rather unusal place for a squirrel. It did not take us long to realize this squirrel was unusual in other ways.  Notice areas that lack any hair.  A quick google search leads one to ponder if the hair loss is due to mange or a fungus.   But I think it is mange as the squirrel seemed to be uncomfortably scratching.  Mange and fungus often occur when squirrel populations rise, so we may be seeing more hairless squirrels.  There is not a lot to do about this and some references even go so far as to suggest that this is nature's way of thinning the squirrel population.  Only the strong survive!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cold Sparrow

Brrrrrrr.  It has turned really cold here agian.  And it will continue to be very  cold through  the weekend.  We are keeping the bird feeders filled with sunflower and thistle seeds and putting out suet.  Hope it helps the birds hang on till spring!

We also toss out corn for the ground feeders like cardinals and so the squirrels come.  They seem as active as ever!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bluebirds - Harbingers of Spring?

eastern bluebirds
Bluebirds were flitting about the backyard this morning, following an overnight snow (note the snow on the branch lower right). Two downy woodpeckers were chasing the bluebirds from tree to tree, acting either friendly or territorial, not sure which, probably the latter. Although it was 15°F when this photo was taken, can spring be far off? I'd better get busy and clean out the bluebird houses around the property!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Snow Circles

Snow circles have started appearing all over Habitat Home. They did not concern me at first.  I assumed that they were from deer bedding down for the night.  But now they are appearing very close to the house.  Do not know why that has surprised me so.  I know that there are deer everywhere on the property but  I just assumed that they came up to the house only to browse the tasty shrubs and plants.  Never thought that they spent much time up here let alone that they were sleeping  practically outside my bedroom window.  The beauty of the snow has quickly faded now that it is marked extensively with lots of tracks (mostly deer, rabbit and squirrel) and beds.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Snow Removal

We got a lot of snow last night and today. So, we got out the tractor and plowed the driveway. Sometimes we don't bother to plow. We just sit back and enjoy the beauty of Habitat Home covered in snow. But today the UPS man was to come with a late Christmas present. However, we later found out that the UPS man did not even venture out this way today! (Not much else was out and about either.) Now the wind is blowing so the long drieway will fill up with drifting snow tonight and need to be plowed tomorrw morning for the UPS delivery truck. We already had one delivery truck stuck in our driveway over Christmas and we do not want to repeat that experience!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Squirrel Salad

fox squirrel (Sciurus niger) It must be diet time for everyone! Or did he forget where the buried nuts are? This fox squirrel certainly looks like he could loose a few pounds. Of course he is all fluffed up due to the cold. He (or she, I cannot really tell with all that fluff) has been coming up to the deck and munching on these leaves. These are leaves of the fall pansies I purchased and never got around to properly disposing to the compost bins after the first snow. Wonder if I had left other frozen plants in the pots if the squirrels would be eating them? I would not recommend leaving frozen plants and dirt in clay pots to attract squirrels. If for no other reason, usually the pot will crack and have to be replaced come spring. I did not know that squirrels ate green leaves but now that I think about it, I wonder if he/she is the one who was grazing the succulents I had out on the deck this summer!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Skating Pond

The bitter cold weather continues. We hiked down to the river today to see if it was frozen over. It was not. However, we did find this small frozen pond. This is a low area along the river that fills with water whenever the river floods and then remains a small pond for some time. The river flooded right before it turned cold. So, we have a small frozen pond that would be great for skating, except that there is no water underneath this ice and the ice itself is too thin to support much weight. No skating here.