I'm lucky. I'm home in a warm house and I have a 80lb. chocolate lab draped across my feet, keeping them toasty warm as I type this. She's happier about this than I am but that's OK. She's VERY happy! Tomorrow I'll venture to my sister's place where there will be lots of rug rats, lots of cheer and great food. We will haul a couple of plates full of turkey & trimmings over to a couple of loners who probably would have something like microwave burritos otherwise. Anyway, 'It's a long ways to the top if you want to rock and roll'. It's also a real quick stop at the bottom if you fall off, so be careful. Also, keep your nose into the wind and listen very carefully. It pays to notice the details. Merry Christmas to my fellow bloggers and everybody else who stops by here. River
Last weekend a friend and I fled west on US 56 about 330 miles to a ranch (owned by friends and relatives) to get away from the local fall festival. The trip was worth every mile.
We hunted some ducks on the Walnut river and got one single wood duck. Oh, well. We also saw three seiges of sandhill cranes. They were flying low, trilling their wonderful call, looking to land and surely some of the first on that huge migration.
Then we ran metal detectors on a confirmed camp ground of general Custer in the 1870's. Found nothing except for some bits of iron. Then, I descriminated out iron on my detector and went only for for stuff like bullets, brass and buttons. Nothing but silence in the headphones, just the hum of the threshold. Custer and his men's history is likely buried out of range except for only the deepest of ranging detectors.
We did some guzzling, too. Guzzlers are required on large CRP contracts to provide water for critters. They collect precipitation and deposit it in 55-gallon drums. This one was loaded with ~150 gallons of cold and clear water. We ran 3 mule deer bucks off it. Sorry. They stotted off a half mile and watched us. They were still watching us when we left. I wonder how long they waited to come back to the water.
Summer's long gone and the deer are now entering the pre-rut stage. I have two trail cams out (down from three, an old one failed this week) and activity is picking up gradually. The first image is an old buck that just wouldn't take that extra step and give the cam a good picture. So it goes, but dang! I don't believe he's record book but I'd guess he's knocking on the door. The night image is a 3 1/2 year old deer that I have many pictures of from last year. He already has broken off a brow tine jousting with his peers but his rack is getting bigger year-by-year. The third image is one that I just liked. This is probably a 2 1/2 year old buck and he's giving us a perfect rear-end view. Notice the rear legs are together as one and the front legs are spread. Those rear legs are a tip-off as to just how deer can leap over 7-foot tall fences right into your garden. Talk about a coiled spring with a center of gravity! Anyway, on we go into October. Snow is forecast in Minnesota and we're looking at some chilly weather soon. We'll see what the trail cameras bring in the next few weeks. They're out there waiting on the "children of the night". The dog-gone critters just need to walk in front of them is all...
Hey, look, we're burned up here. The pastures are flat-out burned up and everybody is already feeding hay. The corn crop?! Ha! Soybeans: think lentils. Gardens? Withered. The crop insurance has been collected and the corn junk in the fields has been chopped and dumped in round bale silos and those vertical silos that haven't been used in years. Anyway, here's one longshot: Earnesto. He's plodding along in the Carribbean. Some computer models take Earnesto to major hurricane status in 5-6 days in the Gulf of Mexico. Let's have him grow nice and strong and plow into the pre-destructed south coast of Texas, then get caught up in the prevailing westerlies as a remnant low and move across Texas, Oklahoma and then Kansas and dump a bunch of rain on us. Wishful thinking, I know. We''ll take anything. I like to bet longshots on thoroughbreds and I wouldn't bet a dollar on Earnesto. Ya gotta start somewhere, though. Ya got to go on something. We need a lucky break. Maybe Earnesto is the lucky name. Or maybe Earnesto fizzles off the Yucatan peninsula and the frying pan goes on. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/graphics_at5.shtml?5-daynl#contents
One of my trail cams caught this picture at a mineral lick. Them bucks, they be liking the mineral this time of year as they know they need the good stuff to build antlers. Anyway, it's a bit of a confusing image at first take. Just thought I'd share it.
It's been an easy going winter here and not so bad up north either. Here's the Edwin H. Gott, a Great lakes ore freighter, coming in to Duluth harbor to dock for winter layup until March, the last of the boats to come in for the season. Note the absence of ice in the harbor. Also, note the angle of the ice rim on the bow. These boys were seeing some heavy seas out on Gitchee Gumee on their last trip. By the time you see this the crew will be long gone for such places as Daytona and Apalachicola, Florida. Here's to my friend Pooty: I hope you get your fair-skinned arse sunburned down there -AGAIN!
Of late I've finding the dead and stripped carcasses of the local pigeon and mourning/collared dove populations in my backyard under a cedar tree. In fact, early this morning one almost fell on my head. It was deja vu all over again from winters past and I quickly noticed this denizen hanging out in the adjacent backyard, eye-balling me imperiously. In fact, said critter snapped off a twig with its beak and dropped it to the ground nearly at my feet. I felt like I'd been accipiter dissed. I dashed back inside for my camera and snapped a dozen images. So, birders, tell me: Cooper's or Sharp-shinned? The Cooper's is larger and has the broader white band at the very end of the tail. http://www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw/AboutBirdsandFeeding/accipiterIDtable.htm
I'm going with the Cooper's. They sure do look alike.
Anyway, Happy New Year to all. I wish all of you much more than a picked over pigeon carcass and a twig in this new year. That's what I'm starting out with, but hey, you gotta to start somewhere and I like having this dude (dudette?) around.
Well, a deer feeder is just like a bird or any other feeder: come one, come all. Throw corn out on the ground and like it or not, you've got friends way beyond deer. The most popular customers are the wild turkey (meleagris gallopavo) and the common raccoon, (procyon lotor). Procyon is is the biggest problem 'cause they're the smartest and the most agile. They're great climbers and are beyond resourceful. It is what it is with these visitors and I long ago quit worrying about it. Not much is needed in the way of leftovers to bring in the deer, anyway. Here's some pics of my closest feeder pals. That's right: brobdignagian. I've always loved that word. Thanks for stopping by and check back for some Halloween pictures from the woods in the near future. On away we go, deeper into October...
Well, autumn is here. The deer are not yet on the move as the rut approaches but that will change soon enough. I've had three trail cameras out all summer over mineral licks until recently, when I went to feeders -a term I use lightly as they aren't used to 'feed' deer. Right now they're programmed to throw out about a cup of corn each day. The goal is to just get the critters to swing by and check it out and become part of their daily routine. I don't visit the sites often as it's best to stay away from them. These trail camera traps are triggered both day and night by the combination of motion and body heat. I generally let them run for 10 days or so before I check them and change out the memory cards. emphasized textYep, it IS hard to wait that long! The cameras are cable locked to the tree in a hard case which is lag screwed to the tree in an attempt to avert theft. Even then, the cameras are code locked with an entry ID so should the camera be stolen it's worthless to the would-be thief. If there's any interest I'll be happy to throw in more images as the fall goes on. I know deer hunters would like to see some monster buck pictures and I sure have them. I'll be happy to share them in say, March!
http://worldonline.media.clients.elli... Dec. 21, late, I grabbed two bottles of Pale Ale and a camera and ventured out to a nice spot. It's private, takes 4wd, high-clearance and involves 3 mean-ass locked/high strung gates. My goal was to capture the sunset of the winter solstice. It was chilly & the wind cut, but it wasn't all that bad. I scoped some nice bucks to kill the time (where were they two weeks ago?) and waited for the moment. Then, the time was at hand. Just as I snapped this image a bunch of screams (female!) rang out far, far in the distance to the north, followed by a series of muffled chants. Man, the Druids, Pagans, whatever you want to call them -they're out there! This is a good thing, methinks. I could see the glow of a fire to the north along with a wisp of smoke. I sorta wish I'd been invited. I think they was having themselves some fun, on the darkest day of the year. Nevermind. Anyway, I got this nice image and wanted to share it. Autumn's over and winter it is, like it or no. Happy holidays to you all. My first seed catalog arrived in the mail today...