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Archive for the ‘Wildlife’ Category

Screech Owl

 

Screech Owl

Early this morning I went outside to do some yard work in preparation for spring. The more I can done early at this time the more time I will have to chase gobblers and hike and fish in April and May.

I entered into my backyard gazebo and noticed some white “splats” on the floor. I thought this is odd and looked up to see two big yellow eyes staring at me at about four feet. The Gray-phased Screech Owl was the culprit. The bird was perched on top of a home-made box trap of mine that I had placed across the gazebo’s rafters. This owl must be nesting inside of the box trap.  I eased out and retrieved my camera and snapped a few quick photos.

The last two years had failed to produce young owls in my owl box. The Gray squirrels took dominance of that box.

Interestingly, later in the morning I ventured out again and heard the Bluejays and Chickadees in a noisy frenzy at the owl box. The were worked up and even landing at the hole’s edge. They were peering into the box. Immediately, I thought, has another owl laid claim to the box again. All other years when owls were present in the box the birdlife acted in this manner. Yesterday, I saw a squirrel at the hole’s entrance so if any owls have moved in it had to have just happened since yesterday. Time will tell. As I type this the Gazebo Owl is still perched at the box trap.

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I heard the leaves and saw the dark forms just a little ahead of me. TURKEYS…and lots of them! I guess, at least, 30-40 birds were feeding. I began to run towards them holding the flintlock in my left arm as I struggled to remove my camera from my shoulder bag.

I was upon the birds in seconds and they didn’t know what to think of that mass coming towards them. Some ran, some flew and some just stood to watch.

Suddenly just out ahead three deer rose from their beds. Now the chaos moved towards having the camera placed into the shoulder bag and hustling to aim the flintlock. needless-to-say, I didn’t fire a shot and I didn’t get any turkey photos. Later, I would get a few photos of turkeys.

 

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This morning was the start of the third day of Pennsylvania’s primitive Deer season. The dark hours began with a not-so- good event for me. While traveling to my hunting area for the day I started one of my coughing and choking spells. This is asthma related and I have them from time to time. I had to quickly pull aside to complete this bout. These events are scary and I feel, almost, to the point of black out at times. Luckily the don’t last long. However, I feel weakened for a time afterwards.

I climbed a hill enjoying the cool air in my lungs. I set up on a rock and waited for an hour until the day was bright. I then started a still-hunt method of sneaking around nd watching for bedded or feeding deer. I saw a number of deer this day, but none offered any chance of a shot. The first day, December 26, allowed for three doable shots, but I didn’t take any shots. I am still working on confidence building after some time of having seeing my flintlock sights. The three shots were around fifty to fifty-five yard shots and I hoped for closer action.

The second day found enjoyment with turkeys. Early I began to hear turkey chatter and eventually heard fly-down wing beats.  Minutes later gobbling was heard as the birds climbed the hill towards a fifty-foot right-a-way. (I got a big gobbler near this site last spring.) Other turkeys began yelping and gobbling behind me.

I set here for almost two hours and just had to stand and stretch my buttock muscles. While standing I noticed turkeys at the top of the right-a-way. I was in a bind. My camera was in my shoulder bag on a log. Periodic rain caused me to keep the camera within safe cover. Now I couldn’t move to retrieve the camera. I remained frozen in place.

A mature gobbler gobbled behind me and the thirteen turkeys above me started to run down the slope before taking flight. They landed approximately twenty-twenty-five feet from me.  I remined still. The gobbler gobbled again and all these young gobblers gobbled in sink. What an adventure being part of this and so close.

Today, at another site, I saw some turkey heads at a round top. I assumed the birds had seen me, but as I moved over this round top all I could see were turkeys running, flying…some going left, some going straight, and some going right. I had a turkey break! I had to set down and call in birds.

The turkeys didn’t start to call until one and a half hours went by. However, one bird came in silent early on. Once the birds began calling I crawled into a depression and readied the camera. I had turkeys almost run me over. I couldn’t keep a clear focus. Later on I heard one and then another  and called this gobbler in. What a grand time I had.

During my time afield I saw lots of squirrels, barred Owls and a Red Fox.

I had been feeling very anxious recently with so much going on. Friday evening I had to call Pittsburgh office concerning federal jury duty. I hate going to the city for I know little about that place, traffic is always an issue. Parking is a pain. every morning the news talks of recent shootings. No I prefer to say away. Luckily for me, I was not selected for this coming week. I still have to deal with anxieties for I have to call again next Friday.

Mockingbird

 

Owl pellet

 

 

Bedded doe from last week.

 

 

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The day began with much colder temperatures than we usually expect at this time. I had a number of projects to deal with, but I decided to attack a Black Bear shoulder bone with a pen and ink illustration.

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Mid-morning  produced a lot of Crow cawing outside the house. I checked the source of the commotion to see a Red-tail Hawk setting in the tree above the site where I placed my deer rib cage. The Crows have been feasting and they didn’t appreciate the intruder so close to their food source.

I went out to try to get a photo but the hawk had flown the coup. However, I managed to get a Cardinal among some yellow oak leaves.

 

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Two More Bears!

Thursday morning, September 5, I went for a mile walk prior to stopping at my mother’s home. The wildlife was out in force. In that short time I saw twelve turkeys, two deer, heard a Screech Owl and heard a gobbling tom turkey. The fall-like morning must have invigorated the wildlife.

This morning I was out prior to the sunrise and watching the fog lift. I went to another area where I have hunted before. I saw some deer along the walk.

  I came through some open pines onto a grassy gas well road when the sounds of a tank smashing it’s way through the forest abrupted the solitude. BEAR! I scared the bruin at about forty yards. Unfortunately, the thick Autumn Olive, grapes, briars would not allow for any photos. But wait! As I stared off I could see some small tree tops swaying along with some noise activity. The movement was coming towards me. I thought, “this is great!”  

Aster

The second bear came to about twenty-twenty-two steps before the bruin got a whiff of my scent. It turned upslope in a fast paced mode  and sounding like slobbering-grunts. I could see black here and there but no photos.

Of course I was elated to see the bears although I never saw any open enough to size.

 

 

 

 

 

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Not a good bear photo but the best when considering the early morning conditions.

I know my weird humor comes to play at times. This title is such a weird title. It is a play on words coming from one of Shakespeare’s plays. The strange truth of this title is even more bizarre for I actually saw seven bear this morning while hiking.

I was moving slowly along the woods where the terrain allowed for more openness.  To my left was a tangled mess of Spicebush, Multiflora Rose and Wild Grapes. One could not see through this mess. However, I could hear movement just beyond the thick brush. I assumed some deer may have winded me and were sneaking out. I was wrong!

Spicebush

A Black Bear walked into the more open woods from behind the brushy area. It was twenty steps away. Our eyes met and the camera came up and the bear turned on a dime. The photo showed a black blur. I moved ahead a little to walk off the distance when I spotted another and bigger bear approximately eight and no more than ten steps away. The same scenario occurred as our eyes met. I would guesstimate the first bear to be about 110 to 120 pounds and the second bear in the mid-two hundred pound range.

I quickly moved and turned left to go up the opposite hill in hopes of seeing the two again. The Spicebush and downed trees mad for less than

One of three flocks of turkeys I saw this morning.

desirable positions. I set on a log for about twenty minutes before exiting the way I came in.

Later, I spotted another bear about thirty-five yards from me. the bear moved over a steep lip on the hollow and went silent quickly. I looked about to try to find a quiet approach through the brambles and elected to listen and watch. Little time passed when I could see black on the opposite side of this steep gulley. There was my bear. I assumed this was one of the earlier viewed bear.

Soon I could more black . Another bear crawled up onto a tree. I immediately recognized this bear as a cub. I continued to watch and the first two bear walked out onto a big fallen tree. I could see three bear now. Shortly, a fourth bear became visible. I took a number of photos anytime an opening allowed. The bear were about seventy yards away. The woods were dark and shadowy due to the sun had not reached that side of the hill.

So I saw two bigger bear earlier and a nice sized mother with four cubs. My day was made!

 

 

A Garden Spider

 

Damaged corn from bears.

 

Sausage…bologna?

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I have been seeing many,  many turkeys over the last month here in western Pennsylvania. One day while out walking I saw four different flocks.  Some were concerned about poult survival rates due to the amount of rain we had had earlier this summer. I don’t believe the impact from the rain has had too much of an impact.

A few photos from various hiking adventures are below.

Foxtails in the dew.

 

Blue Vervain

 

 

 

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