Early Morning Happenings

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Posted by Shawn & Annette in Outdoors on April 29, 2011

Once again, I awoke around 5 o’clock this morning. I was greeted by the most joyous chorus of birds singing their little hearts out. The sound really travels in the otherwise-quiet still morning, here in the side of this mountain. It really makes my heart want to sing. I was so mesmerized by the beautiful song the birds were singing that I almost didn’t notice the deer.

First the fawns made their way into the yard, inching ever so cautiously closer. I recall thinking how odd to see so many fawns traveling together in a pack. They were a clumsy noisy bunch, getting louder, as they came closer, I didn’t need to see them to know that I had young deer very close-by. I heard them long before I saw them.

They were so cute nosing around for grub. I tossed out some corn taco shells for a nibble or two and more millet, oddly, the deer seem to like it as much as the birds. The gang of fawns wandered away slowly and suddenly these tiny sweet creatures were replaced by 4 does. It was obvious which one was in charge, each deer knew her place and nibbled around in turn. When she got too close you could see the leader raise a hoof toward the offending doe. Just enough to let the doe know she should back off.

One of the fawns appeared to have a patch of mange on her side, but in reality the patch of fur that isn’t normal, could have been caused by just about anything — even rubbing too hard against a tree. One of the fawns was obviously shot through one ear. Talk about a close call.

I remember a couple of years ago. We had a mixed gathering of deer who enjoyed a daily visit to our yard. One of them we named Wendy. He had gotten tangled up in some plastic orange fencing (“deer tape”) and looked sort of like Wendy – the icon for Wendy’s Restaurant. We felt so badly for the deer but there wasn’t anything we could do for the buck. It wasn’t like he was going to hold still so that we could remove it. I’m guessing he didn’t last deer hunting season that year. He was a handsome buck, too. I could be wrong though, because you’re not supposed to shoot in the direction of this tape.

I still can’t properly identify most of the birds that stop by or even those who live here, but I have been trying to listen closer and it’s already paid off. Just last night, I was out on the deck and I heard a strange bird call that was slightly out of the ordinary. I look around and sure enough, there were 3 mountain quail messing around on the side of the hill. I would have missed them, had I not been listening.

If you get a chance, while you are here in Twain Harte, do make an effort to get up at dawn (or just before dawn is even better). Stop and take a listen to the incredible bird sounds of the early morning. You’ll carry those sounds with you the entire day. I know, I do.

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Spring hasn’t ‘Sprung’

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Posted by Shawn & Annette in Outdoors, Twain Harte News on April 22, 2011

Spring hasn’t sprung yet, but the doe and her fawn bounced in swiftly with a sure spring in their step.

I was sitting out on the deck just moments ago, when all of the sudden my mama deer and her baby came bounding into our yard. It really startled me because normally they are pretty cautious (for deer), and generally just meander into the yard. I normally see her coming up the from behind the neighbors house.

Today was different and very disturbing to me. As I sat on the back deck listening to the birds sing — I try to identify them but I’m not that good yet. I’ve considered recording the birds, so that I can listen and try to memorize the sounds but I haven’t gotten that far yet.

All of the sudden, I heard three loud rustles coming from footsteps on the leaves and strewn branches around the property and both deer just appeared in front of me. They looked real spooked. Their chests were heaving, both deer were out of breath and panting. Did they think I could protect them? I have no idea.

I sat and watched with interested afraid to move that I might startle the doe into leaving. I was amazed at how long she stood on the hill at the corner of the house just staring toward the direction she had bound in from. The fawn didn’t stick around in my line of view, so after watching the doe stand motionless for about 5-minutes, I slowly stood up and attempted to check on the location of the fawn.

Just as I suspected, my movement wasn’t well-received by the doe and she started to step slowly away but she didn’t leave. She stood her ground and continued to stare in the same direction, while keeping a sense of where I stood. After a few more minutes, she decided I was too close, took a few steps and left our property as if she were riding her very own pogo stick. It was amazing to watch her. I’ve never seen anything like it. The doe made her journey look effortless. The fawn had been waiting a distance off but within eyesight of mama.

I have no idea what had our visiting doe so spooked, but only one thing comes to mind. I can’t fathom a mountain lion out roaming these hills mid-morning like this though. It’s my understanding that the only predator the deer have to worry about is a mountain lion, but everything I’ve read says mountain lions are very elusive creatures and are normally out feeding near dawn and then at dusk. Whatever it was, the doe was certainly concerned, which had me a bit worried.

I may never know what it was, but I’ll be keeping watch.

Twain Harte Weather for Friday, April 22, 2011

There is a definite nip in the air today; with a temperature of 47°. The sky is overcast and the sun hasn’t decided what it will do yet. I have high hopes that the sun will make at least a brief appearance today. It isn’t currently raining but thunderstorms have been forecast for this evening.

The annual Twain Harte Easter Egg Hunt will take place at the ball field next to Eproson Park on Sunday at 1:00 p.m., (behind 7-11). Learn more.

If you are headed to Dodge Ridge this weekend, the fine folks at Dodge Ridge want you to know…

ONLY 3 DAYS REMAINING!

2011-2012 Season Passes are Now on Sale! Thru April 24th for the best season pass price for 2011/2012, plus get up to a $30 deal!

Dodge Ridge’s season will be open for 3 more days, come enjoy the 3 in. of new snowfall we received yesterday with sunny skies for Friday! We’ll have 4 terrain parks open, base depths over 90″ & all lifts operating with the exception of lifts 1, 4 and the rope tow.

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