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 is in the air

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Posted by Shawn & Annette in Outdoors on March 11, 2011

I went out on the deck just before 6 a.m., and was amazed at the sounds which greeted me. About 10 feet from the deck is a small crop of trees surrounded by fallen dead trees, perched in close proximity to each other, were roughly a dozen Steller Jay’s caterwalling in unison. It was the strangest thing.

Normally, when Steller Jay’s gather to feed and fight (their other pasttime) they will take turns calling to each other. One Jay usually can be easily singled out as the leader of the pack, who doesn’t take any guff from his subordinates. Today was different. They were obviously upset about something as they diligently bellowed their urgent call to each other with an intensity rarely seen in birds of this type.

It led me to wonder if they could have been reacting to the earthquake in Japan, and the subsequent tsunamis. Wouldn’t that be something?

After carrying on for roughly 3 or 4 minutes, they went back to their normal cawing like nothing happened. One by one they abandoned their statue-like stance and flew off to do the things that Steller Jay’s do. Last year, we had one Steller’s Jay who loved to annoy the squirrels. Each time the squirrel attempted to get a drink of water, the Steller’s Jay would dive-bomb him, in an attempt to knock him into the water.

My husband took great joy in watching their antics right outside his office window.

Yesterday, we had a doe and twin fawns wander into the yard. She was the largest doe I’ve seen in a very long time in Twain Harte. She looked well-fed and her fawns were nice sturdy stock as well. Our two hard snowfalls this year didn’t seem to do the deer population any harm what-so-ever. In fact, our long warm spell in January probably contributed to their added size and girth.

I can only image how big some of the bucks must be.

I picked up several kinds of bird seed at the feed store today. I noticed we have a large flock of Junco’s and a dozen or more Mountain Quail, as well as a few other birds I still need to identify. I believe we also have a great many Black-headed Grosbeak as well.

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Orphan Twin Fawns?

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Posted by Annie in Outdoors on August 3, 2009

The Twins DrinkTwain Harte is home to a large deer population and each year, at this time we look forward to the baby fawns stopping in for a visit.

Our little visitors are skiddish to say the least, so we are sure to keep our distance.  We try to keep fresh, cool, water available for them and in return they treat us to some terrific photo opportunities — so long as we are quiet and move slowly.

These twins have been visiting us for weeks now and in recent days I’ve grown quite concerned for them.  They are pretty young for mom to have turned them loose on their own already.  However, for the past few days, while the twins have stopped in, mom doesn’t appear to be anywhere in the vicinity — very strange.

Just two-days ago the dark fawn, (seen in the foreground) was wanding around behind our house for a long period of time making a horrible crying noise. We simply thought the little deer was calling for mama.

However, if you look closely near the fawns mid-section, you can see what appears to be two sharp objects protruding out.  The poor thing could be injured.  After zooming in on the image, the fawn doesn’t appear to be bloody but it’s very hard to tell.

Has anyone in the area seen these two or their mother?  I’m keeping my eye out for them.

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