Welcome to Growbox Hill

Welcome to Growbox Hill
Welcome to Growbox HIll!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Snow and wild critters

We got snow, and more snow, and almost snowed in snow. So much snow it's been a couple weeks of holing up and just staying off the roads.
We got lots and lots of lake effect snow. Most of it really melted off since last night, leaving large patches of white. Pond looks unfrozen again, and it rained a little bit today.

Been seeing a lot of wildlife in and among all this snow too. I had to scan through the last couple posts, and I don't think I've mentioned any of it. Well, I've been doing a lot of drafting and erasing lately and not much publishing, so that might have something to do with it.

One morning as I was waking up and coming into the kitchen, my love urged me to come to the dining room window. Out in the firepit sanctuary was a large red fox wandering about in the snow on Moons side of the sanctuary. After a bit of fruitless sniffing about, it wandered off across the frozen pond to McSwanum Island and disappeared into the winter dead brush.

Another day, we saw four deer wandering up from the pond trail and across the sanctuary, pausing at the top of Moons side. Absolutely lovely. We think they might have been young deer born in the spring or all females because they were all pretty small and sort of coltish looking. Then the jeep came up the easement and the bolted off back down the pond path, up around the horse fences, and back off into the corner leading to the big lake.

Over this weekend past, we saw what we are pretty darn sure was a lone coyote, twice. The first time it appeared loping across the main drive, skirted the pines, across the easement drive, and into the keyhole. It sniffed around a bit by the big brush pile, which is undoubtedly home for some small critters right now.  Then it wandered off up the pond trail. Poor thing looked like it was favoring it's right rear leg, and it's tail was all thin with a kink in it. The next time we saw it, it came up the pond trail and had a bit of scraping around the brush pile, then wandered over to Moons side and had a very entertaining pounce and dig in the snow and caught what I think was a vole. I cheered too loud in the house, and I think I scared it off. Seriously, I cheered, it's head snapped up to the house, then it left rather quickly. It seemed to be not limping, but still ginger on that leg, it's tail looked the same.

On a couple of the nicer days over the past few weeks, I have seen and heard quite a few bluejays and cardinals. It's always rather spectacular to see a bright red cardinal against a backdrop of snow. And I'm still surprised they co-exist for the most part out here.

Keep seeing a large predator bird, and I'm not sure what it is. It's for sure larger than our local murder, I've seen some of the crows flying it off or around it. It's smaller than the swans for sure. It's about the height of a barred owl, maybe 25 inches? Distinct hooked beak, sort of a short head in profile. Creamy underside with no noticeable markings, with chocolate brown on top. When it's still, it looks almost all brown. When in flight, you can see creamy markings on top, some barring in the tail, and I'm not quite sure if it's barring or spotting otherwise. It keeps skirting the pond trees mostly, dipping down into the sanctuary. I think it might be a Coopers Hawk, but I'm not sure. If it would come hang out in the maple for a while that would be helpful, hehe.

We had a lovely flight of McSwanums one day. A 7 swan flight. I had wondered what happened to two of the polished cygnets. Well, it may be they found mates and flew back to the home pond. They played across the frozen pond that day. Since then, I have only seen three, two, or one swan on the different road ponds. Not sure if it's back to the three again, or if I'm seeing them all hanging out in different places, or what.