Monday, December 01, 2008

Steam the RT, Pye, Blossom the Bear, More on the Bunny/Deer Relationship, Vinzant on Squirrels Need Your Help This Year

Photograph by James Blank
This is Steam the Red-tail that frequents Thresherman's Park. Steam is very wily. In two and a half years I've only gotten one photograph of him.

Another of those prairie sunsets, that's a portent for snow.

And for those who have asked after Pyewackit. She's doing fine. There hasn't been one "accident". And she's become cheeky enough to stalk wooden elephants from the dresser top. I find the nose to the wood technique quite interesting. Is it for balance?

This is Blossom the bear sitting on her tuffet.

In actuality Blossom is sitting on her tuffet in the middle of heavy snowstorm and is the result of my boredom while shoveling snow. And let me tell you there is a lot of snow coming down. To be honest the amount of snow also had something to do with Blossom. I found it much easier when shoveling the snow in the driveway to shovel it into a wheel barrow and then dump it to the side. Then instead of dumping it to the side, suddenly I found myself wheeling it to the backyard and...

When I went after the driveway for the second time tonight, and wheeled a load to the back. It looked to me that Blossom's casual lean to one side had gone from casual to acute.

As it indeed it had under closer scrutiny. A while later when I checked on Blossom, she'd obviously been hitting the sauce or perhaps the honey mead, as she'd fallen completely off her tusset. Tsk.
R. of Illinois dug up the back story on yesterday’s post about “Bambi” and “Thumper”. Check out the link--
And also, here's video of the deer and rabbit playing.

Catbird of Tulsa asked after the Tail-less Turkey of Central Park--I've had no more reports on so I suspect all is well. I also suspect that there are two turkeys in Central Park. Central Park's Eleanor Tauber took this photograph in the beginning of November. The Wild Turkeys in Wisconsin have a good bit more tail than this turkey. But this turkey is the domesticated model, I think. Or a different morph from those I see here. Is this a whole turkey tail of this model turkey or only a partial one? Does anyone know?

A flying squirrel retrieves food put out by the staff at Long Branch Nature Center in Arlington County . (By Richard A. Lipski -- The Washington Post)

Carol Vinzant of writes-
And here's why from The Washington Post, which continues at the link below.

The idea seemed too crazy to Rod Simmons, a measured, careful field botanist. Naturalists in Arlington County couldn't find any acorns. None. No hickory nuts, either. Then he went out to look for himself. He came up with nothing. Nothing crunched underfoot. Nothing hit him on the head.

Then calls started coming in about crazy squirrels. Starving, skinny squirrels eating garbage, inhaling bird feed, greedily demolishing pumpkins. Squirrels boldly scampering into the road. And a lot more calls about squirrel roadkill.

But Simmons really got spooked when he was teaching a class on identifying oak and hickory trees late last month. For 2 1/2 miles, Simmons and other naturalists hiked through Northern Virginia oak and hickory forests. They sifted through leaves on the ground, dug in the dirt and peered into the tree canopies. Nothing....

My investigation of the acorn mast in the woods at Thresherman's Park has shown that the only oaks that did produce acorns this season were the Burr Oaks, which produced a large crop. As for the Black, Red, White, and Pin Oaks--I found no acorns. There has been a high level of road kill here as well in the squirrel population as they attempt to procure nuts from the few trees that produced. Also the bird feeder raiding has reached epic proportions as the population is higher than in the past few years at this time. Not only are they raiding the feeders but they are destroying them if they aren't filled immediately upon becoming empty. Even in an "empty" tube feeder for instance, there are always a few seeds which are out of reach so the squirrels have been attempting to chew their way in.
Now don't get me wrong, the squirrels in this area are certainly quite chubby but they don't have the rolls of fat around their necks the way they did last year at this time.

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