Monthly Archives: April 2015

Bison

Bison bull on pasture

Bison bull on pasture

He’s getting old, but he is such a majestic, grizzled, shaggy creature, with his bedraggled winter coat half shed, his horns slightly worn down from rubbing, and his beautiful dark eyes.

Bison bull on pasture

Bison bull on pasture

Bison bull, with tongue

Bison bull, with tongue

One of the details I remember from when I saw my first bison almost forty years ago is the surprising stripe pattern underneath their agile tongue. Also known as handkerchief.

Bison cow with calf a few days old

Bison cow with calf a few days old

The arrival of the first calf of the season is always highly anticipated. This cow has beautiful horns.

She will stay at the far side of the herd with her calf if the farm truck approaches. She will often stand between the calf and the truck even when distant, so it may require patience to get a photo.

Any cow with a young calf is dangerous. Bison can move at the speed of lightning.

High drama in Canada Goose territory

I was walking quietly along a fence in our pasture. I stood in the shadow of one of the railway-tie fence posts for a while, waiting to see what might hop by or flutter overhead. When I took a few steps heading toward my next spot, I heard this outraged honking on the other side of the fence and about sixty feet away.

It was a fine upstanding Canada Goose couple, out for a stroll in what they thought were their own private grounds. And here I brazenly stepped into their line of site, an intruder and an interruption! Well, they complained vociferously.

Canada Goose

Canada Goose

A little later I heard honking overhead, saw another pair winging by, saw one land, and then the second one joined it on the field.

Canada Goose

Canada Goose

Canada Goose

Canada Goose

Panic erupted! The original occupants were extremely offended and came on the run, shrieking and honking and thrashing their wings!

Canada Goose

Canada Goose

Canada Goose

Canada Goose

Before I knew it, the newcomers had fled in panic.

Canada Goose

Canada Goose

“And don’t ever come back!”

(I like the open mouth view of the goose’s tongue as it trumpets its derisive and angry insults.)

Wild Cucumber

As I was walking along the road near our farm yesterday, I saw these in the ditch. Such an exotic looking seed pod.

Wild Cucumber

Wild Cucumber

And those crazy curly tendrils, like the telephone cords of wall phones from long ago. Well, a decade ago. Well, some of us still have them.

Wild Cucumber

Wild Cucumber

Wild cucumber, Echinocystis lobata. The name Echinocystis comes from the Greek echinos for “hedgehog” and cystis for “bladder”.

I remember taking photos at the same spot last September, so I hereby present some from that season. Same plant, in its long ago youth.

Wild Cucumber

Wild Cucumber

I love the combination of green spikes, green tendrils, green leaf curves, green shadow.

Wild Cucumber

Wild Cucumber

Guess what’s peeking out of that seed pod.

Wild Cucumber seeds

Wild Cucumber seeds

I find two of these seeds still wrapped in a scrap of paper on the corner of my kitchen counter. I will definitely be attempting germination and planting on a garden trellis or pole structure, in the seemingly distant spring and summer yet to come.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

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Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

As I walked along the road this morning, I heard the familiar tapping, and looked around to find this guy, a kind of woodpecker we see around here quite often. I know he’s a male because the female does not have red at the throat.

As I watched through my zoomed lens, I saw the bits of bark flying as he tapped. “Stop killing my trees!”, I said as I saw that.  I stepped closer and he flew away.

Grumpy squirrel

A few days ago as I was sitting and waiting for that Great Horned Owl, I was chided and loudly criticized by this cute little guy who was quite outraged by my intrusive presence. (Full disclosure: I do not know if it was a he or a she; when I did a little research about how to tell the male and female squirrels apart, the most helpful advice was 1. catch the squirrel, then 2. check its genitalia. I didn’t want to do that, so I will just assume it’s a male, and beg its pardon if it is actually a female.)

Anyway, he glared at me.

Squirrel

Squirrel

So grumpy.

I went a little closer anyway.

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Squirrel

Then I stood right under him. He kept perfectly still.

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Squirrel

Such shiny fur and whiskers.

Squirrel

Squirrel

Aw, his little orange teeth! And wait, are those his tiny paws clutched nervously to his little furry chest?

Squirrel

Squirrel