Posts Tagged ‘wildlife’

Resident Racoon

A new animal set up residence in our backyard recently … a raccoon.

There are enough places for the coon to hide, especially under the barn.

The raccoon must be mostly nocturnal or have other small places to hide. The animals — foxes, raccoons, ground hogs take turns living there.

It stays close to barn where it can easily hide.

I wonder what it’s watching? Is it worried about another animal wanting a new “home?”

Our two-acre yard offers many places for wildlife to set up residence.


To The Woods …

We finally had a sunny day, so Buffy and I went to the woods at Stone Face.

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The caddisfly is a small moth-like insect. Their larvae collect whatever they can and bind it together for a protective case to grow in.  These were 1/4 inch long at the most. They will continue adding on until they’re full grown.

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Water movement and the resulting moving reflections always fascinate me.


Every time I see these two trees, I wish they were in my backyard. Grandkids would have a lot of fun with them. Wildlife probably couldn’t resist them either.

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Corky warts on bark of a hackberry tree look like a city of futuristic buildings.


I was unable to identify the shelf fungi. It had a smooth surface underneath.

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Obviously, this tree stood out! I have no idea what removed all the bark almost to the top of it. There were only a few small limbs at the top of the tree.

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The bark pieces at the base of the tree would’ve been only a small fraction of what was removed. It had to have been a determined mammal! This translates to a lot of bark removed and transported to ???

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Somehow this nondescript moss and script lichen caught my attention. Is the script lichen a messenger for the plant world?

Here’s Hoping

Here’s hoping the fox family returns to den under the barn.

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 I noticed lately that Buffy had been sniffing around the same part of the barn. The dirt here definitely looked like there’d been some coming and going. According to my Mammals of Illinois book by Donald F. Hoffman, red foxes breed the latter part of January and through February. Since we’re in southern Illinois, I figure they’d breed earlier here. Gestation lasts 51 days.

They were under the barn only a few days last year. So, I’m hoping they will like our accommodations again.

Let’s all hope they return to our barn, and we can watch their early “childhood.”

Darn, false alarm … a groundhog feeds in the backyard now.


My hopes are up again!

Rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow fell in a 24-hour event. I took advantage of these conditions and made a loop around the yard to see what wildlife visited  during the night.

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Accumulation added up to three or more inches.

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Fox tracks can be distinguished from dog tracks by perfect-stepping and the lack of foot drag.

The foxes went under the barn along the open space toward the back corner. The adults used the “square” as a lookout.

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  This picture also shows the distinctive chevron shape of the back pad. Continued snow fall altered the track somewhat.

The following pictures were taken in 2012.

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Sibling rivalry?

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There were 4 in the litter.

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Play time.

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Dad bringing in a meal.

I hope my wishful thinking just might manifest them coming back to den under the barn.

My fingers are crossed.

Are yours?



Buffy and I went out this morning. The groundhog ran under the barn when it saw us. I walked down to check for its tracks, and smelled skunk.

I should charge rent!

If I Could …

If I could take this tree trunk home, I would “plant” it in a prominent place in my yard.

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Besides its interesting appearance, it would probably attract wildlife.

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Wildlife could include birds, mammals and/or insects.  They could use it for protection from the weather or predators, a place to den, a place to raise young?

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It would probably have even more uses as the wood decayed.

Blackbirds Everywhere

When Buffy and I hike at my rural property, we go down by the highway and come home through the country. Coming home is 5 miles longer, but it has more scenery and increased chance of seeing wildlife.

I came around a sharp corner and there was a cut corn field busy with blackbirds.

The iridescent heads are common grackles. These flocks also include red-winged blackbirds, brown-headed cowbirds and sometimes rusty blackbirds. The rusty’s call sounds like a squeaky wheel.

They filled the trees behind me. They rose in flocks, in a wave action and settled back down.

It was like a symphony of movement.

No area was ever still. There were a lot more birds than the pictures show.

There was constant chatter in the trees behind me and “whooshes” when the flocks took flight.

In the winter, we have flocks that are miles long. Their dark swarms “wave” across the landscape.