On my way to work I am fortunate to drive through a low land field, an opening amongst the forests of NH.
Often there is a beautiful fox crossing from one side to the other.
One warmish day, there in the middle of the field, the little fox was frozen, ears perked, looking in the recently, post snow, exposed grass. Pulling over. Drat. Stupidly my telephoto was at home. We all know how long it takes to get a cell phone up and focused…Then! She pounced! And was rewarded with a fat vole which she proudly carried off.
While I was parked on the side of the road, 4 cars whizzed by, sadly, they missed this incredible act of nature. Had it been Yellowstone perhaps we would have had a fox jam.
A couple of weeks later there seemed to be disturbance in the recently fallen snow. Of course it warranted a closer look. She was at it again!
This field has also given the opportunity to see an Eagle scavenging after it had been hayed.
And, of course as one drives along, if one pays attention, there is the occasional deer.
I am also fortunate to have two wonderful, elderly mares who have been my partners for over 20 years. They live outside with a large run in and are in tune to their surroundings.
My many years as a horse woman have taught me that watching horses ears and eyes will teach you a lot. On a recent rainy chilly March morning, as I was looking out my kitchen window, I noticed the girls perking their ears and looking to the West. A bear? A deer?
I looked as they were looking and there was the source of their interest. A Pilliated woodpecker was knocking bugs out of an old stump. So glad we did not stump our field. I keep binoculars and scopes at all the good viewing windows. Grabbing them I stood and watched.
Watching teaches us so much. There he was, he seemed brighter than the one who showed up on another stump close by, pounding away at the rotten stump. But not just randomly pounding. He would hit a few times, in a line, then turn his head sideways and pound to the left, then to the right. Eventually, when he felt his job was done, he placed his beak under the bark and pow, he lifted off a huge chunk, exposing yummies underneath.
This was repeated over and over. Meticulously. His mate, they have lived here for a few years, pounded on a smaller stump nearby.
The mares alert me to turkeys, the occasional moose and even a coyote. Rhumba once trotted down our road following a gangly young moose. I think she thought it was a friend on her horse. (And,I didn’t have my glasses on).
Another time, while riding in the woods behind our cabin, the horses stopped. Frozen. I looked to my right and there, not 5 ft away was a beautiful coyote, frozen also. Mutual fear. It gave me a chance to admire the beauty of the animal with its thick coat highlighted with points of red. Finally after a minute or two it decided to move away, and, as it silently turned the horses decided….”We are all going to die!!” and jigged all the way home. Silly girls.
My hiking companions, Rusty and Ruby, know to stop and listen, willing to wait for me to try and see and hear what they, as dogs, are able to see and hear.
We have seen bear, bobcat. Porcupine, (at a safe distance), found deer sheds, even young moose.
I have many bird feeders, https://wordpress.com/post/mikicc.org/2591 placed where I spend time and can watch interactions. And, sometimes even a surprise visitor.
Check out this little guy. Well, not THAT little. https://youtu.be/7-78aniUIpo
And my popcorn eating friend.
I am in Boston. Walking around the Fens. The sport fields next to me are filled with screaming college students enjoying the 70 degree weather.
Not such a great day for the Bluejays. They were squawking up a storm. At first I thought the chaos was alerting to a father, holding up his son to see the ducks, a couple of mallards, who knew THEY were in no danger.
I followed the uproar. Then I saw it. Lunch had been served.
Sometimes nature shows itself, even in the middle of Boston. And, I was the only human witnessing. Damn cool! Wish I had had my telephoto. I sound like a broken record!
I always thought my accumen in the woods was pretty good. I often saw things others did not. Since being laid off the time has given me the luxury of honing my listening and seeing skills, as well as the ability to spend hours learning from such amazing people as George Bumann, Jenny Golding, Dan Gardoqui, and getting to know the Naturalists at the Harris Center, the Monadnock Conservancy and the Piscataqua Land Conservancy. Recently, the Easy Walks in Mass has expanded to include some of my easy walks in NH.
It also helps to have a friends like Gina Goff and Misha who are willing to join me in my escapades. With their help we have seen bear and bobcat as well as some interesting flora.
So, take the time to enjoy your surroundings. You just never know what you might see.
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