First brought to North America by Shakespeare enthusiasts in the nineteenth century, European Starlings are now among the continent’s most numerous songbirds. They are stocky black birds with short tails, triangular wings, and long, pointed bills. Though they’re sometimes resented for their abundance and aggressiveness, they’re still dazzling birds when you get a good look. Covered in white spots during winter, they turn dark and glossy in summer. For much of the year, they wheel through the sky and mob lawns in big, noisy flocks.
This morning when I let Our pups outside, Zoey focused on something in our oak tree near our property border. When I looked up, I saw a Pileated Woodpecker in the tree. I ran inside, picked up my camera, and captured photos of the bird. Then a second Pileated Woodpecker joined the first one. They both pecked on the same branch. That branch is hanging on its last splinters, there must be a lot of goodies for the woodpeckers in there. They might stay around and peck a hole to build a nest and raise their offspring. That would be so much fun.
Eastern chipmunks are found in forests, but also in suburban gardens and city parks, as long as there are rocks, stumps, or fallen logs to provide perching sites and cover for burrow entrances They dig complex burrows with many entrances and chambers as well as short escape tunnels, and each chipmunk defends a small area around its burrow, threatening, chasing, and even fighting with a neighbor who invades the space The chipmunks spend the winter underground, but venture to the surface occasionally on mild, sunny days They enter torpor for a few days at a time, and then arouse to feed on stored nuts and seeds Life expectancy in the wild is slightly more than a year.
This afternoon we went to Fayerweather Island in Bridgeport to see another lighthouse. Once at the park, we had to climb across the barrier stones between Long Island Sound and Black Rock Harbor to get to the island. This was quite a puzzle. But I also watched other people on which stones they stepped to make the walk easier on the way back. It was a beautiful, sunny day. And a lot of anglers were out to catch fish. One guy caught a bluefish that was over a foot and a half long.
Arriving at the Fayerweather Island Lighthouse, Kevin, Sara, and I took a short break and looked up its history. We found out, that this lighthouse is not the original building. The original wooden lighthouse was built in 1808 and was destroyed in the Norfolk and Long Island Hurricane on September 3, 1821. In 1823 it was replaced with an octagonal stone tower, which we visited today. Same as the original lighthouse, this building is 40 feet (12.1 meters) tall.
As mentioned before, the walk back was much easier and faster since we knew on which stones to step. Sara was so far ahead, I told Kevin to catch up with her and pick me up in the car. Meanwhile, I sat on a bench and watched the gull on Seaside Beach.
When the trees their summer splendor Change to raiment red and gold, When the summer moon turns mellow And the nights are getting cold; When the squirrels hide their acorns, And woodchucks disappear; Then we know it is Autumn. Loveliest season of the year.
White-tailed Deer have long, slender legs, prominent ears, and large liquid brown eyes set off against thick white eye rings. Whitetails have a shiny black nose contrasting with a whitish nose band. The chin is white and edged on either side with a wide band of dark hair. The throat area is also white or grayish.
The deer’s prominent ears are edged in a dark color contrasting with white hair on the inside. The ears are often in motion; they can swivel independently of each other to capture sound from multiple directions and pinpoint the sound’s exact location.
The deer’s underparts, including its belly and the inner portions of its upper legs, are white. The rump and underside of the tail are also white. When alarmed, the deer flashes its tail, and the white hairs on its rump flare out, giving rise to the name “white-tail.”
After Kevin and I were done with the greenhouse, he noticed some rustling on the hill, yesterday. Since this area is overgrown with grass and wildflowers, he couldn’t see what made that noise until a turkey came into sight. He whispered to me to come here. From my point, I could see a couple more turkeys in the high grass. And then we saw little turkeys following the bigger ones. The first turkey wanted to guide the family downhill where we were standing, but then it decided to take the route up the hill, crossing the street and trotting through the neighbor’s yard.
This morning, we saw the turkey family again. Two adults were in the yard. Another one was checking out the forest before it made some noise that everything was clear. The Jake’s and Jenny’s (young male and female turkeys) flew down from our Norway Maple into the yard. Sara pointed out the lookout turkey high in another tree. This means every turkey has a job in raising the young. One is on watch duty, while the other adults are babysitting the little ones.
Kevin, Sara, and I made use of this beautiful morning. It was only 59℉ (15℃) when we drove for a hike to the White Memorial Conservation Center in Litchfield. At the center, we parked the car by the Sawmill Field and walked along the Bantam River. In the swamps, we’ve heard a lot of frogs croaking, but couldn’t find one. They were camouflaged in the water. Close to the Mattatuck Trail, Kevin pointed out a snake. I was lucky enough to photograph the Garter Snake from head to tail before it disappeared under a rock. There were also plenty of wildflowers like chicory, purple loosestrife, swamp weed, and water lilies. A lot of people were also hiking and biking on those trails or kayaking down the Bantam River towards Bantam Lake. When we walked back to our car, we noticed it wasn’t even 9 am, yet.
Usually, when I go into the bathroom I always peek out the window in the morning. This is the time, when wildlife is very active on our property. I looked around the backyard. And sure enough, I saw the rearend of a White-tailed Deer. I put my shoes on, grabbed my camera and tried to be as quiet as possible walking out the patio door. When I looked at the spot, the deer was gone. Then I turned right and saw her standing in the fern eating tree and shrub leaves. I’ve couldn’t got a better surrounding as a picture frame with her. The doe kept eating breakfast for another couple of minutes, before she had enough and jumped back towards the forest. But first, she turned around to say “goodbye” for the day. Isn’t she beautiful?
This evening, I walked in my yard and something jumped on my pant leg. First, I thought, a toad must have mixed me up with a tree again. But by closer inspection I saw a Wood Frog in the grass. He sat there very quietly for me to capture a photo of him. But when I tried to catch him, he leaped right under the Hosta leaves and was out of sight. His name is Bubba, and he is a good tenant catching mosquitoes.
Kevin and I went for a small hike at Echo Lake Park after dinner. He’s still recovering from last week’s trip to Dallas. The jetlag is real. The best way to get rid of it is moving around and staying hydrated. We did our little walk behind the lake. Back there we’ve met the King/Queen of Echo Lake, a nice big beaver. He/she was working on its beautiful water mansion, getting small tree branches from the lake dam. It was quite interesting watching the beaver swimming with the branch across the lake. A family across the lake was fishing. Once they saw the beaver, they were quite fascinated by the strength of the beaver as well.
Joshua met a new friend named Karmo today. Karmo is an Eastern American Toad. While Karmo leaped in the yard, Joshua kept an eye on that toad. Sara was concerned that Joshua might take Karmo in the mouth. Before it could happen, she just picked up the toad and sat it on Joshua’s back. Karmo leaped up to Joshua’s head, so he could see better. And Joshua was very gentle with Karmo. The cat let the toad sit there for quite some time. Later, we sat Karmo in the greenhouse, where he could catch some bugs.
It began to rain in the early morning. And the rain lasted until the late morning hours. While I captured photos of droplets, a Northern Cardinal fledgling got confused and almost landed on me. Once it figured out, I wasn’t mommy or daddy it made a sharp turn and sat on the porch railing.
Today, it was a cool day. However, this weekend we are supposed to get temperatures in the mid-90s (35℃). It will feel just like Texas, before the weather cools down to the 70s on Monday.
Kevin and I did some yard work this afternoon, when he saw Joshua dragging something in his mouth. Since Joshua was right behind me, I grabbed the cat and told him to drop it. A young chipmunk lay there and didn’t move. Kevin took Joshua, while I checked out the little chipmunk. It was on its back in my hands, so I immediately turned it on its belly to check the back and sides. Other than some cat saliva it seemed to be okay. Within a few seconds the chipmunk began to wiggle and bite my finger. The more I tried to pull that darn rodent away, the more it dug in with its teeth. So, the best decision was to let it go. It unlatched and ran under the riding lawnmower. Now, it was Kevin’s turn to find the chipmunk, while I took Joshua inside the house. Enough rodent hunting for that cat in one day! Kevin could get the chipmunk to run from under the lawnmower to and climb up the nearest oak tree. From there, he looked and yelled at both of us. “I guess, that’s the thanks I get for saving him from our cat.”
Thank goodness, the little chipmunk is not rabid. And I have my tetanus shot up-to-date. Today, my finger looks like nothing ever happened. But that bite from that little $#@% hurt.
Ozzy loves to explore everything in our yard. He watches bumble bees, butterflies, and many other insects emerge from under dew-covered leaves. Birds catch some worms and larva for their offspring on the lawn. Chipmunks perk their little heads from their burrows. And squirrels chase each other around a tree trunk. There is so much to see and prowl on for Ozzy. Once it gets warm throughout the day, he will take a nap in the afternoon. He needs the energy to continue his adventures in the evening, again.