Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Afternoon Timber Walk

Today turned out to be another beautiful day! Extremely windy, but temperature wise we had another absolutely gorgeous day!!!

This morning I removed the memory card from my trail camera to check the activity and  took some pictures on my other camera before reaching the trail camera.So I ended up bringing both cards home before lunch to transfer pictures to the computer.

This afternoon before the day got totally gone I headed back to get the memory card situated in the trail camera for the night.

Thinking back to a couple of my trips last week I saw turkeys in fields to the south and got some distance shots - might decide to share them later. It probably would be a good idea for me to put more time in between visits to pick-up the memory card. Too much traffic might be causing the turkeys to seek more privacy elsewhere, because I haven't seen them for a few days. All is quiet where they are concerned.

Trout Lily
Last week I saw the mottled leaves for the White Trout Lily erupting out of the ground and remembered a post by Casey Harn at Wandering Owl Outside. He has moved over to The Countryside Round now...still enjoy his posts when he has time to publish.

Turkey Vulture
The Turkey Vultures came back a couple of weeks ago. I told you I would keep you informed of their return, they seem to be one of indicators that the weather should remain good.

I didn't have my camera in hand this morning, or I would have had a picture of one riding low on a thermal over the house.

Last year I had some good photo ops with one that I will post some time in the future.

On my walk this afternoon I caught an extremely sweet scent wafting on the stiff winds - I would prefer the poetic lilt of gentle breezes, but that wouldn't describe the West winds at 18 gusting to 26.

The trees have been rocking all day - The Ides of March?

Timber Violet
Antler Shed
Kneeling on a deer trail to get pictures of the two White Trout Lillies, I wasn't concentrating on anything else. Sadie came up beside me, that is when I looked to my right. Another shed! Wouldn't you just know it, after I had quit looking for them. This one is really a victim of chewing.

I brought it back to the house to see if it matched anything I already had in my inventory. No, it doesn't seem to correspond to those already in my possession...

The trail camera should prove a valuable tool this summer. Maybe, I will get to see the owners of the sheds left behind.

Virginia Bluebell
All the flowers in bloom now are leading up to another yearly event, that of morel mushroom hunting. The only flower yet to open up is the Mayapple. I am told that is another flower that helps indicate the right conditions for the search to begin.

We need more rain to get the mushrooms to pop. The heat is already here...

Iowa's relative of the Prairie Dog -Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel

Isn't that  a cute little face?

Popping out of the burrow to check on Passersby

Adaptation for Camouflaging
This morning I caught this individual as it turned it's back on me. Color adaptations for remaining illusive seems to be working here. These little four footed creatures have taken over from one end of the crop ground/pastures to the far ends of the timber.
It is hard to believe that they can be so prolific with the predators and raptors that call this area home.

Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel Doe  

This picture was taken September 28th, 2011 along our drive as I went to pick-up the mail. She sat and stared - changing position occasionally. Tiring of my visit she returned to the safety of her burrow.

Statistically they say the little does have one litter of pups a year, in the spring.

My curiosity about how the family units and individuals are titled sent me on a web search.

I found out that the babies are called 'pups, kit or kittens'. The female of the group is called a doe, the males are bucks. Goodness! They sure do have a size difference from Whitetails we usually associate with does and bucks.

With the unseasonably warm temperatures I am wondering if they will start their families soon?

A few years ago I started hearing what I thought was a different bird around the house, only to find that it was their call, a high-pitched trill. I now know what to look for when I hear it...

This collection of ground squirrel mounds is only a small representative of the total picture. I have discovered they like the shorter grass of the lawn along the drive.

Their burrowing has created some slow going when driving in a strip of ground between some  fields. It is wise to drive at a snails pace in case the opening have been covered by taller grass growth...don't want to flatten the tires.

The ground is lacking in moisture and makes digging a very easy task...These are freshly disturbed openings to additional tunnels. New mounds in the spring are the first indications they are waking up for the season.

Our property is also host to the Ground Hog, which I had associated with some of the larger holes. However, my observations revealed a different story.

As strange as it might seem these little Ground Squirrels are related to the Prairie Dog,

I had the opportunity to catch this Prairie Dog sunning in a colony, while my Hubby and I drove through the Black Hills of South Dakota, back in September of 2007. They too had created some problems for farmers and animal grazers at the time of our last visit. It appears maybe now they have gained some acceptable populations.

I am always grateful for October to arrive in this case, because the Ground Squirrels, cute as they might be, disappear for a few months...