Over the years, I have often had to stop the car to let some wildlife pass. Several times it was a white-tailed doe and her little fawn or a mama Raccoon with her little ones all scrambling to keep up. I've stopped while a female skunk led her troupe of little stinkers across the road. I'll never forget the time I stopped and let a family of otters pass in front of me. Single file, they looked like a big snake slinking across the gravel road. The four little otters were about one-quarter grown and they stayed right behind their mother who kept them in line. It's been several years since I've seen baby otters, but the image of them stays in my memory.
There's so much going on now, so many new thing to alert your senses and tempt your curiosity. Sometimes, special encounters with wildlife are unavoidable, like the one I had this morning. While driving a country road, I noticed a pair of adult Sandhill cranes ahead on the shoulder. I slowed and stopped as the two cranes walked out of the tall grass and onto the road only 10 yards in front of me. That alone made my day, but the extra surprise was that there were two 15-inch, downy young walking under their parents' long legs.
The four of them walked slowly across the road and down into the lush grass on the other side. I waved "good day" to them and drove on with a smile on my face. Sometime you come face to face with Springs' rebirth without even looking for it.
It must have been my day for being in the right place at the right time. Just before dusk, I glanced out the window when I noticed the resident Woodchuck grazing in the middle of the yard. It's not at all unusual to see her, but I always like to pause and watch her for a while. I'm thinking there are young ones in a nest under the woodpile, and they will appear one of these days.
While I was watching her, some movement caught my eye at the edge of the yard. I hadn't noticed the doe because she had her head down in the tall grass. I grabbed the binoculars for a better look at what she was eating. Then I realized she wasn't eating, she was licking, as a little wobbly-legged, newborn fawn stood up under her. Once again, I'm amazed at what you can see with a little patience. The doe licked and groomed the little cinnamon-colored fawn for several more minutes before she walked off leaving her fawn hidden in the grass. I watched the doe stop with her ears up about 20 yards from where the fawn was. Then like a shot, she bolted towards the thick brush in front of her and to my surprise, a yearling came darting out the other side. I realized the doe was driving the smaller deer away. The year old deer was probably the doe's own fawn from a year ago, and now it was time to cut the apron strings. I watched for half an hour as the doe charged at the confused yearling, until it was getting too dark to see. It was a very entertaining way to spend the end of the day. I always look forwards to recounting these little wildlife adventures each night as my head hits the pillow.
I've gotten a couple of reports from people having seen coyote pups lately. If there are young coyotes that are big enough to follow their parents around, then there also may be little Red Fox kits, too. By now the kits are big enough to play around near their den and explore a little of the new world around them. A cricket to play with and eat, the first butterfly or Bumble bee spurs great curiosity and the sweet new grass is a treat to chew on. I haven't seen a fox den this year, but I have fond memories of many fox kits in years past.
Today there were a couple of other new visitors. By mid-afternoon the Deer flies began to show up. It was warm and sunny, and there must have been a hatch. These pesky biters make it hard to relax while I'm working in the garden.
The other new visitors came after dark, greeting me with little blinking lights—a few fireflies.
Nature beckons both day and night, reminding me not to waste a moment of summer.
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