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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 4, 2003
    Location
    Dallas, Georgia
    Posts
    17,294

    Default Wildlife Around The Farm

    I am privileged to board at a private hay farm in west Georgia. We have the typical gray squirrels, rabbits, moles/voles, etc. But we are also privileged to have a large population of blue birds and a pair of hawks.

    However, Christmas Eve morning (before my Jingle Ride) I had a real treat! I was out chucking hay in the back pasture when I heard a short yapping up behind me, towards the back of the barn. It was not a local dog's bark that I recognized, but when I looked, couldn't see what was making the yap. As I turned back to my cart full o'hay, I caught movement in the tall grass outside the fence. Running full speed ahead and jumping over ant mounds was a red fox!

    He/she quickly shimmied under the pasture fence, ran across and in front of me (about 40 feet away) and shimmied under the other side of the pasture fence. Then took off, jumping and running for the far side of the hay field where, I would suspect, its mate was yapping/calling out.

    All I could do was stand there with my mouth agape, smiling from ear-to-ear and thanking God for that treat just for me! (wish I had the camera tho!)

    So I finish my chores and tack Penny up, replete with Jingle Bells, for our ride. As we're meandering down the Silver Comet Trail, a large bird swooped down in front of us, flying about 8 feet off the ground and then took off up into the trees. I was able to watch where it landed and, peering up through the limbs, I saw an Owl! Mr. Owl carefully watched this strange creature go by and then flew off into a higher tree to continue watching us from a safer vantage point. Upon my research, I firmly believe it was a Short-Eared Owl

    Two wildlife treats in one day! It was terrific
    <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar. 26, 2007
    Location
    SE PA
    Posts
    1,526

    Default

    Don't you love it when that happens? I had one ride earlier this year where I rode past a red fox sitting right next to the trail (not rabid, must have built her den very close to the trail), AND a gigantic luna moth caterpillar right in the middle of the driveway. Then on the way back, we saw a herd of deer silhouetted on the top of the hill, against a pink and purple sunset... and people wonder why I don't mind riding alone
    RIP Victor... I'll miss you, you big galumph.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    49,953

    Default

    My neighbor saw his first mountain lion a couple of weeks ago and is still talking about it with enthusiasm.

    I don't know what kind of owl that is you mention.
    Owls have been our family bird for some 500 years and over my desk is a poster of Picasso's owl. It doesn't has any ears, I don't know which kind it is, but it looks very serious.

    You do get excited when you get to watch some wildlife that are shy and rarely seen.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec. 18, 2008
    Location
    Wawa Territory
    Posts
    2,648

    Default

    I did the same thing when I saw a bald eagle sitting on a fence post in my pasture. Magnificent and just awesome! I felt truly blessed and still scan the skies hoping for another sighting.

    Last year, for the first time since I was in knickers I heard a cock bird - didn't see it, but the sound was unmistakeable! My DD thought I was crazy to carry on so - oh well, at least I still get excited!
    Our horses know our secrets; we braid our tears into their manes and whisper our hopes into their ears.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr. 12, 2002
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    4,638

    Default

    Nice!

    My favorite find so far was a Swallow Tail Kite hunting in my front pasture. Just beautiful and so graceful.

    Here are a few photos:
    Full extended soaring
    http://i439.photobucket.com/albums/q...f/72709040.jpg

    Diving:
    http://i439.photobucket.com/albums/q...f/72709034.jpg

    Tail hanging out of mouth and prey in foot:
    http://i439.photobucket.com/albums/q...f/72709032.jpg
    Rhode Islands are red;
    North Hollands are blue.
    Sorry my thoroughbreds
    Stomped on your roo. Originally Posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' :



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    49,953

    Default

    A neighbor saw this hawk August 1st on a fence 3 miles from here and it made her day, week, month and year.
    Look at that expression, daring her to come get his chatch.
    I think it is a great wildlife picture:

    http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a2...g?t=1262109407

    We should carry a camera with us all the time, maybe you can get a picture next time.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov. 14, 2004
    Location
    Fleetwood, PA
    Posts
    2,623

    Default

    I see lots of wildlife on our farm, even though we are really close to a town of about 4000 people (ie, one section of our farm is within the town limits and I am less than 0.75 mi from the center of town).

    That said, we see lots of deer and even more foxes and hawks. I hear, though rarely see, Great Horned owls. The foxes are not afraid at all, usually meandering through my horse pastures looking for mice. If I am quiet and just stand near the horses, the foxes usually never notice me at all.

    One year I caught these 4 playing in my arena. And the fox at the bottom, next to the fly mask, used to be a regular evening visitor as he would clean up the dribble of Ration Balancer than my mare left behind

    http://mysite.verizon.net/vze85onr/id24.html



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov. 4, 2003
    Location
    Dallas, Georgia
    Posts
    17,294

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RacetrackReject View Post
    Nice!

    My favorite find so far was a Swallow Tail Kite hunting in my front pasture. Just beautiful and so graceful.

    Here are a few photos:
    Full extended soaring
    http://i439.photobucket.com/albums/q...f/72709040.jpg

    Diving:
    http://i439.photobucket.com/albums/q...f/72709034.jpg

    Tail hanging out of mouth and prey in foot:
    http://i439.photobucket.com/albums/q...f/72709032.jpg
    AWESOME!
    <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul. 10, 2002
    Location
    Vienna, VA USA
    Posts
    839

    Default 2 Stories

    Some several years back when I was out of town, my husband was exercising a friend's horse. While the horse is a lovely ride, he is not a lighted footed animal. As they were touring a back pasture, my husband saw a shower of dirt coming from the top of a hill. When he rode to the top of the hill, he saw a ground hog digging a hole. He said they walked up to within a few feet of the GH without his noticing them. Then hubby said the GH popped his head out and gazed down hill away from him and his horse. GH then turns his head, sees my hubby and horse, and literally goes "eek", jumps in shock and then runs down the hill. Hubby said he almost fell off, he was laughing so hard.

    Second story: Back during the 1996 blizzard and freeze, I started putting out bird seed for the local population right by my kitchen window. Later that spring I glanced out my window, and saw a hawk sitting in my dogwood tree. That alone is worth the story because he sat there for a long time. However that is not the fully part. As those who feed the birds know, squirrels are frequently raiders of the feeders. This day, while the hawk is in my tree, a squirrel climbs my feeder and starts raiding. After stuffing his face for a while, he glances around and seeing the hawk. It was another case of "eek" and disappearing. I guess the hawk had eaten recently so he didn't try and catch the squirrel.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb. 5, 2006
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    1,405

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluey View Post
    A neighbor saw this hawk August 1st on a fence 3 miles from here and it made her day, week, month and year.
    Look at that expression, daring her to come get his chatch.

    To come GET it? How about running away screaming? The only thing I would do would be to give that hawk a MEDAL!

    We have the normal midwestern farm wildlife here, including a resident flock of turkeys. Funniest thing was one late summer afternoon when I surprised 3 young toms in the barn lot. The lower barn lot fencing is no-climb; open fencing and gates on both sides of the barn lot are up close to the barn. I was standing at the barn entrance, so the idiot turkeys refused to come towards me in order to get to the gates. They went back and forth, back and forth, separately and together, along the lower edge. They ran faster and faster as they kept going from 1 corner to the other not finding a gate.

    Finally I had to step forward to bring in the horses and the poor hysterical things finally remembered they were birds. Birds have........ Wings. They stopped running and flew over the fence.

    Stupid birds.
    Incredible Invisible



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb. 11, 2008
    Location
    In the middle of Texas
    Posts
    635

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluey View Post
    My neighbor saw his first mountain lion a couple of weeks ago and is still talking about it with enthusiasm.

    I don't know what kind of owl that is you mention.
    Owls have been our family bird for some 500 years and over my desk is a poster of Picasso's owl. It doesn't has any ears, I don't know which kind it is, but it looks very serious.

    You do get excited when you get to watch some wildlife that are shy and rarely seen.
    Bluey,

    We have a resident dark gray/almost black cougar/mountain lion/whatever on our property (South Central Texas). It stays in the heavily wooded back portion of the property which is incredibly populated with wild hogs, deer, turkeys, etc. Early early in the morning we drove by on the polaris and it ran up into one of the huge oak trees! I really hope it stays on our property because it would be killed in a snap. I would love to get a picture at some point, probably won't happen!



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    49,953

    Default

    We also have one of those rare black mountain lions around here, most are some shade of tan.
    Most everyone has seen him by now and the game warden has asked all to not bother it.
    I have only seen him once and he was sure big and pretty, as long as he was moving on.
    Not that anyone gets a chance to shoot mountain lions, they generally go by so fast you can't hardly see what they are before they are gone into the brush.

    Now we just started having feral hogs a few years ago and they are really becoming a serious nuisance.
    I wish mountain lions would hunt them, but nothing does, those hogs are terribly mean.

    A friend just told me last night that he has a big, fat bobcat staying around his barn.
    We are having some very cold and snowy weather and he thinks is staying there for protection and will move on once it clears.
    He may get some pictures yet, before it leaves.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug. 28, 2006
    Posts
    10,989

    Default

    There are Red Foxes in our area too, but on our farm I see the native Gray Foxes. We have a lot of wildlife here, especially since our 50+ acres, most of which is woods and rough-mown fields, is adjacent to several hundred acres of undeveloped floodplain.

    My husband got to see the most thrilling sight of all, which I unfortunately missed -- a mature Bald Eagle that flew straight down the grass drive between the pastures toward the creek. The creek has a lot of meanders and mini-lakes and that must have attracted the Eagle on its migration path. I've seen Bald Eagles before -- we used to go birdwatching a lot at Jordan Lake when we lived in Chapel Hill -- but I would have loved to have seen that one here. DH got a close-up view too.

    Well, I did get to see a Bobcat. Just happened to look out the kitchen window at the right time.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun. 17, 2007
    Posts
    347

    Default My turn...& any idea what the creature was?

    Last year my mule turned irritable for a few days. Couldn't figure out what was wrong. He was pinning his ears, cantering all over the paddock and trying to stomp some imaginary creature. He was sweet and lovely toward people and his paddock mates. It was just this unseen opponent that he wanted to wipe out. Well it turns out a bull moose made our back yard his home for a few weeks. I guess mules just don't like moose.

    A few weeks ago I stepped out of the barn and was walking toward the house and had the impulse to duck down rather quickly. A bald eagle was making a low pass searching for dinner and I simply appeared out of the fog directly into his flight path. He was high enough not to hit me, but the self preservation instinct in me is strong!

    Now for my "what was it?" story. Was at the base of the driveway, which is quite long. As I was walking up toward the road I saw a critter, about the size of a large housecat. It had a smallish head and a great big powerful backend. The fur coat was gray. When it saw me it made gigantic leaps across the driveway and into the trees where it zipped up there so darn fast it was almost hard to follow. Then it simply leaped from tree to tree lightening quick until out of eyesight. The following day I saw it again with a similar ending. A week later was the final time I saw it and it once again moved faster than I've ever seen an animal move. Very exciting for me! Haven't the foggiest what it was. Any ideas?



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar. 23, 2005
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    3,355

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NEWT View Post

    Now for my "what was it?" story. Was at the base of the driveway, which is quite long. As I was walking up toward the road I saw a critter, about the size of a large housecat. It had a smallish head and a great big powerful backend. The fur coat was gray. When it saw me it made gigantic leaps across the driveway and into the trees where it zipped up there so darn fast it was almost hard to follow. Then it simply leaped from tree to tree lightening quick until out of eyesight. The following day I saw it again with a similar ending. A week later was the final time I saw it and it once again moved faster than I've ever seen an animal move. Very exciting for me! Haven't the foggiest what it was. Any ideas?
    Where do you live Newt?

    Perhaps it was a small lynx ...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynx



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2009
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    1,031

    Default

    I don't ever see anything that is "exotic", but I still get very excited to see foxes. It happens so rarely that it seems, to me anyhow, to be a magical event.

    I would love to see a bald eagle in the wild!



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun. 17, 2007
    Posts
    347

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RainyDayRide View Post
    Where do you live Newt?

    Perhaps it was a small lynx ...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynx
    RDR, perhaps it was a lynx but they normally don't live in this area of Maine (there are PLENTY of them just a bit north). I'm considered mid-coastal Maine with bobcat, coyotes etc. It didn't look like a bobcat to me but I'm no pro! But, that said, my neighbor did say he say a lynx at his barn and since he's an avid hunter I'd take his word over mine! The only difference I could come up with is that Maine Lynx are BIG. The critter I saw was only about 15-20 pounds.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar. 10, 2006
    Location
    Albany NY
    Posts
    5,521

    Default

    Newt, Sounds like a fisher cat except for the grey part - they are a weasle, but big, bigger than a cat, tree dwellers, you'll see them around, they sort of leap and hump, but they are mink colored, at least around here. Contact Misty Blue. She is a wildlife rehabber, and knows everything about wildlife in new england, including what species are living where, their numbers and habits, and she'll definitely be able to talk to you about this. Cool!
    Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    May. 4, 2009
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    477

    Default

    I too am from Georgia and haven't seen a whole lot of unusual wildlife except for a few owls or coyotes, and even a bobcat once. But I've been living in Idaho for the past year and saw a lot out there. I saw quite a few moose that would hang out around the barn, even a mama moose and her two adorable calves that were trotting down the road in front of me. My favorite though by far were the two bald eagles that I had the privilege of seeing nearly every morning on my way to the barn. It was absolutely amazing to see them and I would try to stop and watch them for a few minutes every morning when I would come by.

    Here they are...
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/29598352@N03/4229573673/



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug. 28, 2006
    Posts
    10,989

    Default

    Newt, what you saw sounds like a weasel, either an Ermine or Long-Tailed Weasel. The Ermine is the larger of the two.



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