When I looked out of my screened porch to the side yard, I though it seemed unnaturally sunny. Then I realized that the beaver had climbed halfway to the front yard over at least a dozen terraces to decimate the native Sweet Shrub, a Weigelia, and the Annabell Hydrangea. Lower down he got my heirloom Oakleaf Hydrangea with its fading rosy blooms. He knocked over several pots dragging his prizes away.
The Beaver's mayhem has been confined to the back yard, so this is a new tactic. The area around the lake is brimming with tasty trees but I guess he might be looking for some variety. It's still pretty bold, though. I'm really sad to lose these beautiful shrubs, but everhything he's mauled before grew back really well. The hollies he stole in the spring have already sprouted new growth. I guess nature's landscaper decided my pruning wasn't up to speed!
Did I say I liked having a beaver colony in my backyard? I still do like the industrious creatures but there are a few drawbacks. I didn't know that they loved hollies, but they have a seemingly insatiable appetite for the lovely shrubs. I had some big beautiful Nellie Stevens and Savannah hollies but the Beaver has decimated them. I found two more gone last week. Now nature's lumberjack is at it again! Last night the Beaver burgled another big Savannah Holly.
He didn't take it with him but look how clever he was to submerge the end of the trunk in water so his prize will stay fresh and tasty until his return .
I'd hate this creature if he wasn't so interesting!! I'm getting out the chicken wire to save the rest of my hollies!!
There are dozens of wild willows he could snack on but obviously he prefers cultivated trees.
It's very rare to see the Beaver out and about after dawn, but this morning when I raised the shades, I spotted him in his little lake. He started gnawing on a decent sized wild willow trunk and a mere 10 minutes later, it dropped. The Beaver gnawed on the stump for a short time then started eating the branches. Guess he was ready for a "fresh" meal after a night of hard labor maintaining his little kingdom. What an amazing creature!
Uh oh! Do you remember the post a few days ago about the Beaver munching grass at the edge of the marsh? Well, clever devil--he was really a scout, sent to survey my yard for tasty treats. He struck last night in a brazen attack, clipping a few branches from a Butterfly Bush and a Beauty Berry. I've seen enough of the furry lumberjack's mayhem to recognize the clean cut of a Beaver's teeth. Beavers raise water levels in order to access vegetation more easily and now that the marsh is flooded, they have an easy route to my yard. Guess it's time to haul out the chicken wire an wrap a few trees because he'll be back.
When I raised the shades a few mornings ago, I saw a big brown lump at the edge of the marsh. In the dim light of dawn, I couldn't tell what it was. I hauled out the binoculars and was surprised to see one of the beavers casually munching tender grass. Yes, the furry lumberjacks are still busy reshaping the marsh! You can see the big pile of saplings that the beavers have cut down and stripped the bark.
Not to worry, with hundreds of wild willow saplings still in the marsh the beavers will have plenty of food for the winter and material for their building projects. I love these guys!!
More deer pics? Yes, but there's a good reason--TWO young males wandered into the yard. I rarely see male Whitetails, so seeing two together is an event! The antlers are small indicating these deer are probably yearlings. Perhaps these are the twins from last year.
Male Whitetails reach sexual maturity at about 1.5 years, or their second fall. The mating season , or rutting, begins in November and is hard on the guys. They lose weight because all their energy is spent fighting with competitors, chasing females, and mating with as many as possible.
I hope these two shrub-eating machines don't wander to another territory so I can see them with bigger antlers every year. Who knows? Maybe I'll see their twins next spring.
Grabbed a pic of this little chipmunk perched on top of the cat statue on the front porch like he's saying, "I'm king of the yard!" OK, but just wait until Rusty the cat comes around the corner. Now who's boss?
The neighborhood cats haven't been lurking around the yard much this year. As a result, there is a lot of Chipmunks in the yard. These two are foraging under the bird feeders and you can see their cheeks are puffed out, full of seeds.
Chipmunks have lots of natural enemies (cats, hawks, and even Herons) so despite the glut of them early in the summer, they'll be far fewer in a couple of months.
Twins!! Today was the first time I've seen a doe bring her fawns to the yard--and twins, no less!! They look very young so this might be their first outing but they didn't act like it. Usually new fawns stick close to their mothers until they gain confidence, but these two were running up and down the yard, leaping and playing. I think Mother Doe will have her hooves full with these two imps!!
Happy New Year! Every New Year’s and Fourth of July I rant about people setting off fireworks nearby which threatens homes and frightens pets, wild animals, and birds. However, this was the worst New Year’s ever for fireworks and for the first time, these dangerous nuisances were set off on my street.
Why does this upset me? Here in Georgia, fireworks that shoot into the air are illegal (except for licensed professional displays) and with good reason. The potential for injury and property damage is great, especially when they are set off in neighborhoods where houses are close together. According to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks were responsible for over 17,000 fires in 2011, and over 8,700 emergency room visits in 2012.
Yes, I’m afraid an errant rocket or falling ash will burn down my house but it’s more than that. When fireworks are booming and flashing, I think of the chipmunks and rabbits cowering in their burrows, the birds and squirrels quaking in trees, and frightened deer believing they are being pursued by an army of hunters. When I hear my neighbor’s dog barking and see my cats hiding under furniture in fear, I think of terrified stray animals that have no one to comfort them. New Year’s a time to celebrate, but who says we have to do it by courting danger and frightening animals?
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Eagle Cam 2014 This camera streams the activities of the eagle nest located 110 feet up, in a tree on the grounds of the US FWS National Conservation Training Center in West Virginia.