Sunday, February 8, 2009

Winter Wildlife

A lovely red fox wearing black stockings quickly walks in the field below the crabapple orchard, where often turkeys and other birds are feasting on apples. I am very thrilled to eye one of these beauties as they help keep rabbits, voles, mice and other rodents in check! More often I have witnessed gray fox in the gardens. It is a rare treat to get a glimpse of either of them. 

Birds in the crabapple orchards.

Pine Grosbeaks enjoying the tiny apples... unusual visitors here. The first sighting was winter 2007/2008. They do not seem to be around this year. The female has yellow ochre head and rump feathers, with mostly olive feathers over the rest of her body, as seen on the one in the crabapple tree above and just below. The male is more rose red on his head, breast and rump with grey blue along the sides of his breast... the pictures below show both tearing into the apples. They traveled in large flocks filling the orchard with color and song. One day when the wild turkeys showed up to claim their share of fruit the grosbeaks were spooked into a hurried flight so that at least one grosbeak flew into the window and was a bit dazed. I am careful to have objects dangling in the windows or placed in front of the windows to prevent bird fatalities. They were not afraid of me being very close to take their pictures.

Wild turkeys searching for  fallen crabapples. They leap up into the trees and are very comical teetering on the thin branches. I took these photos from inside looking out through a north facing window. Very shy creatures they are always on the watch for danger, often running and flying off into the tree tops along the forest edge, or simply departing single file leaving behind a long line of pointed arrow footprints.

On sunny days, when light touches the feathers of these birds their colors dazzle. They have beautiful hues, patterns and textures. 
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