30 June 2016

Baby Robins

Back on June 17th I found a robin's nest in my grape vines. I decided to document the hatching of the new baby robins.

No activity in the nest until June 25th when the first chick hatched. The small chick must have been only hours old and was unable to move its head from between the other two eggs.

By the afternoon of the first day the chick was able to move its head. There are visible cracks on the egg on the right.

By the morning of June 26th a second chick has hatched.

June 27th and the third egg still hasn't hatched but both of the other chicks were able to hold their heads up and request food. Both chicks are now much larger than the third egg.

Another day and the first two chicks have grown rapidly and the first signs of pin feathers can be seen on the tips of the wings. The third egg still hasn't hatched and the first two chicks are now big enough to cover the egg.

It's now 5 days since the first chick hatched and it's not looking good for the third egg. The first two chicks are turning darker as they develop more pin feathers.

28 June 2016

Don't Let Turtles Play in a Road !

I found this Eastern Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta) in Joyce Road near the driveway to our barn. The turtles are laying their eggs this time of year and his turtle must have just laid its eggs since it has fresh mud on the back of its shell.

We've had a couple of turtle/vehicle collisions in this section of road during the past week and the turtles are not winning. If you see a turtle in a road please move it to a safe location off the road.

Shoo, Fly, Don't Bother Me

The warm weather is here and so are the flying insects. The local deer, and other livestock, are having a hard time avoiding the flies.

27 June 2016

Exploring the Neighborhood

I went up to our barn this morning and found these two fawns scoping out the property. As I watched the two fawns, they looked into the upper level of the barn and then moved to the lower level "courtyard".

They then headed toward our garden, which is surrounded by an electric fence. They continued around to the back of the barn to complete a 360 around the barn.

They will start learning the layout of their home territory at an early age and build a mental map of the neighborhood as their explore. This exploring of the neighborhood will help them build predetermined escape routes to elude predators in the future.

25 June 2016

Fawn & Geese

This year's fawns are starting to explore the neighborhood and look for new friends to play with. While mowing the lawn at our cabin I noticed a fawn getting a drink from the pond as some of this year's geese were practicing their synchronized swimming... Or maybe the geese were sending a message to the fawn.

Just before this photo was taken, a flock of 16 geese were in the hay field catching bugs when this fawn ran out of the bushes at full speed and into the flock of geese scattering them. The geese are keeping their distance for this guy.

23 June 2016

Wildflower - Carolina Rose

The Carolina Rose (Rosa carolina), also known as a pasture rose, are starting to bloom in the neighborhood. The Carolina Rose is a shrub in the rose family native to eastern North America.

The Carolina Rose is a small, scrambling shrub with 2" wide-open single blooms with five bright pink petals and stems with straight, needle-like thorns.

21 June 2016

Wildflower - Elderberry

The blossoms of the Common Elderberry (Sambucus nigra canadensis) are just starting to open on the bushes in our neighborhood. The elderberry flowers are very small, less than 1/4 inch and form umbel-like panicles of flowers that span 3-10" across. Each of these small flowers in the flower cluster will form a small black/blue-black berry in the cluster. These berries are enjoyed by birds and other wildlife and also used to make jam and wine.

A close-up view of the flowers.

19 June 2016

Farmer Ants

I was checking my grape vines at the barn property and noticed some discolored leaves on a milkweed plant. After a closer inspection of the leaves I found the discolored area of the leaves were covered with aphids and some ants.

Ants and aphids share a well-documented relationship of mutualism. Ants feed on the sugary honeydew left behind by aphids. In exchange, the ants protect the aphids from predators and parasites. The aphids look to be positioned in rows lined up with the veins in the leaf.

Different leaves had different size aphids.

18 June 2016

Wildflower - Beardtongue

From a distance, the wildflower Beardtongue (Penstamon digitalis) looks like just another white wildflower. A closer look of this 1 inch long tubular flower will show fine lines of violet, which function as nectar guides to visiting insects. There is no floral scent to the flower. The Beardtongue flowers are named for the tuft of hairs on one of the stamens that lies on the bottom of the inside of the tubular flower, and looks a bit like a hairy tongue.

Beardtongue is native to the northeast and can grow to 3 or 4 feet tall.

17 June 2016

Another Fawn Encounter

It's getting to be a daily occurrence of encountering a fawn while I'm driving one of my farm tractors. Today I was driving the newer (but still old) John Deere 1050 tractor. I'm not sure if this is the same fawn as I photographed the day before, but the two sighting were in the same area of the cabin driveway. Maybe this fawn likes old John Deere tractors.

16 June 2016

Fawn Encounter

I'm putting in some wildlife plots and while I was making one of many trips from our cabin property to the barn on my old John Deere tractor, I spotted this fawn standing in the tall grass next to the cabin driveway.

I stopped the tractor to take some photos of the fawn and it continued to move closer to me. The fawn stopped within 15 feet of me in some tall goldenrod ...

The fawn soon changed direction and headed for the brush.

14 June 2016

My Chipmunk Friend

Over the past week I have acquired a new friend at our barn, a chipmunk. This little guy will come within a couple of feet to watch me work on equipment. I was working on a new piece of equipment in the "courtyard" area when I started to hear a gnawing sound. The chipmunk was perched 4 feet away on the wall and eating something as he watched.

He's now eating out of my hand.

It looks like he lost the tip of his tail in the past week.

He may be small, but he can stuff his cheeks with corn.

Back for more corn.

13 June 2016

Wildflower - Multiflora Rose

The multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora) is in bloom in our neighborhood, but the sweet fragrance of the masses of flowers mask the fiendish nature of this plant. The multiflora rose is native to Japan and Korea and was introduced in the U.S. as a "living fence". The characteristics that make it a good fence also make this invasive plant hard to control.

Unlike most other members of the rose family, the multiflora rose creates clusters of multiple flowers on each branch and the multiple flowers then create massive amounts of seed pods known as "rose hips". These rose hips are a sweet food source for wildlife which spread the seed and propagate the plant.

The multiflora rose plants are invasive and grow rapidly to take over fields and hedgerows. Here's a photo of a multiflora rose bush that is at least 20 feet high and and has enveloped a couple of trees.

12 June 2016

Eastern Painted Turtle

I had just finished working on a wildlife food plot on our cabin property and noticed this Eastern Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta) in the lawn. I often find turtles laying eggs in the lawn this time of year. This turtle must have finished laying the eggs and was taking a rest. There were several flies on the turtle's shell but I don't think the flies were having any luck penetrating the shell.

Some close-up views of the turtle:

10 June 2016


I was out walking through the tall grass around our cabin looking for newborn fawns when I walked upon this young woodchuck. This little guy appeared to be stunned and didn't move as I walked within 3 feet and took about 10 photos before it moved into the thick grass.

09 June 2016

Snails and Slugs

The weather turned cold and damp overnight and as I walked along a farm road behind our barn I noticed hundreds and hundreds of small snails in the lawnmower clippings along the road.

These snails were only 1/2 inches long and all over the old lawnmower clippings.

One good thing about photographing snails, they don't move fast.

Both snails and slugs are classified as gastropods and love to eat flowers and vegetable gardens. One of the main differences between snails and slugs is the external shell on snails.

I did find some slugs but they were outnumbered by the snails at about 50 snails to each slug.

07 June 2016

Fawn Hunting Success

I started today's fawn hunt by returning to yesterday's "hot-spot" near our cabin, but it looks like the fawns have found a new spot to hide. I was heading down the cabin driveway when I noticed a doe standing in some overgrown grass. As I approached the doe with my truck it quickly headed for the brush but I continued to see some movement in the tall grass. I stopped and watch the area and could see a small fawn slowly walk into a small clump of brush. I found the little guy in the center of the clump.

After a few minutes of inching closer for a better photo the fawn bolted from the brush and then walked slowly through the tall grass and bedded down about 25 yards from where it started. This time the fawn was in a more open area and I could get some better photo.

The fawn kept track of my location and soon let out a "bleat" and headed in the direction of its mother. I had got my photos and returned to my truck.

Hunting for Fawns

Judy Garland is attributed to the saying "The things you see when you don't have a gun"; In my case it was "The things I see when I don't have a camera". I was meeting with a pipeline construction crew at our cabin property when fawn approached within 30 feet of us, stopped and let out a "bleat" sound. I normally would have my camera in hand, but had left it in my truck. I slowly walked to my truck as the fawn watched and as soon as I got the camera, the fawn ran off... No pictures.

I returned a couple of hours later and started searching in the tall grass where I had last seen the fawn. Within 5 minutes I found this little guy in the thick grass. I took a few photos of the fawn but as I repositioned for a better camera angle the fawn ran into the brush.

Most deer give birth to two fawns so I continued my search in the area and within a few minutes I found fawn number 2 in more thick grass.

Knowing the fawn would most likely bolt from its "nest" in the grass, I set my camera for continuous shooting (just hold the button and it keeps shooting). The fawn took off as predicted and I was able to get this shot of the fawn as it made its get-away.