I'm so glad you asked! Even though it tends to be rather slow, this is still an interesting time of year, wondering which of my little neighbors will decide to stay and who will venture elsewhere to seek their fortunes. There are always some new faces and those old friends I will never see again. But I feel most fortunate to have known each and every one of them!!
The deer are keeping a very low profile these days while the hunters continue to switch weapons and head back out to stalk them once again. Sometimes I will see a few late into the night, but they don't linger like they used to. Too dangerous to hold still for too long I suppose!
'The woodchuck who refused to hibernate' still makes a showing at the feeder, (as a matter of fact I just saw him a little while ago) but only every few days now. I imagine he is getting really sleepy but can't get the goose food off his mind and so he rouses himself every now and then to have a nosh. It will be very interesting to see how long he can keep it up before he falls into a deep, Nature- induced sleep that he won't be able to shake off to head out for a snack. Almost makes me want to deliver some to his door daily, if he is SO enamored of the stuff!!
Now that the leaves are gone from the trees the hawk can't sneak up on the birds as easily. And yet, a good many of the regulars are gone. Among those who stayed are the chickadees, the tufted titmice, and my favorite, the juncos, who only grace us with their delightful presence in the Winter months. They are such sweet natured little guys and I just love their voicesl. The blue jays have dwindled in numbers (thank goodness) but some of them have a real thing for the leftover dry cat food, and I doubt they will ever leave as long as it remains on the menu. I try to remember to bring the bowl in as soon as Remy (aka. the Stray Gourmet) is finished eating, but those jays are SO FAST that they usually beat me to it anyway!!
It's a lot of fun to keep an eye on the goose feeder from dusk until bedtime because you never know who will show up or in what order! The main characters these nights are the opossums, skunks and a couple of huge homegrown (on all that goose chow) raccoons. I like to sit in my easy chair in front of the slider door (with a birds eye view of the goings on) and either read or crochet. Some nights, each time I look up somebody different will be chowing down, as if they have a line formed somewhere just off stage, patiently waiting their turn. Other times somebody (usually the raccoons) will hog the feeder and I wonder if they will EVER leave!
Just the other night I watched as two ravenous raccoons shoveled it down. When one of them finally had his fill, he climbed up to the heated water pan and had a drink. But then, he washed his little front paws, rubbing them together briskly just like we do, before he left to find his partner in crime who had wandered off a few minutes earlier. It was adorable!! I never caught one doing that before and was so glad I happened to look up at just the right moment.
A few nights ago I saw another unusual sight. Two raccoons AND a skunk all eating at the goose feeder at the same time. I am happy to report that the skunk was VERY well behaved and kept his tail down the entire time, and the raccoons hardly took notice of the little stinker at all!!
Sometimes my geese will chase the intruders away by hissing loudly and nipping at them, yet at others they will form a single file line and just look on longingly and allow whoever to continue eating their food. I feel sorry for them, and keep telling them it's theirs and they can share or chase away anyone they choose. But they have to fight for themselves, I'm not going to do it for them. Since its pretty much the same players on a regular basis, I would love to know how they decide to handle the situation; who gets to eat today and who will be run off. My absolute favorite though is when I see any of my woodland neighbors and one or more of my geese peacefully sharing the food together. That is most heartwarming!!!
The bear hasn't attacked the feeders in quite some time now. I don't know if he is hibernating at last or if it's all the plastic bottles filled with moth balls that is keeping him away. But either way at least he isn't reeking any more havoc out there!
So I guess that is about it. Our visitors might be a little on the light side just now, but I will keep a sharp eye out and report any interesting events as they occur. In the meantime, I am happy to say all is well on this my very own little Nature preserve