Grant says the mystery crop on the far hill is corn.

If someone hadn’t pointed it out, I would have completely overlooked the fact that mid-Summer is upon us. Meaning that this very strange year is almost half over! But maybe it’s not just all the weirdness of this year that has me confused.

Our Winter dragged and while I personally didn’t mind, it probably contributed to the perceived difference in wildlife behaviour this year.

We began to wonder if our resident ground hogs had moved away, but Mother Nature kept decorating with icicles, the bushes surrounding their dens.

They emerged finally but seemed a lot less active than last year. So we thought.

Then, low and behold, 6 pups came skipping out one day.

We looked forward to watching them grow.

But no.

The following day, we saw just one pup.

He appeared to be annoying mother by following her as she went off to wherever it is she goes, – up the driveway.

She brought Junior back and gave him a telling-off by making her tail go round in circles. That’s how we interpreted it, anyway. Off she went again.

A bit later she re-appeared and was less than motherly to her small child. Next day, he was gone.

Apparently ground hogs are weaned at 44 days, and they go off on their own at about 2 months.

But that was the last we saw of the babies, which, according to the Internet, should be in and out of the den for a couple of weeks at least. We wondered what had happened.

Then yesterday this tiny chap turned up.

He’s very small. Runt of the litter? Late arrival?

He is still around today…playing in the driveway.

So we are a little confused about ground hog behavior. “Ours” anyway.

Then there’s all those birds.

For sure, it makes a difference that there is no longer a cat out there waiting for them.

Word went out, apparently on the Bird Wide Net.

There was a big bird pow-wow in my trees at the beginning of March, a meeting of all the minds and voices. Neither of us had ever heard anything like it.

Presumably that’s when they decided who was to go where and they decided, more of less, on a “roster”.

Or something like that.

We got a token Grosbeak couple. After two days, they bogged off, and not long after, we were graced with the company of Mr and Mrs Oriole.

I was so excited.

I had never even seen an Oriole before.

“We must buy oranges!” I said.

Fat lot of good that did.

Next day, they were gone.

We were just a transit stop, apparently.

Some night creature apparently enjoyed the oranges however, and I found out eventually that they are very much to the liking of possums.

I was able to just catch sight of one, tucking in to a piece of orange one night.

He’s a very neat creature. He peels away the rind and leaves it for the ants, that seem very keen. No doubt they wish possum would leave more juicy bits for them.

I told Grant he ought to prepare the oranges to avoid having peel all over the grass. No, that’s “silly.”

He just cuts them into 16 pieces. “So everyone can have some”. He’s in league with the ants.

Meanwhile, Mr Possum doesn’t come out in daylight, so I have provided a photograph of the boy who lived at my place back in Washington.

They look approximately the same. That one was fairly new at the time. After a while, they tend to look a bit battered. Poor things.

I love possums.

Then, our token Towhee turned up.

Still all alone.

Although, I have no way of knowing if there are, in fact, two and that they just come to feed separately.

As far as I know the female looks similar.


…Mrs Grosbeak, who suddenly showed up again.

Supposedly she must have laid her eggs and left her hubby to sit on them while she stuffs her beak with seed.

I guess she goes back and regurgitates while Mr. looks on. Women’s work is never done.

Just this morning, or maybe it was yesterday, all days are beginning to run together, anyway…

In the past two days, He was back as well. In fact they were together, so their wee ones must have fledged.

That was fast.

Actually, “It” says that the eggs hatch in 2 weeks, then father Grosbeak cares for the fledglings while mum makes another nest. Like I said…women’s work…

I’m no ornithologist (you may have guessed) but I think these are baby doves.

Based on the fact that they are small and the flock is suddenly a whole lot more numerous.

And I believe these two are fledglings also, though who, I really can’t say.

We’ll call them black, and leave it at that.

Tiny Red has taken up residence in a pine tree. In fact I think there are two Tiny Red’s, unless he’s got two nests, because there seems to be another over by the garage.

He is less than half the size of a regular squirrel.

Keeping up with this lot as well as the “garden” and 12 cats is exhausting. No wonder I am confused.

And I didn’t even have to blame Grant.

7 thoughts on “Midsummer

  1. I am amazed at the amount of wildlife that you have around you. You are so lucky to have found such a beautiful place. It seems perfect to me. I love these pictures today.

  2. I love your photos of all the birds and animals you have around you. And the photos of the country around you are beautiful. I live north of Seattle and think our countryside is beautiful, but your seem to have many more birds.

    1. Thank you Meredith. I lived South of Seattle for 18 years. When I moved to the house in Auburn I had a decent piece of property with a bit of woods and I had quite a few birds there including briefly a quail which was beautiful. But I was not far from i5 and 167 and before long the building began all around. That was the main reason I decided to move back to NY. I loved the mountains out there but I admit I was nervous of Mt Rainier which was quite close and the fires in 2017 really disturbed me. We got a lot of smoke from Oregon and during those long dry Summers, I could see us going up in smoke ourselves. Evacuating with all the cats I had…so there were many reasons, but I do love the PNW. I have a cousin on Vancouver Is. Beautiful there too. Took my dad to the tulips once, are you up that way?

  3. Lovely post, really enjoyed it. But I have a confession. I loathe possums.
    Here in my Australian garden they are huge monsters that bullied my ancient cat when we came here. She spent the last few years of her life reluctant to go outside without company. All night long they jump off the trees THUMP onto the roof then race along, sounds like the Grand National. They crap and pee all over the driveway and the paving at the front door. No point in moving them on. They were here first. It’s a habitat niche and they are happy little possums. Once we had a ring-tail possum, so delicate and pretty, but the monsters moved it on. Ah well. We also get bird wars in spring. Last year it was kookaburras vs magpies. Magpies won. Currawongs sat that war out. They’ve won most often over the last 20 years. Habitat change in these climate change times?
    Isn’t it good to have a garden with wildlife?

    1. Thank you, Max and I understand completely why you are not a fan of badly behaved possums. In Thailand we had rats in the roof that ran trotting races all night! Our possums seem milder mannered and this year we’ve really only seen the one I call Mrs Plod. She turned up one day a complete bag of bones and she appreciated the oranges that were on offer. She has trouble getting to the pulp, so these days I peel them for her. She is old, obviously, and almost completely blind. I think you would not mind her. I remember lots of noisy birds in Australia! A wonderful country that I have seen too little of. Yes, wildlife is wonderful!

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