Yesterday was a pretty productive day as far as wildlife goes. Once I finished writing my blog for the day, I did some household stuff like laundry, make the bed, clean the air conditioner filters, deadhead some wildflowers, then did a couple hours work for church studying some Bible school curriculum for which I get paid and some committee work which was a gift. Now it is time to go grocery shopping. None of this sounds very promising, does it. I didn't think so either.
You are wrong, as was I.
It started with a chipmunk under my car.
He refused to move until I started the car. Boy, then he almost flew up the sidewalk.
I think I have written here before that I have a mostly gravel driveway that is almost a mile long. It goes around a hay field, through the woods, through another hayfield, between two ponds then out onto a highway. This usually gives plenty of space for sightseeing.
Today, this is what I saw through my dirty front windshield:
The new family stepped out of our hay field onto the road before Mom Turkey noticed the big blue car slowly rolling down the road. I stopped the car, turned off the motor and waited while she patiently yelped at least ten fuzzy babies across the road and into the weeds.
From that point the trip became uneventful. I went to Marietta, worked through my grocery list at Giant Eagle, (plenty of wildlife there, but no real eagles) and left town as quickly as I could. As usual, I turned down Waverly Road, a barely blacktopped rough country road that follows the Ohio River. The hillside is continually trying to do its job of sliding into the River in order to deliver West Virginia top soil down to the Mississippi Delta. I love Waverly Road. Early this spring I posted a couple days of photos of Ohio River Flooding as I drove along the road. Today as the road led me past the Williamstown Wetlands I cast a quick glance over to the painted turtles. At this point in my trip my camera goes into my right hand, the window goes down and I listen, slowly proceeding under outstretched tree limbs, beside hay fields, past country homes, some with manicured lawns, some surrounded by farm equipment and one surrounded by a wonderful flower garden that seems to appear overnight around May 15. It just as suddenly disappears the morning after our first frost.
Today my vigilance paid off as what I think is a Red-shouldered hawk flew from the woods and circled a nearby field. (I have just edited this entry to identify this as Red-shouldered, thanks to Richard of At the Water and Run Around Ranch)
Thrilled? yes I was.
Finally the hawk disappeared into the far trees and I moved on.
The final show came as I drove up our hill. Ahead of me, in the road two young groundhogs were pretty much just "hanging out" soaking up a little sunshine and cleaning their toes. They quickly disappeared into the hillside where I stopped, turned off the car and waited with my camera lens trained on an opening under a tree's trunk.
It wasn't too long.
See that nose? If not, enlarge the photo and, like me, you will see the groundhog peeking out from its hillside home.
What a great day. As most photographers know, cars make great blinds.
I am featuring these books by Julie Zickefoose and her husband Bill Thompson, III. Julie is a fantastic writer who paints wonderful accompanying watercolors. Bill is the editor of Birdwatcher's Digest, THE premier birdwatching magazine. He has a new book about butterflies and hummingbird. My favorite, though is my personal inspiration, Julie's Letters From Eden: A Year at the Home, in the Woods. We share a grocery store as well as an interest in nature.