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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Wildlife From My Car

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.


Sandra said...

you lead the most interesting life, all that wildlife is amazing. like the little groundhog peaking out. and the mama turkey with her brood is a sight never seen by me.

Betty Manousos@ Cut and Dry said...


i love wildlife! i wish i could live there!

and thanks for following CUT AND DRY.
following your lovely blog right back!

have a great weekend!

Richard said...

Think that may be a Red-shouldered Hawk judging from the red shoulders and tail stripes. Coopers don't have that many tail rings.

texwisgirl said...

i was going to say red-shouldered hawk too. they're our most prevalent hawk here so i see lots of them. they're beautiful!

Beyond My Garden said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beyond My Garden said...

Thanks guys. I have done some quick editing. Notice the link to your blogs.

Home In The Hollow said...

First of all, THANKS for visiting the Hollow, and second, how in the world did you get all those critters to sit still long enough to take the pictures????...:)JP

NCmountainwoman said...

What a great outing and you didn't even have to leave the car. Lucky you.

Heather said...

That's so nice you have all that wildlife!

Anne McCormack said...

Beautiful photo of the hawk! The chipmunk story made me laugh. I have them too and even though they're busy plowing through my garden right now, I always get a kick out of seeing one.

Kathy said...

That groundhog picture is just too cute!

Linda@ Lime in the Coconut said...

Wowza...Now If a giraffe walked by and smiled at you I might just keel over!


Karen said...

What an amazing array of wildlife and all viewed from your car! It's amazing what we can see if we just take the time to slow down and observe, isn't it? Too often, I get caught up in the hustle and bustle and forget to appreciate the life going on around me. You've got some wonderful photos here, the groundhog is cute!

S. Etole said...

what a great variety of wildlife!

Cynthia White said...

Super photos -just love it :)

Rose said...

I would have been thrilled with all the wildlife, too!

Denise said...

Super capture of all that wildlife. A nice variety too.

SquirrelQueen said...

How exciting! You have some great wildlife in your area, I love your shots of the hawk.

Jeanne Klaver said...

I enjoyed scrolling through your blog. Your photos are amazing! Thank you for visiting my blog.

Leigh said...

Fantastic photos, especially of that hawk! What a treat.