Monday, May 17, 2010

First Fawn

I saw the first fawn this morning while washing dishes.  I noticed a group of six deer browsing in dense fog above the orchard.  One pair of ears barely cleared the tall grass.  When those ears passed into a clear spot, a small, white-spotted body revealed itself as connected.  One by one, 3 does and a yearling buck walked up to sniff the fawn and gently nudge it.  If they spent more than a few seconds near the small one, another doe would charge and chase them back a short distance.

The protective doe must be the new mother.  In the last week, I've noticed a doe frequently browsing in the crepuscular hours near a clump of oaks on the hill above the barn, and suspected she might have fawns stashed there.  On Saturday evening, I spooked a doe on the hill when I came swinging around the barn.  She dashed off, stopped and looked over her shoulder.  I slipped behind the next corner of the barn and peeked around to watch her crouch-sneak back to the oaks, but couldn't see what was happening beneath their thick foliage.

In March and April, the deer had rough coats as they shed their winter gray for a reddish spring pelt.

Black-tailed deer usually have twins, so there may have been another fawn hidden in the tall grass or maybe its introduction to the herd is waiting for another quiet morning.  So far, no photos of the fawn.

Birds are clearly nesting too.  I watched a pair of ash-throated flycatchers carry bugs to a wooden fence post near the front gate.  The next day I found half of a small, light blue eggshell on the other side of the gate.  Ash-throated flycatcher eggs are buffy colored with dark brown and lavender blotches.  Doesn't that sound lovely?  So there is more than one kind of bird nesting at this gateway to the other world.

From the nest, the flycatcher sallies out into a bug-rich grassland/shrubland edge.

A co-worker told me she lets the birds show her their nests.  By listening and watching quietly, she will notice if a pair of birds is repeatedly hopscotching their way to the same tree/bush/grass destination with twigs or bugs in their beaks, and that usually means a nest is nearby.  Last year, I noticed the ash-throated flycatchers had a strategy for trading places at their cavity nest in the backyard buckeye tree.  One bird would land in a nearby tree, and with insect in beak would give a trilling call which resulted in the other bird flying out of the nest and clearing the way for the delivery of a new meal.  Every five minutes or so, I would hear the same call, and the changing of the guard would repeat.  I foresee many weekends of quiet weeding in the backyard watching the young ones get introduced to the rest of the summer world.

1 comment:

  1. Cindy, I'm just discovering your blog and really enjoying it. I will be making frequent visits!


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