Frogs are ubiquitous around here, but rarely hold still enough for me to get a good photo.

I continue to spot new critters at my place. July 4th this year was my second anniversary at this home, and even after two years I am pretty sure I haven’t seen them all. Last year my favourite animal sightings included vultures outside my office window, a coyote circling the chicken pen, and a small herd of Roosevelt Elk.

Here are some of my photo captures from year two.

I spotted this handsome boy sitting in my driveway one morning.
Who me? Yes you. I watched him several mornings in a row, hopping around, tasting things from my garden.
It occurred to me that this rabbit probably looked like a tasty morsel to someone in the forest, and I began making plans to trap it and keep it. I was too late and never saw him again.
In early summer I spotted a flash of colour in my new peach tree.
It is difficult to focus on an object on the far side of a bunch of branches. But I got a photo clear enough to identify him as a Western Tanager. I’ve seen one before, but not this close.
If my quick internet search is right, this is a male praying mantis, making his way up the side of my house.
This photo was taken through rippling water with my phone camera, but I hope you can still make out the crawdad. Yes! There are crawdads in my creek!
The hooded mergansers have returned to my pond. They must be winter visitors, since I haven’t seen them all summer.
I love their goofy-shaped heads and red eyes. These ducks are a delight to me.
This chestnut-backed chickadee had no choice but to hold still for a photo, after flying headfirst into my window. I carried the little dude to a sheltered spot under a fern so he could wait for the stars to clear from his head and fly off.
I’ve been watching these tiny bark-loving birds for a long time but didn’t get a photo till now.
In this photo I was finally able to capture enough detail to identify a Brown Creeper as it whips around and around the tree, gouging the bark and looking for tasty things.
While mowing the lawn I spotted a turtle on the tiny island in my pond. I snapped a quick, blurry shot with my phone.
A couple days later I spotted it again, and brought my real camera. But the turtle was wise to me and hopped right into the water. And you thought YOU didn’t like photos taken of you…look at this grumpy face!

20 thoughts on “Critters

  1. Sounds like your life is a lot like ours, Crystal, given how much time we spend admiring the wildlife that considers our property “home.” That rabbit definitely looked like the escaped domestic type. And I’ll bet that a coyote would have considered it prime dinner! 🙂 –Curt

    1. Yup, those were my thoughts exactly, about the rabbit. You know, in the time I’ve been here, I never take the wildlife for granted. I am still struck with awe when I spot the creatures out here. Even the deer, that come by every single day. I know you guys continue to appreciate your wildlife too, because it keeps showing up in your posts.

      1. My writing chair faces out on our backyard where I can pretty much guarantee some type of wildlife presence 24/7. 🙂 The drawback, Crystal, is that it can interfere with my writing! –Curt

      2. And for me, gazing out the window from my home office, I get distracted from doing my job. Once I ran outside during a training call (we call in remotely) to chase a deer away from eating the corn in the birdfeeder! So yes, I know exactly what you mean. 😉

    1. Oh yes! I plan on a lot more years of watching. My neighbors spotted a cougar earlier this year, and now I’m hoping for the day when I see one. It’s probably the only wild animal I’m afraid of, but I think they are beautiful and I hope I see one some day.

    1. You are so right! It is one thing to spot critters, but another to take their photo. I miss them sometimes just because I’m so captivated I forget about cameras…but I think that’s a good reason to miss a shot. I often have my camera right at my home office desk, because I see so much out the window in front of me. I really love working at home and being able to watch the patterns of the animals around me. Patterns due to season, and patterns due to time of day. It’s helping me to bond with my land.

  2. I’m with Derrick! I cannot believe that it has been two years!
    Then I think of all that has happened … including the devastation of 45 and two years seems about right.
    This is such a fun post, Crystal. I love that you are surrounded by this variety of critters AND that you take the time to noice and photograph them.
    By the way, I thought of you the other day when I visited the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Maggie Valley, NC.

    1. I love that you thought of me at the Cherokee museum! 2017 has been a good Cherokee year for me. I am feeling more a part of that community than ever.

      The variety of critters does surprise me. Individually, I can evaluate each one and think that it makes sense to find that one in the forest. But collectively! What a group to share my daily life with. It makes me assume I have been missing the variety of life in all my environments. Yes, the photography part is a challenge, as you know. Spotting something wonderful is only part of the story, because inevitably the camera is nowhere around, or the wrong lens is on and by the time you switch it the animal is gone, or you think you got great photos and then you look at them later and everything’s blurry. I have increased respect for professional photographers after my own photography experiences. Just think of how often they must say to themselves, “Drat! This would have been the perfect photo except for…”

  3. What as amazing oasis you have for all these critters. That Western Tanager is so beautiful. I had never seen a hooded merganser before I went to New Zealand last December. Had no idea what they were until I looked them up. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    1. Yes, the Western Tanager is remarkable. And for me, it seems an especially unexpected burst of tropical colour out here in the woods. I think the Hooded Mergansers are a great-looking bird, with their funny shaped heads and mohawks, ha ha. It’s neat that they live in New Zealand too.

      Thanks for stopping by my oasis.

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