Wednesday, February 8, 2012

February Nature Notes 2012

I smelled a skunk again today while walking with friends Ann and Peter and Kodi's friends Persica and Quercus. The odor was strong and in the same place that we smelled it a week ago today. We kept walking and when Persica trotted past me I caught a whiff of skunk aroma. Oops, Persica must have rolled around near a skunk den as she was smelling a little skunky. I guess she'll spend the rest of the day outside!

What a beautiful full moon this week under clear night skies. According to the Farmer's Almanac, native tribes of the north called this the Full Snow Moon, because February was typically the month with the heaviest snowfall. My how times have changed. Anyway, around about 11 pm Tuesday night -- the full moon night -- when we were sound asleep, Kodi started barking. He kept on barking until I went downstairs to see what got him stirred up. I pulled up the shade and we both looked out the window into the moonlit front yard, just as three big deer bounded off down the road. Kodi barked at them until they disappeared and I pulled down the shade. The intruders were gone, Kodi curled up on the sofa, and I trotted off to bed again.

Deer are spending more time in our yard this winter than I remember in past years. And they look quite healthy. I assume they are having an easy winter given the lack of snow.

A few other uncommon visitors stopped by the yard and house today. A mature hawk perched in the sun in our yard for more than one and a half hours. Part way through her stay she turned her back to the sun. I'm fairly certain it was a female sharp-shinned hawk: broad chest, smallish head compared to size of the body. She was beautiful in her orange-barred breast and slate gray back. She was uninterested in the goldfinches at the nearby feeder. Maybe she had just eaten and was resting after lunch, which is literally when I saw her.

While I was vigorously stirring the batter of a lemon pound cake (delicious by the way) this afternoon, a tiny lady beetle appeared on the empty egg carton. I have not seen many Asian ladybugs this winter. Sometimes they appear in large numbers, but there was just the one today. I think she was enjoying the wonderful afternoon sun that pours into our kitchen. Or maybe she smelled the lemon cake. I'm fairly certain she did not land in the batter. Here she is crawling on the carton and then about to take wing. I assume she flew off to another corner of the house.

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