Monday, July 13, 2009

The backyard neighbors 2009

One thing I'm liking about the new house is our backyard neighbors. There are none (at least not the two legged mammalian variety). I make it a habit now to look out the back every time I'm near a window and I always manage to spot some new beast. Lately it's been a pile of deer that used to only show up in the morning and then at dusk, but lately they wander by at all hours. The picture at the left is an 11x zoom from my kitchen balcony. At the lower right is a regular view with Mr deer exploded out (so it's still pretty far when they stick to the middle of the field).

I can't get very close to them because the birds rat me out the second I try to leave my backyard (must be some memorandum of understanding between the bird and deer union). This past winter we had a family of beavers right in back of us which were fun to watch. During any kind of thaw they'd come out and chop down a pile of trees and go back inside. One of my neighbors trashed their dam because he was afraid they'd drop a tree on his house and they just kinda left. I was a bit disappointed. I thought they'd be more tenacious than that and just cut down more trees to build the dam back up again (and maybe drop a tree on his house after all) but they left for greener pastures. I think they just relocated up the creek a few hundred meters. Now we have two muskrats living in the beaver dam. They are pretty shy and I haven't managed to take a picture of them yet.

One weird backyard neighbor we have is a gopher that lives under our porch. Just to put the next photo in perspective, we have a ravine lot with walk in entrance to our basement. One day we found a gopher on our balcony with his nose up against the glass sliding door looking into the kitchen. He had climbed up to the 2nd story balcony for some reason. he hung around for awhile and then climbed back down. He's done it other times because we can see nose prints at the bottom of the glass. I think he's casing the joint.

He's got a cousin that lives under this hunk of farmer junk out back. There's some sort of metal cylinder out there and this gopher hops up and sits there all day sunning. I guess he can see better from on top of this thing and likes it because no one can sneak up on him (like me).

Then there's the wild turkeys. Up until a few years ago, I didn't believe these things existing in Ottawa. I'd been out in the bush a lot and had never seen any until a co-worker told me about them and I managed to spot some by the side of the road a few weeks later. The males appear to be quite huge. Still, I'm amazed the coyotes I hear at night haven't rounded them up and eaten them(they must be too fattened up on rabbits and bunnies to care).

I was in the back shutting off my pool the other night and I almost stepped on a raccoon that was nosing about my deck. He treed himself and gave me dirty looks until I left.

He's one of those new neighbors I still have to get pictures of!

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