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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Three dog weekend and deer video

Yesterday evening, we took a sunset hike. The setting sun revealed a dark silhouette of our nearby mountain range.
We were accompanied by THREE dogs, including our visiting Border Collie Mix.
She's staying with us for the weekend. She's a sweet rescue who loves to run with the boys in our pack. Although we have to be very careful because she guards all food from other dogs, we love having her with us!

This morning, K and I headed out for a mountain bike ride, a short one because K has had an upset tummy. Here, she explored an aspen grove with that nasty blue muzzle covering her snout. I padded it where it was hurting her nose so, although she still hates the muzzle, it isn't rubbing her nose raw. I think that K's fear issues, usually hidden well below the surface, make her dislike a muzzle much more than other dogs. R barely seems to notice his.
After our short ride, I headed out on my own, noticing the inexorable advance of autumn. I'm not ready for that transition so I focused on the flowers still blooming. A brown-eyed Susan glowed in an oasis of moist green growth within a pine forest.
And, gentians opened their flowers to soak up the sun's rays. These amazing flowers can open and close their blossoms very quickly depending on whether it's sunny or cloudy. That trick might explain why they thrive in the wildly vacillating autumn weather. It was literally freezing yesterday morning but the air warmed to 75°F this afternoon. We're all soaking up the warmth!
At the end of my ride, I discovered that a Mule Deer Duo visited one of my trail cameras posted deep in a pine forest. I've been curious about why the deer frequent this area. The ground is mostly a carpet of pine needles with little food for a deer. So, I checked the exact spots where I'd seen the deer nibbling in past videos, and I discovered that they're eating mushrooms. Just the bottom of the stalks remain, barely visible down in the earth. Maybe these deer are 'shroomers just like my dogs!

In the video, be sure to notice that the deer in the background is busy rubbing her head against a tree. Does anyone know if deer scent-mark trees this way? Or, does the deer just have an itch? Also, look at the size of their telescoping ears!

What I love about these videos, even of common animals like deer, is that I get to see the animals acting naturally (not fleeing from humans) and I get to see them very closeup. Look at the details of the deer ears that you can see in the video!

I've learned a lot about which animals use various trails through my trail cameras. I intended for this camera to capture images of animals walking along a well-packed animal trail that runs toward the camera along a contour of the slope. I'm discovering that deer rarely use the prominent trails, like the one in the video. Rather, the deer go straight up and down the hillside, using their own less obvious paths. In this case, I didn't even notice the deer path that crosses the well-packed trail when I chose my camera site. Now that I see the deer traffic on my camera, the deer path is obvious to me.

It's also interesting to know that a mountain lion killed a mule deer within 50 yards of this site in January. I'd love to get footage of a lion hunting here - I suspect that more dominant animals, like lions and bears, use the well-packed trail.

Learning about wildlife mainly involves learning to "see" the forest through fresh eyes. I miss so much (like the deer path in sight of my camera) because I don't always truly "see" my surroundings.


  1. I notice every flower too, some sense of holding on to summer. Our weather is much like yours! Every day there are obvious changes. I knot that deer will rub their antlers on trees.. not sure about other reasons.

  2. Great pics of the mountains and the khanine trio -

    As for the video, oh my! Those ears are something else!

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. The sunset silhouette picture is so beautiful... as are the flower photos - amazing how flowers, animals survive... or not. Thanks for looking at that bird pic - wish I knew what happened? The deer duo vid is amazing - you can see all the furs inside the ears of the one in front! How did you know they were eating mushrooms? And I think you "read" your forest beautifully!
    xo Sammie and Mom and the gang

  4. As usual we love your post- the pics, wildlife, K & R, - feels like we are there too!

  5. Those ears must be specially made to pick up sounds for miles! The darker ear hair pattern is interesting. You'd expect the inside of the ear to be all one color.

  6. Did you see the big tree about the middle where there seems to be movement? Probably just the wind blowing things, but it shadows almost like a people!

    Cheers and hugs,

    Jo and Stella

  7. wow, great shots and video. Love the picture of you guys posing
    Benny & Lily

  8. Great video. With stags in Scotland I'd always been taught that antler rubbing was a territorial thing. There again that was Scotland!

  9. Beautiful footage of the deer. Their ears are HUGE! Glad you're enjoying the remaining flowers :)

    Waggin at ya,

  10. Hi KB, I notice that R & Visitor Dog are looking at something to the side (maybe your husband?) while sweet K only has eyes for you! Those Mule Deer have BIG swivel ears, for sure! I love the flower pics. Hot here in Denver today - I did walk about 7 miles, though (to brunch and back!).

  11. I've heard of bucks marking scents with antler rubs, but I don't know about does. My dad might know, if I remember to ask him.

    I love that picture of the trio! I can understand K's reservations about the muzzle.


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