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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Little Orange Riding Hood

When we had our first dusting of snow last week, I noticed a very active animal trail with a variety of tracks on it. So, I staked it out with a remote wildlife camera and caught photos of some traffic on it last night.

First, a mule deer doe moved through fast. Sorry about the blurriness - I might have the camera too close to the animal trail to get clear photos. Trail camera placement is a tricky skill to master.
Then, a rabbit froze in front of the camera.
Then, a bobcat sauntered through, doubtless interested in the scents of the rabbit and the deer.
When you compare the size of the bobcat and the mule deer both in the same camera view like the photos above, it is almost unfathomable that bobcats can kill deer. But, numerous sources say that it has been observed. Wildlife biologists believe that bobcats try to sneak up on sleeping deer and pounce on their necks, attempting to deliver a killing bite that severs the spinal cord before the deer starts moving. This plan does not always work - and there are multiple reports of people seeing fleeing deer with bobcats clinging to their necks.

On the rare occasion when a bobcat does kill a deer, it covers the body with debris and eats it over the course of numerous days, attempting to fight off scavenging coyotes and other carnivores. However, the primary foods for bobcats are rabbits, squirrels, and other rodents - not deer.

It's funny - when I head out into the woods each morning, I look at the world very differently now that I have my secret view of the animals' lives via my wildlife cameras. I notice little details, like a scraping in the dirt, and wonder who left those marks. Often, I end up pointing a wildlife camera at a spot that accumulates markings on numerous nights to learn the answers to my questions.

This morning, K and I wandered out for our very short hike. She meticulously examined each bush, tree branch, and scraped spot on the ground. I could tell which ones were likely most important because she peed a reply.

We arrived in our meadow, and the wind caught her orange bandanna and flipped it up, making her Little Orange Riding Hood for Halloween-eve.
K and I saw lots of what I call "snowberries" on our little hike. I don't know the real name for these plants because I always notice them after all their leaves are gone, allowing their tiny white berries to be on full display.
As we passed through the agility course on our way home from our hike, K insisted on placing her paws on a ramp. Notice the leash is still attached - otherwise, I was afraid that she'd insist on negotiating the whole thing!
K's spirits have been SO amazing and resilient during this whole ordeal of recovering from tendon surgery. She watches R go with me mountain biking, and, if she has a kong to work on, she doesn't act sad about it. The only thing that she cannot handle is watching me take R for a long evening walk without her. Even a frozen kong can't pacify her. I can hear her howling and crying from a half mile away. So, I don't leave her alone to exercise R in the evening anymore. Soon enough, we'll all be doing longer hikes together.

This morning, to my utter amazement, I felt good enough to ride my bike with R. I had a nasty virus yesterday and lost 5 lbs in one day! But, it was a one-day thing, and I've already bounced back. During our ride, we headed up to Hug Hill where R fruitlessly searched for rodents.
I attempted, in vain, to explain to him that they'd all gone into hibernation.
He didn't believe me. So it goes in the world of an OCD dog who includes rodents among his obsessions. But, I love him anyway.
One last piece of news - the fire is 70% contained, and all evacuees have been allowed to return home. Thank goodness! Now I think that it's time for our brown meadows to be painted white with snow like the towering peaks in the distance to finally put this endless fire season to rest.


  1. Great camera work!

    Sorry about the bug but glad to see you are feeling better!

    Happy Halloween Eve!

  2. Glad the fire was contained so quickly (as was your virus). Our fire ratings are all high here at the moment, so we are eagerly awaiting the first snowfall (already late by most year's standards).

  3. 5 lbs. in one day is indeed a very bad illness!

    I look at all the new tracks or this or that too. Fun. But snow really shows who went by. I remember that with each first snow. Or when fall leaves fall and we can see all the nests in the trees. There are treasures with each season. I am glad you are feeling better.

  4. I'm glad the fire is receding. It must be nerve wracking during fire season! I'm glad you enjoyed my pumpkin. When I decided I wanted something relating to dogs, I knew a greyhound or whippet would be too challenging. They're just too thin. The wolf was fun, and I was glad it turned out the way I wanted. As usual, I really enjoyed your wildlife camera photos, and those of the dogs. I assume you use Infrared cameras, right? The information you get from them is so interesting! Stay safe out there. Our leaves are probably just now peaking, as we're still having some fairly warm days here (60 degrees today.) It's so pretty this time of the year, I wish the fall leaves would last longer. I'm sure ours will be gone soon too. Happy weekend to you and yours!

  5. Hope that bug stays away - that is a lot of body fluids gone in so short a time. Feel better.

    Little Orange Riding Hood looks great - we look forward to the unveiling of the paw.

    Happy Howloween.

    Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

  6. One day I will have to tell you about the bobcat who tried to get our chickens!


  7. R, Morgan doesn't believe they're ever gone, either! Keep hope alive! ;)

    Okay, the runner caught it in the bag? I bow to his finesse and talent, as well as your ability to tell a story with so much animation that people wouldn't even notice! I laughed so hard at that!

  8. Hi KB
    Thank goodness the fire is getting contained, and we hope it stays that way.
    Those nasty virus, can sure be a pain, but sounds like you kicked it out the door.
    Little Orange Riding Hood looks very charming in her outfit.
    Hopefully R did not spend all day trying to find the sleeping rodents.
    We love the wildlife camera shots.
    I would be addicted if we had one of those cameras.

  9. All three of you look ready for Halloween!!!

    I relate the your wondering of scrapings on the ground. Do you know if deer actually scrape large areas with their hooves? The scrapings are new to my woods and have me wondering.

  10. I am always amazed at those night shots. i wonder if the animals sense or smell the camera. It is so neat to see them going about their normal business.

    Glad the fires are contained and that you are feeling better.

    Your pal, Pip

  11. I heard on the news that your fire was 70% contained and covered nearly 150 acres. Hope you get the snow to help you out. It's still quite dry here and winds come and go and then we have the STUPID neighbor who loves to burn leaves around his yard! (We all live scattered in the woods) UGH!

    Our chipmunks are busy preparing for the winter, so Wally is going nuts (no pun intended!) with their activity.

  12. I'm glad you are feeling better. Darn germs. That pic of you talking to R is a hoot. Such a happy, rodent-hunting boy.

    I'm glad to hear that K is being such a trooper. It has been a long haul.

  13. Happy Halloween K and R!


  14. Glad to hear you're feeling better! Nasty bugs like that can just wipe a soul out.
    And thanks for your recc for Pets Best - I used to have VIP insurance and it covered a great deal of my since-passed Raven's lymphoma treatments. I hadn't thought about insurance for the girls even though we recommend Pets' Best at the clinic. I suppose I didn't want to think about the ugly things. I will look into it now though...Happy Halloween!

  15. Sorry to hear that you were sick and very glad you bounced back quick :)

    LOVE K's hat and happy to read that the cast will be off in the near future. It is hard to leave a pup behind and heart wrenching to hear them being upset.

    R we would have kept looking for them too. So do all the little animals hibernate in your area? We were wondering about that with as cold as it gets there.

    Happy Halloween!

    Chasing my tale...
    Addie, Lucie and Hailey

  16. I am so glad you're feeling better and so glad the fire is taking a back step too.

    You asked about our teen tiny raccoon rescue...It was complicated because we were 100 miles away from home when we saw this little raccoon trying to make its way across the road. It was barely alive.

    I'm familiar with the wildlife center in Columbus, but when I called them they told me we had to take the raccoon to the wildlife center that serviced the county where we were.

    We left messages with area wildlife centers. It was Sunday night. We had to leave Lake Erie (where we were) and go home. We couldn't find a store open to buy kitten formula so we made do with water on our fingertips.

    Once we got home a friend was waiting with bottles and formula. We nursed the baby through the night and much of the next day when we got the call to return the sweet baby to a wildlife center near the lake.

    They just emailed us yesterday to let us know it had been returned to its natural habitat. Someone said to Julie and I "Why don't you just let nature take its course?"

    Our feeling was that a car hit the baby's mother and that cars are manmade. We felt we did the right thing and would do it again. Did you know that raccoons purr? We didn't either until we fed the baby until its stomach was full.....

    I've taken way to much space here. sorry about that! The photos on my blog aren't terrific because they were taken with a phone camera.

  17. K just loves to pose with her front paws up! Is that a Doll's Eye berry? Glad you felt good enough to ride today.

  18. Love your blog - always inspiring and interesting. You are right about the snowberry - it actually IS called snowberry! Common in montane forests especially with aspen. Karin

  19. Had fun reading readers' ideas on what the snowberry might be. Wondered if you were near this last fire when I first saw the smoke. Sorry you caught a bug; glad you got over it so quickly! Love that you captured so many varieties of wildlife with that one camera!


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