When we saw a mink on the trail cam, I thought it was an incredible treat. Did not expect to see one up close and in the daylight.

    (Videos are of a mink in the creek and then passing us by while skittering along the creek bank.)

    🐒 Turtle sunbathing season has already begun on Turtle Willow.

    A turtle sunning itself

    Going from never seeing antlered bucks all the way to seeing two locking antlers this morning!

    Not a great photo, but I finally saw a buck with a rack at Heron Haven. (Looked like a family of 6, as there was a big deer up front, 4 small ones, then the antlered buck.)

    We see deer all the time, including herds of more than 15, but antlers are rare. (I suspect they get hunted pretty quickly.)

    Buck on a berm between a pond and creek.

    πŸ”Ž Yay! I was worried after the bald eagle sighting that it may have been clearing out our heron population.

    Today we’ve seen both Halle the Kingfisher and a Great Blue Heron. No green heron sightings, but those are more rare and elusive, anyway.

    About this time last year was the last time we saw a muskrat.

    I guess the bullfrogs, coyotes, eagles, foxes, hawks, (green and blue) herons, largemouth bass, mink, otters, owls, raccoons, snakes, and snapping turtles are doing their jobs. πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ

    Beautiful cold morning. Let’s play β€œguess who was stalking around my house last night?” I’ll provide some tracks and some reference points. Bonus photo of mostly iced-over pond.

    TracksCommon animal tracks in my state.

    πŸ”Ž First bald eagle sighting at Heron Haven!

    Does anybody know what we call the β€œice spiders”?

    Branching ripples on the snow-covered thin layer of ice.

    First real snow

    Snowy forestSnowy pond and woods

    Update: the kingfisher (Halle) is fine and hanging out on Turtle Willow.

    Female belted kingfisher on a downed willow limb hanging over a pond.

    I think I just saw a Green Heron chase a Kingfisher 😲

    Don’t fight, there’s plenty for both of you!

    I am enjoying that there are Autumn leaves floating on the water, yet there are still turtles sunning.

    Turtle on a log in a pond.

    πŸ”Ž It was 55F or less and there are still 🐒 sunning themselves today.

    Sometimes when it starts to rain, the water bubbles.

    Four things I love about our jewelweed:

    • fun orange flowers
    • outcompeting poison ivy
    • big bees
    • little hummingbirds

    Had another Heronessie sighting today. It was surfacing a little.

    Best guess is a huge common snapping or spiny softshell turtle, but I couldn’t positively identify the head.

    (We have both types of turtle, as well as painted, red-eared slider, and northern map turtles).

    πŸ”Ž You might think that a pond would lead to an overwhelming amount of mosquitos, but between the frogs, bats, dragonflies, damselflies, birds, spiders, skinks, etc. they keep things in check for all but about a week around late July.

    E.g. check out these garden spiders’ placements.

    Three yellow garden spiders among pond-edge flowers and a bird box.

    I’m calling it Heronessie.

    At least 3’ long in a sub-3 acre pond.

    πŸ”Ž American five-lined skinks are really cool creatures. This one was by far the smallest I’ve ever seen, less than two inches long.

    It was so young/little that it didn’t have great grip on the wall and fell (but caught itself) a few times.

    Check out the incredible colors in the tail!

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