our daily amble

Nearly every morning, my husband and I head out with the dogs for a walk somewhere on the farm. We look for new birds to add to our Farm Bird List, a new insect or wildflower in bloom, or anything else that captures our attention.

A couple mornings ago we were excited to see a pair of cedar waxwings gobbling down wild blackberries. This was our first sighting of this species on the farm. Waxwings frequent the edges of wooded areas, especially those that provide access to berry sources. They are attracted to the sound of running water, and love to bathe in and drink from shallow creeks. We have the winning combination of woodland edges, berry-producing trees and shrubs, and a small creek. I didn’t have my camera with me (dang it!) so I didn’t get a picture, but chalk up another bird for our farm bird list!

Callie is always nose to the ground, and I noticed her sniffing something in the grass – if there’s any little critter hiding in the brush, Callie will find it.

I walked over and, sure enough, she had discovered an Eastern box turtle hunkered down in the grass. In general, male box turtles have very orange or red eyes and a slightly concave plastron, while females have brown or light orange eyes and a plastron that is almost completely flat, so this one appears to be a female.

Meanwhile, Autumn was more interested in what was going on over by our neighbor’s barn. There’s a cat we see from time to time hunting in the fields, so possibly it was the cat that had garnered her attention. Normally, she’d be up for a good feline chase, but this time, she decided to pass on the opportunity.

From there, we walked the lower portion of the front field where it was quite a bit wetter and couldn’t believe how tall the grass had grown. (That’s Bill almost waist-high in the grass!)

Patches of grass were flattened in a couple of places where deer had been spending the night. They browse the woods and fields during the day and bed down at night in the tall grass. Despite the popularity of deer hunting, we’re seeing lots of deer and lots of hoof prints at the creek bed and in places where it’s muddy.

Like everywhere else, nature is in constant flux here on our farm and we never fail to see something new no matter how many times we check out the same places. John Muir was right when he said, “To see something new in nature, take the same path you took yesterday.”


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