Wildlife

9 Feb

We live on a large lot at the edge of a small rural town. The area surrounding town is a mix of rolling hills covered in both deciduous and conifer trees and large flat fields with mainly grassland. Black Angus seems to be the most common bred of cattle  with occasional horses and burros mixed in. Further out there is a goat ranch and another with llamas and alpacas.

There is more diversity at the very edges of town. A small corral and barn is home to two horses. There is a herd of a dozen Brahmas with their prominent humps.  The field is relatively small so the animals are visible as we drive by. Adjacent to the cemetery is an extremely large  field with a heavy duty white fence. The fence clearly defines the size of the field. We had noted the handful of animals on the far hill and commented on the small number of cattle compared to the size of the field. Recently the herd had moved to the road side of the field. Imagine our surprise to discover that the heavy duty fence was needed to contain the bison.  There are three large bison and a half dozen yearlies. It instantly made me miss the bison in the roadside field outside of Cle Elum, WA. I don’t really want to know, however, if there is a sign somewhere on this field that says “Buffalo Meat For Sale”.

We enjoy watching the ever changing collection of birds in the trees in the back yard. I have heard but never seen an owl that announces its presence from the area of the peanut processing plant behind us. The coyotes usually sound off at a dusk but at a distance. The other morning they were very vocal and very close. They were joined by the barking of a small dog. Fred, our dog, and I did not linger to listen for a result but I was happy to see the small white dog that lives at the peanut plant later that day. I’m glad our cats sleep in the house at night.

Yesterday as we walked Fred  and the cats in the back yard (see Zoo Parade), the dogs next door went into frantic barking. I turned to look because those dogs have been known to go over the fence.  Instead a skunk was waddling across the middle of the yard with its tail held upright in spray position.  It was flanked on one side by our two cats and Fred the dog was closing fast from another. We managed to call him back before he received a direct hit. The skunk proceeded on its way through our yard and the next heading towards the grove of trees by the peanut plant. We grabbed the cats and herded the dog into the house. Although we have a slight essence of skunk, it was probably from our collected feet rather than spray. That was too much wildlife from my tastes. Maybe I’ll go check out where the bison herd is today.

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