Sun 18 Nov 2012
Everyday wildlife seems to take on new character in the Fall, as can be seen in this small gallery of photos shot from Mitchell cabin during the past two weeks.
Flocks of Canada geese head to their nightly roosts around Point Reyes after days spent feeding further east, often at Nicasio Reservoir. Many migratory geese winter here, joining West Marin’s resident population. Larger flocks of Canada geese typically make their presence known at sunset by their honking as they fly.
Further proving that birds of a feather do indeed flock together, Oregon juncos assemble for birdseed on the railing of my deck. As with Canada geese, West Marin has a year-round population of juncos, but their numbers go up substantially in the late fall.
Flocking together on their own section of railing are these Golden crowned sparrows. Their breeding grounds are as far north as Canada, but they show up in West Marin during the late fall. Golden crowned sparrows can be easily identified by their three-note song, which sounds like “Three Blind Mice” in a minor key.
When I headed down to the foot of my driveway to pick up The San Francisco Chronicle this morning, I surprised a doe and two fawns grazing about 25 feet from my front steps. To reassure the deer I meant no harm, I moved slowly and spoke to them in a soothing voice. That approach worked, and the deer stuck around.
After filling themselves on green grass engendered by days of intermittent rain, the fawns lay down by my neighbors’ fence to chew their cud. Their mother did the same about 10 yards uphill from them.
I may be guilty of anthropomorphizing wildlife, but to me the fawns are cute as can be.
Not so cute. Teenage Mutant Ninja Blacktail? From this unflattering perspective, a grazing doe appears to have three legs and a turtle-shaped head and body.
Gray fox on my deck.
I’ve long noticed that foxes will eat almost anything, from wild berries to roasted peanuts to white bread. Last week on a lark, I decided to find out if a fox will also eat coconut cream pie. I can now testify that it definitely will. The fox ended up with a dab of whipped cream on the end of its nose but happily licked it off with its long tongue.
According to the Aesop fable, when a fox could not reach grapes on a vine, he consoled himself that they were probably “sour grapes” (from which we get the expression). When this fox found a slice of pie within easy reach, he satisfied himself that even coconuts are sweet.