Monday, December 12, 2005

porcupines revisited

It was a very cold, brilliantly sunny day today. We're hoping that with the full moon in a couple of days, we will get some milder weather. I'm not complaining, mind. I love the snow.

I noticed this morning that a nice bank of snow is covering the pieris, holly and rhododendron at the front of the house--hopefully a warm blanket to protect them from the winter winds. The winds do tear up the hill from the lake when the winds are from the northwest, and they are bitterly cold.

Before I got down to doing some chores, I went for a short walk around my beloved meadows again. When we got to the bottom of the third meadow where the land goes downwards, I assume to a little river that I have heard goes into the lake just north of there, I was looking forward to checking on the porcupine tree.

Before I even got to it, Molly had gone on ahead and started barking. As I came around a little bend, I could see that the porcupines had climbed up the hollow trunk and were visible in the second hole which is about 3 yards off the ground. I took some pictures, which I'm happy to report seem to have turned out ok.
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coming up to the tree from the east side, the upper hole and the porcupine visible already

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the first time I came upon them, I caught a glimpse of the porcupines climbing up the tunnel in the tree, turning to present their backside and quills towards the opening of the hole

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these guys(only one of the two is visible here) look large, fully mature with quills that look to be very hard, sharp and about 3&1/2" long

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walking around to the west side of the tree, here is the mound of droppings I could not identify the first time I walked this way

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the bottom hole at the back/north side of the tree

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a few stray quills are in the hole--probably not visible in the photo. Misty, who is quite a climber and fence-top-walker, had no interest in trying to climb in there--she's too smart for that.

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walking away now, a backward look at the west side of the porcupines' tree.

There was a distinct odour of ?urine, ?porcupine stool, depending on which side of the wind one stood.

Again, many tracks crisscrossed the meadows, most of them a bit drifted in with snow so I could not be sure what they were. I took some pictures of the clearest ones. Maybe someone can tell me what they might be?

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the first set, quite small prints, of what?

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the second set, also small, looks like a change in direction, some creature changed its mind & ran back toward the grasses

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the second set, close up, prints of what?

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the third set, deer

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The most upsetting thing was a large black truck, a Dodge Ram, which overtook me as I was just starting out on my walk, going out the lane. It did not alarm me, initially. There were a couple of young guys in the truck. They would not meet my eye or greet me as people do out here in the country, which I thought was odd, but they did take care to slow down as the three dogs were all over the lane--no sense around cars at all!

But as I turned to come home, coming over the rocks dividing the third (farthest) meadow from the second, I noticed the truck tracks circling the meadow. They were joy-riders! That's why they would not look me in the eye, when they passed me earlier! Because we have had a bit of activity with the loggers in the woods, etc., even though I did not recognize the truck, I had not been suspicious at first. Now, I soo-oo-o regretted that I did not note the license plate!


Blogger Jean said...

Merci de votre visite !
Elle me permet de découvrir votre blog, ses belles forêts sous la neige , ses beaux arbres , les traces dans la neige ...
J'habite le sud de la France , le climat y est doux , il neige rarement .

2:45 a.m.  

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