Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Strange Things in the Winter

First of all, my thanks to all of you who commented last night.  I am looking at Hughesnet, but have not had a chance to sit down and talk to Keith about it yet.  I want also to run some things by the IT guys at my office, and get their opinions.  It was suggested to me that I go to the library to post, and to do videos... but one of the things that makes blogging so nice is that I can do it in our little office here at home, surrounded by snoring pugs, and kitties.  If I had to go out to do it, I don't know if it would be the same.  I think probably not.

We have been noticing some strange things here in the last two weeks.  The weather has been cold, and yes, we had anywhere from 4 to 8 inches of snow, depending on where you were in the metro.  We here had about six inches of snow, with blowing making it 8 in the yard and pasture.  The weather has not been as bitter as last year at this time, when it was below zero many days, and many, many nights.  However, last night the weatherman told us this was the fourth coldest January since they started keeping records in the 1930's. 

About a week ago, Keith saw deer grazing in a pasture in the middle of the morning, while coming home from an errand.  Normally the deer are all hiding by the time true daylight is up.  That same day or shortly thereafter, I saw a coyote crossing a field on my way to work, with the sun up.  Sunday, I saw a coyote tearing at a frozen deer carcass right next to 24/40 highway as I took Nathan home to Lawrence.  I have NEVER seen a coyote feeding in the daylight before, and certainly not next to a highway, even though it is two lane.  Just tonight, Keith saw a dead coyote here on our own road as he came home from the feed store.  He commented how strange it was to see it on the road, though we sometimes see coyotes that have been hit on the highway. We hear them all around us, there are three packs... but we rarely see them in the night.  I saw another one dead in one of the fields near Stranger Creek, where it passes under 24/40,  on my way to eat, and the crows were already cleaning it up.  "God's Cleaning Crew" is what we call the crows and hawks and vultures here, because they do everyone a service cleaning up the roadways and pastures. I only comment on these things because in our six years here (and at my old home place) we have never seen the wildings come out so often in broad daylight, even last year when it was so terrible all the time for 8 weeks.  We wonder what has upset the balance of nature beyond the cold.... and we hope that this week, with the tiny thaw we are having, the wildings will be able to find feed and water.  Keith is asleep as I write this, and does not know that flurries are predicted for morning, though we are supposed to have 40's for a few days, and the snow will turn to mud and slush in the yard, so we're in for a ride this week.

The other thing that we have seen... and I didn't believe Keith the day he said first he saw it... the red-wing blackbirds are back already, almost a month before we saw them last year!  They are the harbingers of spring for us, coming even before robins.  We have now seen three at the feeders, and thought we were looking at starlings until we saw the definite patch on their wings. 

I leave you again tonight with a picture of the REAL birds feeding, after the Red Dog let them be on Sunday afternoon... and to tell you what a sap I am, we went through almost 70 pounds of bird blend because I was home all weekend, and we ended up feeding the Starling Hordes.  At least they are living in somenone else's barn this year, they have only come in our henhouse in tiny numbers... 3 or 4 so far.  Yipppeeee. as they are the World's Dirtiest Bird. 

As always, click on the picture to make it bigger and see the starlings close up! 


  1. That is quite a flock of starlings!

    It could be the coyotes are pushing the deer out when normally they`d be staying in the woods.

  2. You could do what I do sometimes, type them up and get them ready to post....then do it somewhere else.

    I put my posts and pictures on a thumbdrive and upload a bunch at one time.

  3. that is strange about your wildlife if you haven't seen those patterns before. i will see deer out during different times of the day and i have seen a coyote in october around 5 pm and i saw one in my post about the good and bad the holiday season...he was hunting for a mouse around 10:30 am. the snow forces a change in the eating habits i believe. wonder why the coyote dropped dead though. wonder if someone put out poison. or maybe it was hit and managed to go that far and die...very interesting mary ann!


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