Bliss and I were out marking trees a few weeks ago when we came upon several wood rats nests. They build these large stick pile akin to a beaver lodge on land. They are very industrious creatures. They are also an important prey species for forest predators.
Bliss was very impressed with this massive collection of sticks. So impressed that she claimed it for herself. Sadly for her it wasn’t going to fit in my vest and she could only carry one stick at a time.
This clever rat built its nest in the trees. No sticks for Bliss from this one.
Bliss found a deer skull under the nest. “No Bliss it’s not a rat skull and no you can’t eat it!”
This is week that the osprey customarily return to their nest in the electrical tower at the sawmill. I haven’t seen them yet. Usually the male shows up a week or two before the female. This year they will be in for a bit of a surprise. A little over a month ago a pair of eagles moved in. I’m not sure how this will go, but the eagle are a lot bigger than the osprey. I’d have to put my money on the eagles. Click on the gallery to enlarge to photos and get the dirt.
Nice looking birds.
He seems to have staked a claim here.
I keep waiting for them to gather sticks, but the haven’t. I not convinced their serious about nesting here.
These are all osprey pictures from previous years.
The osprey have inspired art from yours truly.
This has been an osprey nest literally for decades.
It’s a prime location for fishing birds with its grand overlook of the Sacramento river.
It hasn’t been without struggle. last season it rained so much the nest grew a garden before the birds arrived. They had to weed it.
When the summer heat get over about 106 the parents shade the chicks.
Two years ago the male osprey was struck be a helicopter blade and died. he was trying to defend the nest from the helicopter that was inspecting the tower.
The osprey have raised many generations.
The osprey probably won’t be too happy with the new residents.
Stay tuned to see how this turns out.
Below are a few of the osprey posts over the years.
Mary and I took a trip to Alaska last spring to spend time with family. While traveling from Fairbanks to the coast we took an afternoon to visit Denali National Park. It was the pre-season and the tour buses weren’t running yet. Therefore, we were able to drive 30 miles into the park. Unfortunately, it was cloudy and we weren’t to see the mountain. On the positive side we were able to stop anytime we wanted to take pictures. In fact, our little group did so well spotting wildlife that we soon had a caravan of vehicles pulling off the road behind us so they could see the wildlife we found. The gallery below is just a few of the wonderful sights we enjoyed. Just click on the photos to enlarge them.
Denali National Park, rugged beauty.
Black spruce full of cones.
Porcupine in a spruce tree.
Black spruce cones.
Strutting for the ladies!
A beaver pond.
The owner of the beaver pond.
The willow trees were beginning to flower when we visited.
A boreal owl.
What are you lookin’ at?
A visit to remember.
This was our first trip to Alaska, but won’t be our last. We had a terrific time. We were there for a week. These shots were just from one afternoon. Stay tuned for more pictures from Alaska.
This skull intrigued me with its bleached bone and hard shadows. I wondered what happened to cause it to be here. It was wild and dirty, and crying out to be drawn. So draw it I did!
The bear skull sitting on the running board of an older D6 Cat.
On our way into camp we often stop in a particular landing to give everyone a break from the ride. A D6 Cat tractor was parked there for several months. A local logger had been using it for road repair and erosion control work. During one stop at the landing we found a bear skull. It wasn’t a large skull, probably from a young bear or a sow.
The Cat was parked in the landing for a few months. The skull is sitting on the floor in the entrance. Can you see it?
I couldn’t resist placing the skull in the tractor for the loggers to find. It sat there for weeks undisturbed. Until one day, while we were coming through, it had disappeared. Somebody or something must have taken a fancy to it and packed it off. When I first saw the skull I wondered what it’s story was, but it seems that it’s story may not be done. I wonder where it is now.
The deer that live around the mill always converge on the hayfield behind the log deck in the fall and winter. This year I’ve counted as many as twenty at a time. I’ve accumulated some photos over the last few months. Typically, I’m not very close so the pictures are a little soft. They just went through the rut and the bucks will soon shed their antlers. Click on a picture to enlarge the gallery.