Taking a Walk in the Country #2
Let's Take Another Walk in the Country
Thank you for joining me in the second article I have written on going for a walk in the country. I love walking around in the country and being out in nature. I always take my camera with me, as I never know what I might see. I hope to share some of nature’s beauty and tranquility with you by taking you with me during another one of my walks. So, put your “walking shoes” on and let’s go for another walk in the country!
It’s late summer now and the mornings are pretty warm. We are getting a little bit of a late start this morning, as the sun has already risen above the trees. As we step out the door, the sun is warm on our faces but we can feel a light breeze in the air. You can hear the cheerful songs of all the birds as they are flying above us looking for their breakfast meal. The trees are still green, but the grass in the field is looking a little brown, as we haven’t had much rain this summer. I have seen some white tail deer in the woods just south of our house lately, so let’s walk toward the woods and see what we might find.
White Tailed DeerClick thumbnail to view full-size
At the Tree Line
We did have a light rain last night and the grass is still a little damp, so if we walk carefully we won’t make much noise. Look! Over there, by the edge of the tree line, there is a little white tail fawn lying down in the tall grass. Do you see her? She sees us, so be very still. Isn’t she just precious? See how well her colors blend in with her surroundings.
She is standing up now, as she is not comfortable with us being this close. There she goes! She is running off now. The fawn still has some of her spots, but they are beginning to fade, so she is at least several months old. Fawns will usually stay with their mother for at least their first year.
Listen, did you hear that snorting sound? That’s mama, I knew she wouldn’t be very far away. That snorting sound we just heard, is her telling the fawn that there is danger near by and for her to run away. Mama is running right behind her now. They get the name "White Tail" as when they feel threatened, they raise their tail and the underside of their tail is white. This acts as a warning to the other deer that there is danger nearby. It also helps the fawn to follow the doe. They are heading off into the trees just beyond the meadow where they will feel safe. They will hide in the trees until we are no longer in site.
The Front Pond
Let’s walk down towards the front pond now. I have heard some turkey behind the pond dam in the last few days. Maybe we can catch a glimpse of them! I love hearing the turkey gobble. Not very many people actually get to hear them in the wild. It has been really hot this summer and we are still in drought conditions, as you can see by looking at the overflow pipe, the pond is several feet down right now. There they are! Do you see the turkey? There is the hen with 5 little ones. Did you know that baby turkeys are actually called “poults”. When they are very young, they look very similar to baby chickens, but their necks are somewhat longer. These are a little older and already have their grayish color and oblong shaped bodies. It looks like they have already been down to the pond to get a drink and are now heading back behind the pond dam. Their nest must be back there somewhere. If we stand very still, we won't scare them and we can watch for a few minutes as they run around on the pond dam, chasing grasshoppers. Sometimes, they can be very comical! Let’s walk the opposite direction now and let them be on their way.
Mississppi KiteClick thumbnail to view full-size
Look up in the Tree
Now we are walking up towards the driveway. It will take us across the pond and up to the front of the property. As you can see, some of our trees have died this summer. I don’t know if it us due to the drought last year or the drought we are having again this year. I have seen dead trees all around this area this summer. Look in the top of that dead tree just ahead of us! There is a Mississippi Kite perched on the tallest branch. The Mississippi Kite is actually a member of the hawk family. They are considered to be a bird of prey, but most of their prey, are insects. They catch and eat insects while in flight. However, they will eat the occasional small snake or frog. They spend their summers in the southern part of the United States and will travel as far south as northern Argentina in the winter. We are seeing more of them in this area lately. I love to sit outside on the porch in the evenings and listen to them call to each other.
Let's Walk up the Drive
Now we are going to walk up the driveway. Our driveway was one of the first things I fell in love with when we looked at this property. The drive down the winding road, through all the trees, almost seems like you are in another world. Hah! Look down the drive, there is Sadie, our yellow Labrador retriever, waiting for us! She loves to go on my walks with me and always prefers to be in the lead. I truly believe she stays in front of me for my protection. Although she seems to think that she has to protect me from the deer and she will usually chase them off, before I get to see them. However, she has warned me of a rattlesnake that was in my path before, so I don’t mind her taking the lead. She knows not to get too close to snakes and will start barking and jumping around to let me know to stay away. This morning, I think she is telling us that the coast is clear.
WildflowersClick thumbnail to view full-size
Crossing the Meadow
Now we have reached the meadow at the front of the property. Look at all the colorful wildflowers! We recently had a little rain so all the wild flowers are blooming again. Butterflies love all these wildflowers and well…. I just can’t resist taking pictures of them too! My husband laughs at me sometimes as I probably look at little crazy to people passing by as I am walking around in circles with my camera! I think most people who live in the country appreciate nature as much as I do and if they don’t, then I will be happy to be known as the crazy lady with the camera.
TerrapinClick thumbnail to view full-size
Watch Where You Step!
Now we are going to circle around and walk down the other side of the pond, back towards the house. You might want to watch where you step up here. It’s a little rocky and the rattle-snakes do tend to seek shade around some of the rocks. Talk about watching where you step, be careful not to step on the little terrapin in our path. His colors really blend in with the grass and the ground. Terrapins are one type of Chelonians, which are part of the reptile family. This group also includes turtles and tortoises. Chelonians have four legs and a tough shell made of two parts, which join at the sides. They also have strong, horny mouths and no teeth. Most types of terrapins live in fresh water, along rivers or in ponds and lakes. This little guy is probably headed down to the pond we just crossed. I want to say this is a “red eared” terrapin, but I am honestly not sure.
At the PondClick thumbnail to view full-size
Back at the Pond
Now we are on the opposite side of the front pond. Look up into the tops of the trees there at the edge of the pond. There is a blue heron. He is a wading bird and their main diet is fish. He is looking for his breakfast of frogs or small fish. We have catfish and bass in this pond and I love to fishing in the evenings. Our grandkids love it when “Papa Johnny” takes them fishing! Nana, has to keep up with whose fish is whose when I cook them, so they are sure they are eating the same fish that they caught. It looks like Sadie decided to take a little swim! You know it has been hard work, protecting us from all those killer deer and terrapin!
Eastern Fox-Tail SquirrelClick thumbnail to view full-size
Under the Bird Feeder
We are back near the house now. I have a bird feeder hanging in one of the trees near the house. The squirrels like to run around under the bird feeder to find the sunflower seeds that the birds drop. These are Eastern Fox-tail squirrels. They get their name from their long, reddish, fox-like tails, which they flick when they are excited. Fox tail squirrels prefer a more open habitat than some squirrels. They spend much of their time foraging and running about on the ground. They feed on acorns, and at my house, sunflower seeds. I had trouble keeping them off of my bird feeder until my husband came up with a way to "squirrel proof" it. They will also get into my vegetable garden and eat many of the vegetables. I'm glad I plant enough to share!
Well, that is going to wrap up our walk for today. It’s starting to get a little hot now and I need to go start breakfast. I hope you have enjoyed our walk as much as I have. Mother Nature has given us so many things to enjoy and I enjoy sharing it with you! Have a wonderful day and join me again when we will go for a walk in the country this fall!
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© 2012 Sheila Brown