I Shot the Luckiest [B]uck in the Area

I believe this is my first post to date on a wildlife topic that was not focused on birds.  This also helps to fulfill my one of my goals in I set for this blog at the beginning of the year.  I was working from home yesterday which allows me to sit out in our kitchen bay window area and observe the wildlife while I parse through hundreds of emails in my inbox.  It gives a nice break as I race to bring some reasonable organization to the flood of emails that heads my way each day.  Around 4:00pm, I looked out and noticed a herd of deer moving across our woods in the back.  By herd I mean over 25 deer.  In the middle of this group was this guy.

Buck

Yes, I deserve all the criticism for this crappy picture.  As soon as I noticed it I went running for the camera which happened to be in another room.   It is very very rare to actually see the bucks around here although when we do, they are generally trophy size.  We live in a heavily populated deer region and close to a large park where they breed like rabbits.  The park is so overrun with them that they opened up a bow and shotgun season inside the park.  This translates to a steady stream of hunters every morning and night lining our roads.  I get a chuckle every time I see the gun racks and the multitude of hunting stickers on the back windows of the trucks…. whose owner is out shooting fish in a barrel.  I don’t have anything personally against hunting (just don’t call it a sport until you arm the deer), but I do not allow hunting on our property so they tend to seek refuge in our yard as the guns start blasting.  So, from mid November through mid January, hunters are out looking for the antler racks.  By some miracle or cleverness on his part, this particular buck made it through.

Buck

Did I mention I was rushing to get the camera “shot” as he moved through the yard, shooting at dusk and through a screen?  Trust me, I wish I had taken better shots also.  I named him “The Luck [B]uck” but I substituted a different letter.

I did witness an interesting interaction between a few other deer – see details after the jump

Continue reading I Shot the Luckiest [B]uck in the Area

Viewed From Afar (and a request for identification help)

First off, I’ve decided to go ahead and merge in my wildlife observations. I was investigating the option to have a secondary blog out there just for the wildlife stuff, but then decided I really didn’t want to manage another website. I think it still fits the overall theme of observations I see from day to day. I will tag these as Wildlife and likely a subtag with the specific category like birds, snakes (yeah, you’re getting some of those soon), frogs, bears, deer etc.

So… keeping with the South Dakota trip theme, I thought I would start out with some birds we snapped while traveling out there. I’ll start with a flesh eating variety call the Black Billed Magpie. We were touring the Bear Country USA Drive Through Wildlife Park and I saw this fairly pretty blue and white bird on the side of the road.

Black Billed Magpie

I actually didn’t know what it was until I returned home and found it my brand new Smithsonian Field Guide to the Birds of North America. I finally broke down and bought an updated guide, but more on that in a future post (I actually selected this book because it finally had a picture of the woodpecker I could not identify in a previous post). As we traveled a little further, I became slightly horrified by the fact that the previously considered “cute” bird was actually a flesh eating demon.

Black Billed Magpie

I had visions of it attacking me, sticking his beak in one of my eyeballs and ripping it out of my head as it flew off into the air leaving a dangling mass of entrails oozing out of my shrieking face – hmmmm in retrospect, I might need to lay off of the late night horror movies. Based on the description in the book, it appears to simply feed off of carrion so likely little to fear here. Although, this shot looks like he is scraping an eyeball of his beak.

Black Billed Magpie

There is another bird (Spotted Towhee) after the jump along with a blue bird I am currently unable to properly identify.

Continue reading Viewed From Afar (and a request for identification help)