Wildlife

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The owl is waiting. He has his prey in sight.

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The raccoon dares not move.

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He cowers…motionless between the branches.

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There’s a life and death drama going on in our treetops. Do you see it?

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I’ve circled the owl and raccoon to make them easier to find.

I know owls eat mice. I didn’t know they hunted raccoons. But, there’s no mistaking the owl’s intentions.

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His eyes are glued on the raccoon.

I’m hoping this owl has overreached and that his eyes are bigger than his hunting ability.

He’s a Barred Owl. Only, I probably should have said she. According to this Barred Owl site, the females are larger. Of all of the North American owls, the Barred Owl is the species most likely to be active during the day, especially when raising chicks. The chicks leave their nests at 4 weeks, before they are able to fly. They crawl out of the nest using their beak and talons to sit on branches. These owls are called branchers.

Parents care for the young for at least 4 months, much longer than most other owls. Young tend to disperse very short distances, usually less than 6 miles, before settling. Pairs mate for life and territories and nest sites are maintained for many years.

UPDATE: Today we walked the trails and looked everywhere. NO RACCOON FUR.

 More about Barred Owls:Barred Owls (Strix Varia)

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 Marco Island Ospreys guard their chicks.

DH took the best pictures of Ospreys! It is one of my favorite pictures ever.

Marco Island is beautiful.

It is pristeen. Every yard is manicured, lush and tastefully landscaped. There are flowers everywhere. Palm trees rise as high in the sky as can been seen. The traffic is minimal. Learn the 4 main roads and you can get around as well as a native.

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Perfect weather on a perfect day.

After weeks of snow and rain and flooding, we are appreciative.

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What we left behind.

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Buster and Abby enthusiastically wade in the flooded woods despite ice on the trees.

We take pictures of houses. We take pictures of flowers. We even take pictures of mailboxes.

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A house for sale.

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A Marco island mailbox.

But most of all we take pictures of birds.

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A beautiful begger waits for fishermen to return…hopefully after a successful day and with some extra fish.

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This pelican was by our pier every morning.

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The white and yellow head identifies this pelican as a three year-old. Younger brown pelicans (like the one pictured swimming) have dark heads. 

When the fishermen come back from a day of fishing pelicans and egrets eagerly crowd in and fight over the spoils.

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Despite having crossed over into her senior years, Abby is as frisky as a pup!

It doesn’t get better!

We have fresh snow, two dogs and sunshine.

We can’t go into the woods, though. It’s deer hunting season. Every deer in the county knows DH and I don’t hunt. Their tracks are everywhere. They are everywhere.

We’ve flushed out full-antlered bucks. We’ve flushed out whole herds.

One of the deer is the smallest doe DH has ever seen. He saw her this summer and thought she was a fawn, until he saw the baby. DH was on his tractor and the fawn and tiny doe walked almost up to him. They weren’t the least bit afraid as they strolled by DH and the tractor on their way to a neighbor’s cornfield.

But, as beautiful as they are and as much as we love seeing them, the deer are a danger to our deer-running dogs who’ll hopefully give chase over car-ridden highways, past trigger-happy hunters and livestock-protecting farmers.

Until hunting season ends, the dogs have to be leashed or kept by the garden where they won’t be enticed into harm’s way.

Today though, nobody minds. Not with snow to run through and a dad who can be coaxed into throwing the ball.

It’s a most wonderful TIME of the year!

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Abby is on the alert. There is a groundhog hole on the other side of the brush.

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“Tag, you’re it!”

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“You can’t catch me.” Buster’s smile says it all! He’s so pleased with himself, he doesn’t notice Abby isn’t trying to catch him.

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Buster makes dog “snow angels”.

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Buster’s ball. We got it for the horses, who wanted nothing to do with it. Buster found it and fell in love. We like it too. It wears Buster out more than a regular ball.

More posts about the dogs:

My Big Fat Animals

Two dogs and a cat go to the vet

Thanksgiving dinner rolls…and a bad dog!

“Bad Boy Buster” and Dog Whispering

Saving Kitty

Posts about the cats:

Playing Cat and Mouse

My Big Fat Animals

Two dogs and a cat go to the vet

The Cat Box

Cat Ladder

DH’s Cat Ladder Goes International

Saving Kitty

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