The Marvelous Morels…

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Morel mushrooms are considered a gourmet delicacy by many people. They only appear in wooded areas for a couple of weeks in the early Spring. This was the first I have sighted this year. Sliced up and fried, they are quite tasty.

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After the rain…

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It was a nice evening.

Barred Owl (Strix varia)…

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This owl goes by many names such as Eight Hooter, Rain Owl, Wood Owl, and Striped Owl, but is most commonly known as the Hoot Owl. Who could not love a face like this?

Harlan’s Hawk…

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I believe this is a Harlan’s Hawk, due to its coloration. Some experts consider this to be a sub-species of the Red-tailed Hawk, others think it is a separate species. First described by John James Audubon in 1829. He referred to it as Falco Harlani (after R. Harlan, a physician and naturalist).

White-Tailed beauties…

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Every morning just after sun-up, about three families of these White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) sprint across my back yard. They have moved to a field behind the trees during the night to forage on the grass and leaves. Come daylight, they come back across the yard, cross the road and through a large church parking lot into a small wooded area where they spend the day. Usually I see them while I’m having the morning coffee and doing newspaper crossword puzzles, so I am not prepared to try to get any photos. Today I stood out in the finger numbing cold for about 45 minutes waiting for them to pose for me. They did not disappoint . I had trouble with lens fogging and image noise (due to high ISO setting), but at least I got a shot. In the last hundred years the White-tailed deer population has rebounded from near extinction to abundance, largely due to aggressive game management and the control of their natural predators (coyotes, mountain lions, etc…). These particular deer, being in a suburban setting, have little to fear from the myriad of hunters around these parts. I may start naming them! I think there are enough to pull a Christmas Sleigh.

Possum on the Half Shell…

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I was excited by todays picture because in my lifetime, I think I have seen a live Armadillo only two or three times. Every other one has been road kill. When I was young, I don’t think there were any around this part of the country. But their population has been slowly expanding northward over the years and you now see them dead on the highway all the time. The name Armadillo is Spanish for “little armored one”. They are unique little critters. I came upon this one early this morning while driving through town and he obliged me with a photo op. I was going to include a recipe here for possum on the half shell, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)…

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The Dark-eyed Juncos are a small sparrow species that show up around here in the winter months. This one is identified as a male due to it’s slate gray coloring. The females are more brownish. I think this one has found a small worm.

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