Monday, December 1, 2008

Night Sights

We were just finishing up supper and when I went to put my dishes by the sink, I spotted some deer (under the light) eating from the bird feeder tray in the side of my yard. I grabbed my camera and went downstairs to put on the backyard light and there were several more at that feeder tray too.
Because the weather was kind of crappy on Saturday and Sunday night (snowy and blowing) I think these little yearling deer were laying low in a sheltered and warmer spot. But tonight, things have cleared up and there is barely any wind, so these hungry critters headed out early to check for food. Fortunately I had gone out around 5:00 and put shelled corn in both of the trays.

The picture above was taken without the flash and the one shown below was with the flash (which doesn't seem to bother them). I have the trail camera mounted on a nearby pole also, but didn't have it turned on tonight (the batteries are probably frozen anyway).
There was a total of 5 young deer visiting the backyard tonight. That's the most we've ever seen at one time. There were no adult does with them and we do know that a couple of does were harvested by bowhunters in the nearby woods earlier this fall and also one large doe was hit by a car on the highway which is adjacent to our backyard.

Earlier in the summer, we did see one doe with triplets and another doe with twins, so these 5 deer may be a combination of those 2 family groups. I guess we'll never know for sure, but what I do know for sure is that I'll keep putting corn out for them to help them survive the winter and just keep hoping that they stay on this side of the road and don't attempt to cross the nearby 4-lane highway.

Did you have clear skies at your place tonight? If so, you may have noticed this celestial display. I saw it when I was putting the deer corn out and then it was mentioned on the NBC Nightly News (and on our local KTTC Weather Blog which also has a much better picture than mine).
Of course, you'll have no trouble identifying the moon and the smaller, higher planet is Jupiter, while the lower planet is Venus. How fortunate that the skies cleared tonight and we were able to see this!


Shellmo said...

Ruthie - how nice of you to take care of those baby deer!! hope they continue to stay safe.

Mama Pea said...

I just went outside to see what I could see. No moon :(. We have a VERY wet-feeling wind blowing and 16°. Wonder if the wind is blowing the cloud cover in or out?

What fun the deer must be to watch so close-up. I've always wanted to feed them but have hesitated because of the fear they'd learn to go over the fences into our gardens. Now I can enjoy them through you!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Good pictures of the deer Ruthie. We can't see the sky tonight due to cloudy conditons. Booooo I would like to see the moon and planets all together like this.

Chicken Mama said...

That's so funny that you wrote about the moon & planets tonight! At one point when I was walking into the dark kitchen this evening to stir the leftover Soup & Dumplings I was warming up for dinner, the VERY sight you pictured on your blog nearly BLASTED at me through the south / southwest-facing kitchen sink window! I said to my hubby, "If you weren't laying so comfortably on the couch, I would MAKE you come look at this!" It was enough to entice him, and he got up and came in. "Wow!" We knew those "stars" HAD to be planets, so I got on the ol' computer and found out what you already know! Very neat.

The thing that really surprised me, though, was that - only a short 2 hours later or so - the moon had moved SO quickly so much father down towards the horizon, and the beautiful sight was no more.

I feel fortunate that those of us who got to see it . . . did!

And, Mama Pea . . . you live, what, 30 miles away as the crow flies . . . and we had blue skies all day and a cloudless sky tonight! And you had clouds?!

Anonymous said...

That was an awesome sight of all the deer just outside your home at the feeder tray. It seems to be a popular place to eat. Do the animals have to make reservations, or is it first come, first served?

I had just finished up snow blowing the back yard path to the bird feeders,when I glanced up to see the moon and the planets, it wasn't quite dark, what a sight. I had Dad come out when I was all done to see this phenomenon. This won't happen until 2015. It was quite dark and it was so beautiful.

What a sight to remember, both the deer and the moon and the planets.


Ruth said...

Your lousy weekend weather has arrived here. No moon or planets seen tonight. You have a real wildlife sanctuary on your property. How nice to see the deer.

KGMom said...

Ruthie--we too had a great view of the moon plus two planets. The planets have been visible for several days, but tonight is the only night the moon was in tandem with them. Tomorrow, the moon will be higher, so out of alignment.

As for your visiting feeding deer, do they know about your deer stand? Just kidding. It is good to keep them feeding through the winter, especially if they are without mothers to guide them.

Dana and Daisy said...

One morning in a rush, I went out the door of the cabin and heard a loud swishing sound. As I rounded the corner towards my car I saw 8 deer running off from the edge of the lake. They were no more than 100 yards from me! It was freaky!

Meggie said...

That's quite a family of deer, Ruthie. I'm sure they're thankful for the shelled corn that you feed them.

LauraHinNJ said...

Yes... I saw those stars next to the moon tonight and wondered what they were!


Beth said...

It wasn't clear enough for us to see the stars and moon so thanks for sharing from your vantage point The deer look confused. I'm glad you are going to feed them, I hope they will be alright.

Jayne said...

It was cloudy here too... thanks for the view Ruthie. What a sight to see so many deer at your feeder!

jan m said...

Ruth, we saw the same night display here Saturday night as we drove home through the Finger Lakes. We really weren't sure what we were seeing, but thanks to you, now we know!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Shelley,
I know many people around here think the deer are a nuisance in their yard, but I really enjoy watching them. I should start keeping track of how many hundreds of pounds of corn I go through this winter (my second 50-lb bag is almost empty now)

Hi Mama Pea,
We had mostly cloudy skies all day too and then around sunset all the clouds apparently headed up your way (sorry!)
If these deer continue to hang around the yard, I will definitely have to re-think my fencing situation around the gardens next summer too (they found the leftover late season lettuce that had frozen and munched it off--I don't think there's much in the garden they don't like!)

Hi Lisa,
I'm not sure how long it will stay like this. I heard some people talking at work today that they had noticed the planets close together for several evenings already.

Hi Chicken Mama,
I was even able to get Mr. Johnson to the window for a quick look.....he made the appropriate "that's cool" noises to satisfy me. Then when I was doing this post he asked, "aren't you going to watch Chuck?"
Sorry Honey Bunny--too much other REALLY interesting stuff going on outside that I have to share!

Hi Mom,
It's definitely 'first come, first served' in the backyard, but I did go out and re-fill the trays in case the possums came by later or the deer were still hungry on their return trip. The trays were empty again this morning! I can't wait to get home and see where all footprints headed in the backyard.

Hi Ruth,
Judging by the weather map, it looks like a lot of folks to the east of us had cloud cover overnight. I would have been disappointed to miss it and hope you enjoy my pictures anyway.

Hi Donna,
I'm glad you got to see the celestial display at your place.
Actually, we have thought seriously about harvesting a deer from the backyard--including putting out a target for me to practice shoot at! But I'm too soft hearted to shoot at these little guys--they have enough to worry about already.

Hi Dana,
Deer make a lot of noise when they're startled--8 is a good-sized herd and I can understand why you were freaked out!

Hi Meggie,
Shelled corn is quite a bit cheaper than the birdseed I put in those trays for my daytime birdies, plus I think the deer get more nutritional benefit from corn than birdseed anyway.

You're welcome Laura--I'm glad you got a chance to see them too.

Hi Beth,
I'm sorry you didn't get to see the lunar/planetary show.
The deer are really cautious. I'm amazed that the camera flash doesn't seem to bother them, but if I happen to hit the doorframe or make some movement that they notice, they'll all take off!

Hi Jayne,
Sorry you didn't get to see the planets either. Did you ever end up getting any snow flurries yesterday?

You're welcome Jan. Glad you got to see the "show."

Anonymous said...

Becca inform me of the planets near the moon since her science class is studying outer space stuff and then when I told Ben about the planets her looked and said "kool". They were very bright last night and of course I was hoping for northern lights but saw none.


Carolyn H said...

Great photo of the mooon and planets! I saw it last night too, and I don't know why, but it didn't occur to me to try and photograph it.

Carolyn H.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mike,
I thought the planetary display was pretty cool, but I would definitely prefer Northern Lights any night! and I think you guys in the north get to see them much more frequently and vividly than we do down here.

Thanks Carolyn. My night-time photo skills aren't the best, but I'll keep practicing whenever I get the chance.

Windyridge said...

That BirdJam software looks fantastic. It's exactly what I need. The CD's are such a pain, this is perfect! Let us know how you like it.

Heather said...

Hi Ruthie. Very nice pictures. Gun season opened a few days ago here in Ohio, and I have certainly seen an increase in does running across the road out in the rural areas. Thanks for identifying the planets in your night sky shots - I have been watching them dance across the sky for about 2 weeks now. The other night the tiniest crescent of new moon was just setting along with a nice view of the planets. Very cool.

Mary C said...

It does feel good when you can help out some possible "orphans," doesn't it? I hope they will stay safe and appreciate your helping them out. I guess I missed the planetary show the other night. Oh well, I'm glad you shared it with those of us who missed it. ;o)

RuthieJ said...

Hi Windyridge,
I'm sure there will be more iPod posts coming up. I'm hoping I'll get some Christmas money to put towards my BirdJam purchase.

Hi Heather,
From preliminary reports I've heard, the deer harvest is down from previous years in Minnesota. I don't think there are any less deer, they just seem to be better at hiding from the hunters this year.

Hi Mary,
Now that we've got snow on the ground, it gets a little harder for the deer to dig down and find food. I'll keep filling these trays for them and now that the price of corn has declined, it makes it a little bit easier on my checkbook too!

Mary said...

Ruthie, I saw the plants, too! It was spectacular! I wanted to zoom in, too, but my eye hurt. LOL!

Larry said...

I would be very excited to see deer out in my yard at night.I enjoyed seeing the moon/planet trio too.The Geminids Meteor shower is going on for the next week or so too but the moon is obstrucing the view on the peak night.

J said...

Venus will be leaving our sight on June 11th for the rest of the 21st century. To be so brilliant in their last visible moments to us. Displays such as this remind me that this is no accident; such beautifully engineered clockwork. I feel fortunate for all who got to see, amazing how many do not look up. It would be a shame to miss it.