Thursday, February 26, 2009

Winter hangs on

Fortunately for us, today's Winter Storm Warning turned out to be less severe than originally predicted. We had a little "thunder snow" -- it's always kind of exciting to have thunder and lightning in a snowstorm. It was snowing really hard when we got off work, but by 3:00 the snow had just about finished and our grand total of snow piled up was less than 3 inches. What a relief that we didn't receive the 4-10 inches as originally predicted.

I got all the birdfeeders cleaned off and refilled and while we were eating supper, this big hungry cottontail showed up in the backyard while it was still light out. I almost never see them during the day, but I guess hunger overcame fear.

While I was washing the dishes I noticed three possums in the ground feeder tray outside the kitchen window. I grabbed my camera and headed downstairs to try and sneak out and take a picture of them, but when I went to open the door, I saw some deer were just coming into the backyard to see what sort of feast they could find in the birdfeeders. After they had cleaned out one ground feeder tray, they headed over to the feeder where there were still two possums eating. I was curious to see what was going to happen there.....and what do you think? I was amazed to see that the possums held their ground and wouldn't let the deer eat from that ground feeder tray! The deer looked kind of alarmed, and just from watching the possums defensive pose, I'm guessing there was a whole lot of hissing and growling going on! It was pretty interesting.

After a few minutes and more deer showed up, the possums finally gave up at that feeder and these five deer got the chance to clean up the remaining birdseed. Our neighbor across the road was just getting home from work and parked at his mailbox to grab his mail before driving into the garage, so that's what these deer were looking at (except for ADD Little Sister at the far right side). Right after I took this picture they all ran away.
Don't you just love the way their ears perk up when something alarms them? You can almost tell what they're thinking just by watching their ears.

Sorry the picture quality isn't better--I still need to work on my low-light picture taking skills. (In addition to the fact that this photo was taken through the kitchen window, I'm actually pleasantly surprised the picture turned out as good as it did.)


Anonymous said...

Just love the pic of the deer, boy they are so careful when they hear a strange noise. Quite the brave bunneh to come out in the daylite.


Kallen305 said...

You had all kinds of critters in your yard!! Love the deer photo!

Shellmo said...

That was a brave cute little bunny! And I love how you captured those deer all on alert (except your ADD one) in the last photo! I could almost hear them asking "what's that?!"

Jayne said...

How funny that the possums would not let them near the feeder! I love that photo Ruthie, esp. how they are so "on alert."

Kelly said... the deer shot!! In the half-light they look beautiful. Liked hearing about the possums too!

Dana and Daisy said...

I was going to say I felt sorry for you for the snow, but then as I read I became jealous (just a little) of all the wildlife you have!

Ruth said...

I like the deer picture and the grainy quality adds to the night time feel. Your snow hit warmer tempertures and we are getting it as rain. It is very foggy and wet here today.

Chicken Mama said...

I'm so surprised that the rabbit is already brown! (Vs. still white.) Or, do all rabbits NOT change colors with the seasons, oh Master Naturalist? ;)

Lynne said...

Even if the picture isn't perfect, you can sense their alarm.

I'm glad you didn't get dumped by the snow. It wasn't so bad here either but the wind really blew it around. We wound up with a pretty good drift on the patio.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mom,
Bradd must have worked late for snow removal--he's usually home before 5:00. That was one really BIG bunneh.

Thanks Kallen. We're surrounded on 3 sides by commercial property (with all their associated super bright security lights), so when it's overcast and there's fresh snow, it's really light outside and easy to spot all the wildlife activity.

Hi Shelley,
I didn't know for sure how the picture would turn out until I opened it in Photoshop for editing. If I had put captions on the photo, ADD Little Sister would be saying, "Hey Look--a bunneh!"

Hi Jayne,
I was wondering whether the possums would "play dead" or what would happen. I was surprised the deer didn't just strike out at the possum with its hoof.

Thanks Kelly. The deer haven't been around our backyard much this winter, so I was pretty thrilled to see them again plus capture a photo.

Hi Dana,
Don't feel sorry for us and our snow until April! The calendar says it's still "officially" winter.

Oh Ruth, I hope that rain doesn't freeze for you. We were just cold enough to get snow--I think Iowa and Illinois got the rain. Yuck!

Hi Chicken Mama,
My backyard rabbits are Eastern Cottontails and they stay brown all the time (I think that's why they're mostly noctural in the winter). Your Snowshoe Hares turn white for winter and and so does the White-Tailed Jackrabbit (which we have in the southern part of the state).

Hi Lynne,
I've seen them do that in the woods too--it's a good way to know when there's another deer coming towards them.

We didn't really have too much wind with our snow either, but it's pretty chilly this morning (even with bright sunshine).

Windyridge said...

I used to see some buns at the side of the road at daylight on my to work. They were there almost every morning.
I was glad we only got barely an inch of that storm that never came.

Deb said...

That's pretty amazing how the possums stood their ground against the deer!

We got 4-5" of snow here. A little more than I wanted, but it wasn't that bad.

Marsha said...

I just love the picture of all those deer! I would love for them to visit me but I think outside doggies prevent that

We got 8" of the fresh white stuff here.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Windyridge,
Sometimes we see the bunnies run across our road too. They're pretty quick.
I'm glad you guys didn't get much snow either.

Hi Deb,
Those possums must've been pretty hungry to hold their ground against a deer.
The long-range forecast sounds like some of that snow might be melting next week.

Hi Marsha,
Sophie likes to bark at the deer when she sees them in the backyard. I know if we let her out she'd chase them away.
Sounds like the reason we didn't get much snow is that the system dumped most of it on you guys!

Red said...

That's funny the Possums aren't afraid of deer, but Sophie? Oh no! *faint*

Mel said...

Hola Ruthie,
I'm sending you some sunshine from this side of the world, hope it makes it there ;)

Diane C. said...

You had quite a crowd at your bird feeder the other night. I like the deer picture. Your bunny looks huge! Our desert cottontails have a smaller body, much bigger ears, and are active during the day.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Wonderful action at your feeders Ruthie. I loved seeing those little possum paw prints in the dusting of snow. Surely spring can't be too far away.