Sunday, May 24, 2015

May 24, 2015

Who's hiding in the woods beside the the lake?

Is anyone there?
Camouflage is a wonder of evolution.  Whether it's the bark-colored skin of the gray tree frog, or the mottled plumage on a wood thrush, camouflage has enabled countless species to flourish, often right in the presence of their most feared predators. The white tailed deer in the picture above is a great example.  I would never have seen this large animal - even though I knew it was in the area, having earlier seen it drinking from the lake - if it had not bounded off in a display of crunching hooves and waving white flag.  Let's zoom in a bit.
There it is

I was enjoying my last serene morning walk before the mosquitoes alter the experience - the first few were out.  So I was walking slowly and quietly, certain to make it a long, peaceful walk.  I'm sure the deer was watching me long before it revealed itself.
Who's watching whom?

Deer, although cautious and quick to flee, are also very curious animals.  When they detect motion that is not clearly threatening, they will wait and observe for a long time to determine what the source is, friend or foe.

I didn't know it was there until it bounded off a few strides, and then stopped to watch me again through the trees - that's when I was able to get a look at it, and vice versa.  It moved around a bit, stomping its front hoof a few times, trying to elicit a reaction from me.
Hoof Stomping

Eventually it decided I was not another deer, and it went on its way, gracefully, silently, simply disappearing into the forest.

More of our summer birds are returning to the lake now, including the Red-eyed Vireo, returning from the Amazon basin.

Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus)
You will hear this bird singing endlessly on warm summer days:  "cherup, cheroop, here I am, there I go".  And picking caterpillars from the trees.

It is a beautiful time to be in New Hampshire (even with the mosquitoes).
Lilacs along Camp Waldron Road

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