I expect to see an occasional mammal partaking of the water in our birdbath, especially during a drought. I’ve seen deer and squirrels drinking, and I’m sure, though have not seen, raccoons have imbibed. But imagine my surprise when I went to the back door and found, not one, but two Gray Fox, perched on the bird bath lapping up the water, one of whom hung around on long enough for me to get this picture. Gray Fox are nocturnal (easily identified by the black stripe down their tail), so seeing them at my bird bath at 9:30 in the morning is doubly surprising. However it does clear up a minor mystery. Three times now, twice in the evening and once in the morning, I’ve heard a gawd-awful scream, sort of a cross between a cat scream and a bark. I’ve only had glimpses of the animal, small size, bushy tail, so I hadn’t drawn any firm conclusions as to the creature making these spine tingling sounds. Today, I’m sure I’ve seen the culprit. As you might have guessed, this is a new record for our Windhaven mammal list, and the first really good look that I’ve ever had of a Gray Fox. (As I was writing this, D’Argo spotted one of them slinking up the driveway and when he charged out into the yard to chase it, it made the sound. Case closed.)
D’Argo alerted me to the presence of something in the back yard this afternoon. I was looking towards the treeline when movement near the grill caught my eye. At first glance I thought it was a cat, albeit strange behavior for a normally fastidious creature. Then I realized we were being visited by a possum that was trying to clean out our grease pan. It wasn’t being very successful, and when it started to gnaw on the pan in frustration, I decided it was time to shoo it away. Have you ever tried shooing a possum? They don’t.
It stood it’s ground trembling, as I got closer and closer. It wouldn’t move. I finally got close enough to slide the tray out and set it down on the grate for better access. It stayed motionless for quite awhile after I retreated, but finally went to town. After 10 minutes, I thought that was enough (he was driving D’Argo crazy). I leashed D’Argo up and took him out on the back porch. As you might expect D’Argo went berserk. Although the reaction wasn’t immediate, when the possum decided it was time to leave, it didn’t waste a lot of time doing it, and quickly disappeared in the woods. Of course for the rest of the day D’Argo wandered around the house growling at any unusual noise. I’m not sure Odo even realized what was going on.
I came across this scar in the front yard, after I had finished the fence. I thought it might be an armadillo or skunk searching for grubs, but with the area fenced off, neither creature would have easy access . D’Argo solved the mystery of the holes today…
…by digging up a mole. I always know when D’Argo has found something by the way he’s behaving and sure enough I found this little fellow trying to bury himself back underground. This is an Eastern Mole. A new mammal for Windhaven. Notice the big spade shaped feet turned sideways, perfectly adapted for digging.
Unfortunately the mole was wounded during it’s unearthing and died a short time later. D’Argo is definitely a terrier.