Sunday, October 9, 2011

Foraging and Critter Updates

When we were up at the cottage last month, so many creatures were preparing for the upcoming winter by foraging, storing and filling up on munchies in order to weather the cold. We've been leaving bird seed for our feathered friends and whomever else might want to indulge.

One by one, chipmunks have been gathering to take part it their cheek-filling. We counted seven of them in one gathering.

chipper eating grasshopper
This little guy was chowing down on a grasshopper.

Cute little critter, isn't he?

red squirrel2
This little red squirrel was busy biting off cedar fronds, heavy with seeds.

red squirrel5
He kept at it for hours over the course of a few days and nearly emptied the tree before our very eyes. He was really quick too.

cedar seeds
We kept hearing the thump, thump, thump of seed clusters hitting the canvas canopy of the camper trailer below. Every now and then he'd take a break and either munch on a few seeds, or scamper down the tree, select one seed-laden frond and run off with it in his mouth. Eventually he'd return to his work and the thump, thump, thumping would continue.


• Speaking red squirrels, Roxy (introduced here) has been released near Theresa's home and is doing well. She returns regularly for feedings and cuddles.

• And you might also remember Bubbles and Binky, the two raccoons who shared the summer with us up at the cottage. Binky was also released near Theresa's home last winter and she returns for meals and occasional cuddles and belly rubs.

• Bubbles was released up at the cottage last summer. We continued feeding her until the cottage was closed up for the winter when she was left to fend for herself. She's been around a few times this year. I was looking out the living room window, one evening. The sliding glass is just about a foot above deck level, and looking right back at me was a beautiful, young raccoon with a healthy, full coat. We were nose to nose with just a screen between us and she stayed right there, looking quite intently into my eyes. I talked to her for a bit and then she moved on. We're not supposed to be feeding the raccoons this year because of a bear which was spotted in the area, so I refrained. But I was pretty sure it was Bubbles. A week or so later, Theresa confirmed that it was her. She visited again, one night and Theresa coaxed her over. She was shy at first but before too long, she was up on her lap accepting cuddles - a full year after her release. What a relief to know she was doing well - a bit thin, but quite strong and with a beautiful coat, and every bit as sweet and gentle as ever.

And as has been the case for all of the cottage posts, so far, I'll end with a sunset.

This beautiful light show changed colours before our very eyes. I love the window of red in this one.

Another view of the gorgeous, purple sky.


abb said...

Your photos just are always over the top. Chipmunks, a bit. Sunsets, mind-blowing.

Anonymous said...

What happy news to hear all the animals that were released are doing well.

Love the big puffy cheeked-squirrels and that sunset - just glorious!

ADRIAN said...

It's good to hear they are all doing well.
Great shots as always.

Anonymous said...

It's always happy news to hear of successful re-entry into their natural habitat. You sure do have a way with those critters!
I especially love the pictures of the chipmunks, and what gorgeous sunsets you enjoy!

Dan said...

There is something about sunsets that renews our sense of self as the light fades.

Anyes said...

The prefect ending to my evening Hilary...Those magical sunsets of yours :-)

Bob Bushell said...

Beautiful Chipmunks, and the purple skies...........great photography.

Sebab said...

Beautiful Pictures!

Cruise Pictures

CiCi said...

This is a wonderful raccoon story. I remember the photos in your blog. The chipmunks are my favorites. I have a soft place for them.

TexWisGirl said...

love it when animals rescues and releases go well! and beautiful sunsets!!! thanks for sharing!

Brian Miller said...

grasshoppers are a great source of all the little creatures...

DJan said...

What wonderful pictures. Chipmunks I could handle MUCH better than the five squirrels who end up having tussles over territory right on my front porch. Love the sunset pictures.

Indrani said...

Great chipmunk captures, and the sunset captures leave me speechless.

Dianne said...

such sweet critters
I love that you and Bubbles shared a moment, it takes a special person to commune with animals :)

that purple sky is so wonderful
my favorite color of all

Out on the prairie said...

Very nice share today. I like to watch the chipmunks and always look to see what they are filling their cheeks with.

ellen abbott said...

What a great post Hilary. I love chipmunks and wish we had them down here. And squirrels are very entertaining. I liked hearing about how well the squirrel and raccoons are doing. And that last sunset picture is just a beauty. We haven't had hardly any sunsets this year what with the drought, not having any clouds in the sky. Finally had a good one the other night since we are starting to get occasional showers. Still not had a good long hard rain yet.

messymimi said...

Thanks for the great news, hope the released critters continue to do well.

We don't have chipmunks around here, so it's always fun to see them in your pics.

Daryl said...

I love getting my outdoors/country/nature fixes here..

Ruth Hiebert said...

It is refreshing to read about how you care for all the animals.Those sunset scenes are spectacular.Such vivid colour!

holdingmoments said...

Those Chipmunk shots are excellent Hilary.
Good to hear the updates, and that the little creatures are doing well.
And those sunsets are spectacular.

ds said...

Oh, I miss my chipmunk family (there have been feral cats about, and my small striped friends are missing. Am hoping they merely went underground)!
So happy about Binky and Bubbles.
Stunning purple sunset! Thank you.

Rosaria Williams said...

I really don't know where this cottage is located; but, from your pictures and description is as close to heaven as any human can get. Love it.

Karen said...

Hilary, I love your cottage pictures. Those chipmunks are just adorable. Don'cha just want to pinch their cheeks?

Betty Manousos said...

what a feast for the eyes, hillary!

you stunning photos just put me in the best of moods.
so thank you for that.

i LOVE your blog!

betty xx

Betty Manousos said...

glad to hear that poor creature is going well. thanks for the update.

Maggie May said...

Glad the red squirrel is doing well.
The only time we see chipmunks here, are in large cages in really good pet shops. They must have been bred in captivity and they seem like jittery, delicate little beings.Not at all suitable for children. Not sure who would want them really.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

beth said...

those chipmunk shots are AMAZING !!!

sage said...

Amazing about the racoons. As for the squirrels, they're cute except when they are in my birdfeeders! Nice photos

Anonymous said...

Wonderful photos... Very excited you're back home and back to blogging. I guess I'm going to have to look forward to your winter pics next!

Gail Dixon said...

These chipmunk photos make my heart flutter. They are too cute! Spectacular sunset photos are a great way to end a post. Great news on the other critters. Thanks for the update. :)

Unknown said...

Awesome pictures in this post, Hilary!

Grayquill said...

Very nice pics...

Linda at To Behold The Beauty said...

I had no idea that chipmunks ate grasshoppers. That was kind of gross. But I love the chubby cheeks in the first photo. And the photos of the red squirrel in the cedar tree are just beautiful from a composition standpoint. And, of course, there are those glorious lake sunset photos. It was good to get the update on the rescued animals, too. Another lovely post.

Red said...

We are short on chipmunks here. I rarely see one.
Super sunsets. When I was in the arctic the best think about the dark period was the twilight. I have lots of sky shots.

Unknown said...

Oh, I love the updates and your sunsets! Such beauty!
I'm going to miss all our critters as winter comes.

Zuzana said...

Thank you for such an incredibly satisfying dose of cuteness this morning.;)) These were amazing shots.;)
Love the sunsets as always, they are so romantic.;)
Glad to her that all the "adopted" animals have been returned safely back to their homes.;))

Shrinky said...

How wonderful to hear all these orphans are well and thriving, and what a thank you to recieve when they choose to grace you with the odd visit. I have never seen a racoon or a chipmunk in real life, nor does or island have squirrels, either (sigh), I do miss them!

Fabulous cottage sunsets - what a beautiful place to visit.

25BAR said...

Please keep the photos from the cottage coming! Have you tried photographing the motion of the stars from out there? Something to consider, perhaps!

Gary's third pottery blog said...

WHAT a sunset! I didn't know chipmunks ate bugs :)

Leah J. Utas said...

Awwww, so cool about Bubbles. I love those deep red sunsets.

Nezzy (Cow Patty Surprise) said...

Awwww, I simply adore the little chipmunks. Your great pictures reminded me of a time when Tiger the Wonder Dog was just a young'en.

I saw him in the yard playin' with a chipmunk. Tiger would chase the chipmunk then the little guy would chase Tiger. I told Hubs, " awww look...Tiger has a friend."

Later that day I found the 'playful' critter, played to death. {{{SIGH}}}

Those sky pics are just amazin' sweetie!!!

Have a blessed week!!! ;O)

Hilary said...

* Thanks so kindly, Annie. It pleases me to know that you enjoyd them. :)

* LadyFi, we're thrilled to know that she's been about and remembers us but mostly that she's doing well. The others are city-dwellers and have better handout options, so Bubbles' visits are especially rewarding. Thanks for stopping by. :)

* Thanks very much, Adrian. Your kind words are appreciated. :)

* Spokalulu, thank you. It's all Theresa (Frank's sister) who has a way with animals. I just enjoy being part of her creature's lives.. and snapping their photos when I can. ;)

* So true, Daniel. I feel the same way. :)

* Anyes, such a nice thing to say. Thank you. :)

* Thanks kindly, Bob. :)

* Thank you, Sailor. :)

* TB, thanks. I'm happy that you're enjoying. :)

* Thanks, Tex. That pleases me too. :)

* Thanks, Brian. I hope you don't know that from personal experience. ;)

* DJan, I get quite a kick out of squirrels, too. They can be quite amusing. Thanks always for your kind words. :)

* Thanks kindly, Indrani. Much appreciated. :)

* Dianne, it was a lovely moment, indeed. I felt quite honoured but Theresa is the true special one for all that she does. I'm glad nature could accomodate with your favourite colour in the sky. :)

* Thanks, Steve. I'm sure you've seen many a grasshopper meals in your observances. :)

* Thank you, Ellen. You would certainly enjoy the chipmunks if you had them there. They can become quite bold as they begin to trust that you won't do them harm. They commonly end up in a lap or eating out of a hand, though we've not encouraged that because of Benny who loves to chase. I'm sorry that you've still not had any significant rain and hope that's remedied soon. You need to green up and you need to enjoy sunsets. :)

* Thanks, Messymimi. I'm glad you can enjoy them vicariously through my photos. :)

* Thanks, Daryl. Just like I get my city fixes from you. :)'

* Thanks very much, Ruth. It's Frank's sister who does all of the caring. We reap the benefits. Thanks always for your kind words. :)

* Thank you, Keith. It sure was a happy sight to see Bubs doing well. The statistics for relocated raccoons is not great but this one has spent the summer up at the cottage with us last year and got to know the land while she was still relying on regular feedings so I expect her chances were better than most. I'm glad you're enjoying the photos. :)

* DS. so sorry to hear that you've not seen your little chippers around lately. They could have well moved on if they felt at risk. I hope they'll still pop in from time to time for a visit. Thanks always for your kind words.

Hilary said...

* Thanks kindly, Rosaria. I tend to agree. It's located in Southern Ontario, Canada. :)

* Karen, I do! They're just so darned cute. I'm glad you're enjoying them. :)

* Thanks so much, Betty. You always have the nicest things to say and I so appreciate that. :)

* Thanks, Maggie. I agree that they probably don't make good pets. They're not meant to be in captivity. Thanks always for stopping by. :)

* Thanks so much, Beth. :)

* Thanks, Sage. Just put a bit of seed and some peanuts at another feeding station and they'll leave your bird feeders alone. Maybe. ;)

* Ha, Robin. Don't rush the season... or my time away. We're heading back up to the cottage tomorrow for a little while. I'll sitll have some scheduled posts but it means that my visits will fall behind. once again. Thanks always for your kind words though. They're so much apprciated. :)

* Thank you, Gail. Your visits and kind words never fail to bring a smile to my face. :)

* Thanks very much, Susan. :)

* Grayquill, thank you. :)

* Linda, I had no idea either about the grasshopper. But Frank noticed that one of the chipmunks in the photos he posted a while back was also eating one.. or perhaps it was a different insect. It certainly was a different chipper. There's always so much to learn about what goes on under our very noses. Thank you so much for your kind comments. You're a gem, my friend. :)

* Red, I don't see any around my own neck of the woods either. Frank's place is about an hour from mine and they hang out in his back yard. The cottage is swarming with them.. and by swarming, I mean we saw about seven or eight at one time. ;) They're so much fun to watch. I'd love to see some of your Arctic sunset photos sometime. :)

* Reena, a lot of these critters will continue to come around through the winter if you keep filling feeders. So you won't need to miss too many of them.. plus you'll enjoy some of the new faces that only winter brings. Thanks always for your kind words. :)

* Thank you, Zuzana. I'm always glad to know that you enjoyed my post. And leave it to you to note the romanticism of a sunset. :)

* Thank you kindly, Shrinky. I would miss having squirrels around, too. I'm sorry that you don't have them on the island. Maybe it's time to sneak a few in. I wouldn't put it past you to try. ;) You'd absolutely love chippers and raccoons, I'm sure. They can be pests but they do seem to have distinct personalities and how could you not love that? Thanks always for your kind words, Carol. They're very much appreciated. :)

* 25BAR, I have indeed thought about it but have not yet tried it. I've seen the effect on other blogs and would like to give it a shot sometime. As soon as I can figure out how to keep the shutter open for longer than 30 secconds. I know.. read the manuel. ;) More photos from the cottage will be coming up semi-soon. Thanks always for stopping by. :)

* Gary, I didn't know that either. Now we both know something new. ;)

* Thanks, Leah. I was so thrilled to see her.. especially when I knew for sure that it had been Bubs. ;) Thanks for the visit. :)

* Nezzy, seeing your dog and a chipmunk playing together must have been quite a sight. But finding the poor little thing dead must have been so upsetting. That was a sweet story with a sad ending. Thanks always for the kind words. They're very much appreciated. :)

Anonymous said...

Oh, they're so cute and the skies are gorgeous. So glad the critters are all okay, too!

Liz Mays said...

My son and I have always loved to sit and watch them stuff and stuff and stuff their cheeks. They're such silly little critters!

I love your glorious sky photos.

Lisa said...

These little guys are so sweet. I wish I had some just to watch in my yard. They have to be a joy. You captured some amazing light at the lake. I love the Sunsets.

Jenny Woolf said...

Oh my what an amazing photographer you are. Those sunsets are technically so good and absolutely bring me into the scene.

Unknown said...

Your photos brings peace to the soul - a place for a weary traveler to rest his eyes in wonderment and joy.

Lynne with an e said...

So many gorgeous sunsets! And every time, I'm sure, each one seems a new miracle.

Dave said...

A very heart-warming blog Hilary. Thanks for creating it. I enjoyed your animal photos and stories. Glad your releasees are doing well - Dave.

Sandra said...

You do sky just like all your other photographs -- beautifully! And you KNOW I LOVE sky! :)

Anvilcloud said...

Just catching up on your last three posts and enjoying chipmunks, Benny and sunsets.

Mage said...

I so enjoy your images. Coming home from our latest trip, I was truly upset to discover most of my pictures from the newly rebuilt camera were out of focus. The settings have now been reprogrammed, but I'm still getting some out of focus stuff. The clarity of yours is marvelous.

Hilary said...

* Thanks, Barbara. Much appreciated. :)

* BlueViolet, thanks kindly. They're so much fun to watch. They must double their weight in cheeks alone. ;)

* Thanks so much, Lisa. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos. You would indeed love to watch chippers at work. :)

* Jenny, you're too kind. Thank you very much. :)

* Tim, thank you so much. Your kind words are so appreciated. :)

* Very true, Louciao. Thanks for stopping by. :)

* Thank you, Dave. I'm glad you enjoyed it. And thanks always for your visits. :)

* Sandra, thank you kindly. I'm glad you enjoy my sky as much as your own. ;)

* Thanks for the visit, AC. :)

* Mage, thank you. That's terribly disappointing about your camera. I hope you bring it in for further repairs before too many more photos go by. Thanks for stopping by. :)

Suldog said...

Quite the excellent sunset. I don't know that I've ever seen one with that exact color in it.

Tabor said...

Excellent photos as always. You are such a master at this. I once had a chipmunk as a pet when I was about 10. I need to really try to remember this so that I can write about it!!!

Tabor said...

I did comment...but my stupid mouse is on strike! Too lazy to re-write other than to compliment you once again on great photos.

Joanna Jenkins said...

With sunsets like that it would be hard to EVER leave the cottage. It's so beautiful out there!
xo jj

yaya said...

Such beautiful and clear them! I could almost feel the air cooling as the pics got darker. I'm happy to see all your animals have done well.

Linda at To Behold The Beauty said...

Hilary, I had to go back to Frank's blog and see the chipmunk photo you mentioned. I had seen the picture but hadn't noticed what the chipmunk was chewing. It looks like a cricket. Those little chippies are losing their charm for me. :)

Pauline said...

Your photos never fail to bring gasps of awe and sighs of contentment.

photowannabe said...

Your sunsets are breathtaking Hilary. I wish I could see ones like that here.
Thanks for the critter update. I was wondering if you ever say them again.

Anonymous said...

Such a wonderful update :) Your squirrel & chippy shots are amazing. I've yet to catch a chippy sitting still enough.