I think this was a young chipmunk as it stayed quite close and watched me as I took some photographs of him. Young animals seem quite curious, this one was. I hope it grows up quickly because there’s a lot of danger lurking nearby.
You can see how the muskrat got its name. It has quite the tail. Like the beaver the muskrat uses its tail as a rudder and slaps it when it senses danger. They are terrific swimmers and when they dive it’s difficult to determine where they will resurface.
I haven’t returned to the reserve where this was taken at all this year. There are just too many people. In looking through my folders, I came upon this photo I took a few years ago. We usually see a few muskrats each summer and that year was no exception. They can be tricky subjects as their wet fur often reflects odd colours.
Red squirrels will scatter when you approach but when they’re eating they often choose to stay put as this one did. He had the whole place to himself and was taking full advantage.
I’ve photographed many red squirrels but I’ve never seen one with such striking highlights before. Perhaps it was the light and shadow that day. A fine little guy, enjoying his snack.
While walking through the woods if you feel eyes on you, chances are one of these characters is watching you approach. Sometimes the squirrel will run off but often it will remain and and fix you with a look, like this one did.
The reserve we go to has both beavers and muskrats although muskrats are more common. This muskrat was gliding silently through the water in among the reeds. Interesting fact – muskrats are more closely related to voles than to beavers and their tail is more like a rat tail as you can see in the photo.
I’ve featured quite a few photos of red squirrels. I find them very attractive, for their looks and lively temperament. This one was enjoying a snack by a well stocked feeder. The birds often scatter a lot of seeds on the ground, leaving tasty leftovers for the taking.
As I was leaving a store, this sight greeted me across the street. This lot was pretty relaxed but I still was impressed at the way the dog walker handled all the dogs at once.
I grew up with a West Highland Terrier and can never resist stopping to have a look at one or take a photo if my camera is handy.
In mid summer, the living is easy for animals in our local reserve. At least it’s easier for this red squirrel than it is now with the approach of winter. The squirrels were busy in the fall hiding their winter provisions. This along with people feeding them, will help them make do until spring.
On a drive last summer, we passed a group of horses grazing in a field. A mare stopped to nurse her foal and glanced our way as I took the photo.
If cats could bark, this one would have. He watched us intently as we stopped to photograph the house. He was as much a fixture of the house as its very solid looking foundation.
The way this squirrel is hugging the tree makes me think he’s a young one. Usually they are pretty spirited, chasing the larger grey squirrels or holding their ground as we pass them in the woods.
It’s nearly fall and time to get busy collecting food for the approaching winter. This squirrel was taking time out for a quick snack. Under the feeder the ground is littered with spent sunflower seeds. Occasionally though an intact seed falls to the ground for the lucky few.
Another country scene taken on a recent road trip. It was mid afternoon and something was calling the horses back to the barn. We watched as they returned at a slow and relaxed gait.
We stopped the car when we saw the horses in the field. They were at a considerable distance yet one curious horse stopped grazing to look our way. Not much detail in the horses given how far away they were, but they added a tranquil feeling to the scene.
The area under the feeder was carpeted with empty shells but there must have been a few seeds remaining for the red squirrel to eat. He was sharing the space with a few sparrows also looking for seeds dropped by the bigger birds.
This groundhog was taken from a distance which might explain his confidant stare. Normally they run away or stand motionless hoping to blend in to their surroundings. This is a city groundhog, I found his burrow close to a water treatment plant. A lucky find indeed.
Field mice or voles, there is something pretty endearing about these little rodents. I’ve only seen the one and have featured it before though in different poses. They have a tough time of it as they’re prey to raptors and other mammals.
Although this photo was taken in November, the trees were bare and the sky overcast. It looks more like mid winter than late fall. Of all the squirrels in our woods this variety of eastern grey is the most watchful.
A bit late for a Groundhog Day post and too early to spot one out of its den. Groundhogs hibernate until March or April in our climate. No friend to farmers or gardeners as their burrowing can do serious damage and they like to feed off crops. They are cute rodents though and are funny when they freeze in plain sight as this one did.
This cute little rodent is a relative of the mouse and is commonly called a vole or field mouse. It’s the only one I’ve ever seen and I was able to take a number of photographs as he was unaware of or unconcerned by my presence. He might have been a young animal that had not yet developed a sense of fear. I watched him for a while and then left him to his ramble.
We saw more red squirrels last year than usual. They’re feisty, will often stand their ground with people and tend to chase the larger grey squirrels out of their territory. What they lack in size they make up for in temperament. We’ve had a prolonged period of extreme cold lately and you have to marvel at the toughness of these little creatures.
The first photo was taken in the fall and the second barely a month later; the landscape changes rapidly with the seasons. Red squirrels can be found all year long and seem to shadow you in the winter when food is scarce. In the photo below the squirrel found the seeds that someone had left and stayed put as I approached. I didn’t want to disturb him, so I took this photo and then left him to his meal.
The cat was a perfect advertisement for this animal groomer. It sat so still that at first I wasn’t certain if it was a figurine or real. It was staring straight ahead and ignored me completely as I set up the shot, a very cooperative subject. As the weather cools off and many birds head south I plan to do more street photography. I get to practice using my Fuji and there’s always a warm coffee shop close by!
They are our smallest squirrels and yet the most assertive of the lot. It’s funny to see red squirrels chase the larger greys around the park. I’m not sure if it’s because they’re territorial or they just enjoy it. Maybe it’s a bit of both. This little guy was giving me the eye, I blinked first and moved along.
When I get out early enough I often catch the passing parade of people walking their pets. Usually dogs, sometimes a cat or two , and even the occasional ferret. When they’re not being walked you often see them waiting for their owners to return as is the case in these photographs. Dogs tend to look alert and baleful, while cats look rather cool and collected.
We’ve seen more chipmunks than usual this summer. Two reasons for this I imagine – their food sources are plentiful and we’ve seen fewer of their natural enemies in the woods, hawks and owls. This little guy was enjoying a snack and judging from his full cheeks hadn’t finished consuming an earlier one.
Raccoons will eat practically anything, in this case the raccoon was eating some feed that had been left for the birds and squirrels. He was having a fine time of it as we approached along the trail. I have never encountered a raccoon this close up before or one so well fed and relaxed. He ate happily and only left when someone else came along.
We don’t see too many chipmunks anymore. They’re outnumbered by red and grey squirrels. I was happy to see this little fellow enjoying his cracker with no competition from the bigger guys. It looks like his snack just fell out of a picnic basket, his for the asking.
It was mid March last year when I took this photo. A long winter was drawing to a close and more people were out in the woods enjoying the milder weather and bearing gifts for the locals. This squirrel was enjoying the bounty and neither this photographer nor any competition was going to move him along.
You often see dogs hanging their heads out of a car window but this was a first for me. It was a mild February day and owner and dog were enjoying it to the fullest. I was shooting with my 35mm lens so I didn’t think I’d get the shot I wanted. I only noticed the mural when I got home and viewed the image on my computer. A lucky choice of lens after all!
Like many kids growing up, I loved The “Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame. This gentle looking meadow vole reminded me of this childhood favourite. We stood and watched as it munched its way along the lakefront, not giving us a second look. We were lucky to see one as they’re mainly active at night.
Red Squirrels are pretty bold with other squirrels. Although much smaller than the greys they often chase them around. In this case the squirrel stood his ground and kept eating as I took his picture. He never took his eyes off me but didn’t budge either.
By this time in May we usually see a lot of young birds in the woods and on the water. Given the below normal temperatures in our area and heavy spring flooding the natural cycle has been delayed by a few weeks. Squirrels don’t seem to have been effected though as we’ve some young about. This young squirrel wasn’t scared off by my presence. He kept an eye on me but held his ground (and his nut) while I photographed him. I took a few shots and then I left him to it.
The path we were on led to a field bordered by some underbrush. While looking around, this Cottontail appeared. At first it froze in place and then not bothered by our presence continued feeding; glancing in our direction from time to time. I thought it must have been rather young and trusting to react this way. I took a few shots before he decided to move along.
I’ve featured black eastern grey squirrels before. They’re particularly attractive subjects in the fall with the autumn leaves as backdrop. These squirrels are usually skittish. Although he kept a watchful eye on me, nothing was going to disturb him from his snack. As winter was fast approaching and food was harder to come by every bite counted.
Occasionally we come across eastern cottontails on our walks. The first photo was taken in a wildlife garden. I startled the rabbit as he was eating, it looks like he was trying to hide behind the flower, not too successfully though. I managed to take a shot before he ran off. The rabbit in the second photo looks like a young one. He’s up early, the morning dew is still on the grass. When the sunlight hits their ears they light up like beacons. I just love that!
I think this groundhog noticed me before I saw him. He was half in his burrow and kept a wary eye on me as I walked along. I see them quite often within the city limits, in open fields and in public gardens. Groundhogs dig deep burrows and one misplaced step can land you on their doorstep. I can well understand that farmers and gardeners consider them pests as they graze on vegetables and crops and can leave the ground weak where they tunnel. However, not being either, I rather like them. It all depends on your perspective I guess. They are also one of Canada’s true hibernators, fattening up in the fall and hibernating when the temperatures dip.
There’s a large tree in the reserve which the local raccoons have claimed as their own. On hot summer days we’ve seen them stretched out on the limbs of the tree, waiting for the hint of a breeze. Clever animals, as we push our way through the humid air… The light on the raccoon and tree trunk were very harsh. A few adjustments in Lightroom to the exposure, highlights, contrast and shadows corrected this.