As Summer Approaches

At 6:00 am, I looked out to see the cow elk back – she shows up for a few days in the late Spring, let’s her calf get walking around up on the hill, and spends the mornings and evenings grazing on the edge of the hayfield and getting her drinks from the pond.

Yesterday, it was a badger stepping away from a culvert – I’m guessing she’s hunting the best place for raising her young.  It brought back memories of two little badgers staring at cars from the whole in the roadbank near Ant Flat, and of the mother badger nearly a half-century ago who accompanied me when I hunted gophers – and hauled them back to her den for her little ones.

The goslings are moving from yellow to goose colors – this year we have 5 hatches of them on the pond.  I had feared we were seeing Goose for the last time when she flew south last Fall – she was frail.  She didn’t return, but Gander was back with a replacement – the sweet young thing nested on the island at Gander’s insistence, but closer to the house and easier to watch.  The little diving ducks start asserting their independence at about 3 days old – very different from the mallards and goslings.  We have two coots swimming, but no sign of little ones.  Nesting on the island provides a lot of protection from predators, but coots are not the brightest of birds.

The raccoon wanders the field and water’s edge – I think that, like the Canada Geese, the raccoon is adapted to a life close to humans.  This year has already provided the first firefly – common in the east and midwest, but unusual in NW Montana.  I think I saw two flashes in the early morning hours . . . but they are distant and few.

Soon the does will be leaving their fawns in the tall grass of the field.  Interesting – spell check is insisting that it will be the dogs, not the does.  Perhaps I should use the word “deer” to keep the app happy.  The marsh hawk flies the field, concentrating on rodents – probably voles.

It is a good time of the year to look from the front room.  I’ll ask Renata to share some of the neighbors pictures next week.

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