Things have been quite busy around here lately with construction and the usual springtime projects so like any rational person I prioritized my task list, divided it into manageable pieces, and proceeded to tick them off one by one in a steady and methodical manner. Just kidding. Instead I became consumed with an unrelated and largely unnecessary project: decorating the new sanctuary bathroom!
We decided that the bathroom should be filled with photos of wildlife taken on the sanctuary property so we went about searching through our archives. I enjoyed this so much I thought I’d share them with you. Long-time blog readers will recognize most of them.
Above is a photo of one of a pair of coyotes that built a den in the old irrigation canal just below the sanctuary residence. For a few months we would watch them return to the den with freshly caught rodents and the occasional chicken from our careless neighbor’s house.
Below are a couple of mule deer fawns. The deer on the sanctuary property are unbelievably tame. Some of the does will even challenge our 85-lb pit bull to a fight through the fence, which to my mind seems just a bit reckless. The herd doesn’t travel very far from our 90 acres so we get the pleasure of watching them year after year and seeing them grow up, sometimes to have fawns of their own.
The sanctuary has a number of distinct wetland areas owing to several springs that flow year round. In an area that doesn’t receive any measurable rain for the summer months, these become oases for many species. But some animals have discovered the benefits of moving into the irrigated gardens surrounding the chimp house. This guy found a perfectly nice grape leaf that gets a light rain every night from 2:00 to 2:15 a.m. As long as he doesn’t go in the chimp house, it’s the perfect set up. If he goes in, he will be Negra’s dinner.
The fence posts and wildfire sprinklers around the chimp house are popular spots for many birds like this blue bird pair. Here, the male sings his song and boasts of his athleticism and his many achievements.
Some birds take up residence in our barns, like the pigeons, swallows, and this fledgling Steller’s jay who wasn’t angry that I was taking his photo, just disappointed.
The sanctuary’s compost system is now the Grand Central Terminal to a vast network of ground squirrel tunnels. In the spring they are lithe and svelte. After a few months of compost scraps this guy is going to need to widen his tunnel.
The skies are always filled with raptors, including bald eagles and red-tailed hawks, keeping us under constant surveillance.
No collection of sanctuary wildlife photos would be complete without a photo our beloved and not-so-wild friend, Ellie.
And while cows aren’t wildlife, we’re using the term loosely to mean “not chimps”. Betsy, Honey, Meredith, and Nutmeg are the first four cows to call our sanctuary home and will soon be moving the lush, green pastures surrounding Young’s Hill. We’ll see how they get along with the chimps.
There are a number of animals on the property that we haven’t yet photographed, like cougars, bobcats, and bears, who are typically more elusive. But the plump hoary marmot that lives beneath the front porch of the upper cattle barn is just begging for his picture to be taken. We’ll have to find some room in the foyer for the rest of our wildlife family.