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.
Awesome! Thanks Kelsi 🙂
Janet Geisel says
What a great idea. Can i make a suggestion regarding my sister’s friend. The one who painted the two beautiful chimps. You never know if you don’t ask cause she loves painting all different animals just for the heck of it.probably love it or give you suggestions on whst you can do, but of course memory lost Janet can’t find the paper she wrote on it for me. But if your interested let ne know and ill get all the info for you and even if she wears boots she’ll have a friend for life. Let me know.
ooooooppppps!!! THANKS JB 🙂
Not your fault! 🙂 I didn’t realize the computer was logged into Kelsi’s account when I posted so the email notice listed Kelsi as the author.
What beautiful photos and what a great idea. I especially love the image of the frog and I believe I remember that one from before. (But Negra eating the wee chap?! I thought Negra was partial to the little birds who fly into her home. Oh Neggie!)
As far as the doe challenging your pooch, be grateful you have a fence between them. Deer charge dogs where I live, especially if they have fawns near by. My neighbors jack russell was attacked by a snorting, charging doe, tossed in the air and left for dead but miraculously he survived. And I know of a big ol’ lab who was attacked and barely survived. But some doe attacks do not end well.
Can’t wait to see photos of the beautiful bovines grazing the grass. I wonder if Jamie will demand they too wear boots as they ‘patrol’ the property. : )
Sandie Allaway says
Thank you so much for these photos and your narrative! I felt like I was there through your words. You are so fortunate be able to live your joy!
My thoughts exactly! What a treat it was to read the script that accompanied those beautiful pictures.
Loved all the beautiful photos!
Michelle Herbert says
Loved the mix of wildlife especially the birds. Glad to hear all is on track with the updates. Can’t wait to see it completed love all of the Chimps and caregivers ?
This is just beautiful!
Lol, J.B., “….not angry, just disappointed”..!! 😀
I’ve yet to see a bluebird in person…….was just out this am “birding” in a new location with some other folks, and saw lots of things, even a rare migrant, but no bluebirds.
Still can’t believe Neggie eats frogs, ugh…..but at least, if she’s eating birds, she has to expend a little energy to catch ’em!
Actually, J.B., a question…….have the chimps ever seen these photos? What do they think of the coyotes? The reason I ask is that I’ve seen a capuchin who’s kept as a pet react to a tiny toy lion, an animal that he’s never seen before-yet he can still identify it as a threat to him. Just wondered if the chimps have ever had this reaction to the predators on the other side.
Good to see Ellie, too……I used to think “Oh, Ellie, how sweet!” But after your stories, I think, “Oh, Ellie, how sweet……..with a little creepy thrown in!”
Hi Linda – I don’t think they’ve seen these photos in particular but they have a number of picture books featuring animals that would be unfamiliar to them. The only picture that has even gotten a big reaction was that of a snake. I do remember the coyotes wandering over toward the chimp house during the day but I can’t remember off hand if the chimps ever caught a glimpse of them. I imagine the chimps would be quite alarmed to see a cougar (big cats are natural predators of chimps in the wild) but they are pretty elusive – so much so that I haven’t seen a single one in eleven years, even though they are all around us.