The Wildlife in My Wild Life – Photo Essay

Since I live in Colorado, I’m always on the lookout for wildlife. I’ve spotted them on hikes, while skiing, or through a car window. Prehistoric porcupines, bear, elk, common deer, bighorn sheep, you name it. But this year, my wild life has gotten wilder. Several otherwise elusive creatures have made appearances in the most unlikely of places: My home.

Bullsnakes have made their way into my home twice. A newborn made its way through a light fixture since I found it on top of my flat file. It became a pet for the winter. The kids released it the following summer. The other must have pushed its way through the doggie door. I thought it was one of the rubber snakes from downstairs carried by our Bichon, Roxy. Nope! I put it in an aquarium until the weather warmed up and then let it go. The one in the picture was full grown (about four feet long) when I found in the garage. I picked it up and released it into the garden.

bull snake in yard

Several families of owls love to perch on and around my house. As the sun sets every night, I can hear a couple hoo-hooting to each other.

owl hanging out on roof

Two weeks ago, something hit a window. I rushed to my back door to see. A baby owl sat on the stoop. I waited until he flew away to be sure he didn’t become dinner for one of several hungry predators who lurk in our yard at night.

Last week, I heard the most annoying screeching sound. When the dog went nuts, I ran to the window. A huge owl stood on a planter screeching, “Good morning.” Ha! Worst sound ever.

Click to see the video –

While in Europe after a disastrous water leak from a demon washing machine, our wood floor guy, Nick took pictures of a lynx! Yes, this is our deck.

IMG_2653

According to my neighbor, two bobcats hung out at the front door while we were gone. Make yourself at home, why don’t ya? Of course, I never saw them after returning from our trip. Gah!

IMG_2654

In April, an enormous gold “housecat” walked around the pond. Later, I found out a young cougar has made our neighborhood its hangout. Unlike the lynx in the photo above, its tail is long. It’s a yearling and still pretty small, but the doggie door is shut until further notice. Poor Roxy.

Remember Roxy and the Coywolf? I don’t trust that she’s learned her lesson. She got lucky when that beast laughed and released her from its jaws in 2015. This time too.

Roxy in the window

As I’m typing this, I’m at a desk in the window being totally distracted by the backyard view. You never know what might take a shortcut through our property…

Our family had an unexpected visit last Sunday up in Breckenridge. I’ve seen them at Brainard Lake, at the bottom of Peak 7, but not in my neighborhood!

My husband, Danny, rushed toward me as I walked out of the kitchen. He had an insane look on his face. My first thought was whatever he would say next would be completely sarcastic. “There’s a moose in the driveway!” he screamed. Yes. SCREAMED!

Stained glass windows flank the front door. I saw a massive black shadow beyond. Instead of running for my camera, I rushed downstairs and shouted to my son who talked with his girlfriend on the phone.

He ran upstairs and used Facetime to show her the incredible sight. Right outside our picture window stood a full-grown male moose complete with wicked cool antlers. A yearling grazed nearby. We trapped the dogs in the basement to keep them from frightening the pair.

When my wild life meets wildlife

Click to see the video –

After taking a few photos, we caught our breath. Minutes later, another shadow graced our front doorway. The cow brought up the rear of the little family.

Incredible!

As the sun sinks lower in the sky, I’m still waiting for my glimpse of the elusive wildcats. It’s 4:30 and owls have begun their hooting chant. Another just landed on our roof. The raccoons will scout and a pack of coyotes may send out an eerie cry.

I love where I live. There’s plenty of room for all of us.

Click for more of my Wild Ride.

Related posts:

What was she thinking?

The Moose is Loose!

Not in My Neighborhood!

Taking It to New Heights – A snake encounter…

Have you seen any unusual wildlife? Has your life gotten wilder lately?

The Hunt Continues

In a recent post, Roxy, my fearless Bichon, attacked a hapless and humongous coyote and lived to perch on the back of my couch another day. How she got away with only four puncture wounds, we’ll never know. She is all healed up and has become a house dog for the winter. This is not a big sacrifice since she prefers to stay inside while sleeping on a fluffy blanket and pillow.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, my son brought two of his furry friends for a visit. When Danny and I took them for a walk, we spotted a more normal-sized coyote hunting in the open space near our home.

We see you

The coyote looks much farther away than it was.

We stopped and stared at it. Would it stalk us? Would it ignore us? Would it howl? While we thought about whether to continue our walk along the trail, it sat down and stared at us.

Luckily, a fat rabbit struck out of its hiding place. They began a new staring contest.

Jack Rabbit: You can’t see me because I’m playing statue.

Milly Coyote: Ha! A much better feast option.

Jack Rabbit: Ha! You are looking right through me. I am so good at this.

Milly Coyote: How stupid can rabbits be?

Milly Coyote: Ha! I scared off that couple with their tiny appetizers. I am so powerful. Where did that rabbit go?

We let the animals play their game and walked up the hill instead. I glanced over my shoulder several times to be sure the coyote wasn’t following us. When we arrived home, the three fury friends piled into bed, thankful to be alive another day.

Three friends are we

I haven’t seen Adolf, the gargantuan coyote, but I ran into a couple who had. They were surprised to see one that huge. After a comment from List of X, I looked it up. A hybrid of coyote, wolf, and dog, called a coywolf, is taking over parts of the country. According to Field and Stream, it is a “super-predator.” That makes Roxy even more lucky.

Why did Roxy go after it in the first place? Vanessa-Jane Chapman said it best – “I often think domestic animals behave oddly because they retain part of their wild instincts, but they’re generally protected by us, so aren’t always as streetwise as they think they are, and hence don’t always make the best decisions!”

How did Roxy get away? Pegoleg and TedBook suggested Adolf laughed hysterically when he saw my ferocious pipsqueak. Maybe he couldn’t get a good grip.

Would you rather sleep inside or look for an outdoor adventure? Do you have predators in your neighborhood? Do you hibernate for the winter?

The first post about Adolf the Coywolf

 

 

What was she thinking?

Fierce Bichon1

We all can be impulsive from time to time. We don’t think before speaking or can behave recklessly. I size up most situations, but sometimes it’s difficult to anticipate the reactions to our actions.

I’ll never understand my dog, Roxy. She’s a Bichon who is pint-sized at a whomping fifteen pounds of fur and energy. She’s submissive to us although she can be “independent” like most dogs.

When a dog is about Roxy’s size, she will play for hours. The kennel workers love her since she is “gregarious” and “super friendly,” much like her owner. She shies away from larger dogs.

With coyotes she gets a Wild Hair. We have a pack who frequently sniffs around our yard. It’s a part of living in Boulder County. We live in their territory. I respect them and try to stay out of their way.

Roxy doesn’t see it that way. She thinks she owns this plot of land and God help anyone or thing that trespasses.

Fierce 3

My office is upstairs with the best views of the house. While typing yet another query letter late yesterday afternoon, Roxy sat in her usual spot up on the back of couch. She likes to keep a watchful eye from her perch.

She growled and then barked. I assumed someone walked by with a dog. I kept typing. When she flew off the couch and rocketed through the house with a frenzied howl, I knew it was trouble. That particular yap is reserved for coyotes. Continue reading

The Moose is Loose!

I have always wanted to shoot a moose… with my camera. They are huge animals which can be aggressive and dangerous. They are also majestic and fearless, qualities I have always admired.

A few years ago, I freaked out and fumbled with my phone as a cow and her calf pranced by the liftline in Breckenridge. By the time I pulled off my mittens to take the shot, they had dashed into the forest.

Last Friday night, Danny and I walked the Pearl Street in Boulder after dinner. We stopped in a shop and I overheard a conversation about a moose encounter. The man and his wife had dropped off their daughter at CU and then hiked Brainard Lake, about forty-five minutes away in the mountains.

“I want to see a moose,” I whined like a two-year-old.

He pulled out his phone and showed me the extraordinary photos of a bull moose whose antlers were in velvet. Can you imagine stumbling over them in the spring? Whoa…

I Jonesed for a moose encounter, but Danny planned to play golf on Saturday afternoon. He doesn’t doesn’t have the opportunity very often. He had a meeting on Sunday. Hiking would have to wait.

With rising temperatures Saturday morning along with smoke from Western fires, he hoped to finish some yard work in the morning while I hosted a Drop and Hop Party on my blog.

Then divine intervention occurred.

He cut his right hand with the hedge trimmer. I sent him to Urgent Care and then found out how it happened. I won’t laugh because the last time, this happened…

After four stitches (only a flesh wound between his index finger and thumb) he was told to skip tennis and golf for the next ten days.

Now the afternoon was WIDE OPEN!

“You want to hike Brainard Lake?” he asked.

“Yes!” I abandoned my party. We packed water and snacks in one backpack and then stuffed jackets into another. We drove up Lefthand Canyon.

Like we had expected, the temperature was in the low 70’s. There were others hiking, but it wasn’t crowded like Rocky Mountain National Park. That place is a zoo in the summer.

We hiked on a trail through the aspen and evergreen forest up a thousand feet to another small lake in the high alpine environment.

moose munch

It was ablaze with wildflowers.

We avoided loud conversationalists and listened for breaking branches. A dude with a boom box passed us with his posse. Okay. This is a wilderness area and the third time this year someone has blared music while hiking. What are they thinking?

I had to say something this time.

“Dude. Although I appreciate that your music is turned down to a reasonable level, this is a place where people go for peace and quiet. You should turn it off.”

The group kept walking. He yelled something back at me. I think he said, “Thanks! Have a nice day.” Pshh.

The temperature dropped and the wind picked up. I didn’t want to get caught in a storm. It was hard to tell what kind of weather was afoot with all the smoke. We turned around. Continue reading

Amazing Outdoor Photos from WRFChallengers

Have you wanted to commit to exercise, but can’t seem to get into a routine? Here’s what’s working for me.

Take the 90 day Wild Rider Fitness Challenge. It ends on September 8th with a Wild Party. It’s super easy. Really! Exercise two or more times a week and get outside at least once. That’s all! You can walk around your neighborhood or scale a mountain. It’s up to you.

Post photos on Instagram and Twitter of your outdoor adventures and tag them #WRFChallenge. I’ll continue to feature some of them here. Or you can blog about your own adventure and link it to Join the Wild Rider Fitness Challenge, so more can join.

Here’s what the WRFChallengers have been up to!

Ginger Calem ran with an eagle in Texas.

Continue reading

Tell Me. How In The Hell Did It Get There?

the pondI peered out the window through bleary eyes while sipping my first cup of coffee and assumed my Bichon Roxy had carried something into the yard from a wastebasket. She has a doggie door. I’ve found socks and other sundry items, including underwear, scattered about our lawn, but it’s been a while.

Later in the day, I looked out from an upstairs window and remembered my early morning sighting. Something strange sat in the middle of our lawn. Although the grass hadn’t greened up its white surface gleamed.

I ran, okay, limped to the back door of the house and slipped on my shoes. Roxy accompanied me as I walked toward the strange shape. Continue reading