Thursday, June 14, 2018

Another Day in the Neighborhood

When we moved to the country, I fully expected to encounter wildlife in all its forms, and this post is testimony to that dream, fulfilled.  And we've only been here 60 days!

My trail cam is the gift that keeps on giving … like a kid on Christmas morning, I retrieve the SIM card every few days and practically jog back to the house to see what has been wandering around the 'back 40'.

On May 23, the beaver(s) worked from 7.53 pm to 2.30 am as
documented by the trail cam.  A couple of days later, the trail cam
captured the lower right hand shot of mist rising off the lake as    
the sun rises.  I call it "Swimming Home from Work". 
If you read my May 23 post, you know that an active beaver pair has dammed the lake on the edge of our property.  At that time, I did not have any of my own pictures of the beaver … a situation that has now been rectified!

In my six months with the trail cam, I have learned that it can capture changes in the environment in addition to candid shots of animals (such as snow disappearing, in my May 10 post).  While the trail cam was focused on the beaver dam, it documented the sunset and the resulting reflections in the lake.

And I love this picture of the 'bubbles' on the lake's surface, created by large raindrops.

You may be wondering how I decide on the location of the trail cam - mostly it involves observing events (beaver is building a dam) and positioning the camera accordingly.  From my blogging perch on the deck, I noticed a dead tree frequented by Columbian Ground Squirrels.  Turned out to be a good choice for a photo studio!
Good morning, madam!

Let's see - safe to take a snooze?

Oh, this sun feels SOOO good ...

Yeah, baby, this is the life …
Until that TURKEY shows up!
Of course, some forms of wildlife are not welcome, and can be a downright nuisance or problem.  Within a 24-hour period, we discovered a carpenter ant invasion (not a good thing in a log home) and a squirrel that had set up house in the bottom of the barbecue.  The latter was easily solved (remove the nest - no babies, folks!) but the ants will require ongoing vigilance ….

(And now I have an inkling who was scratching away at my patio cushions … could it be the squirrel in search of nesting material?)  We now have our cushions safely stored in this handy dandy shed!

(And then there was the recent episode with the fan in my 4runner, which was making flapping noises.  Upon servicing it, the technician showed Spousal Unit a large hole that had been gnawed in the air filter!!!  Apparently, this is a frequent event with vehicles that are parked outside in Montana.  Good thing that our garage now has space for both cars to be inside!)

Swallows had won the nesting boxes from the mountain bluebirds, but then the squirrels came along and made the entrances larger by gnawing around the circumference of the hole.  Exit the swallows … Grrrr.  (Are you noticing a repetitive villain here by the moniker of SQUIRREL?)

When I need to calm myself (how dare those carpenter ants chew MY logs?), I go for a walk.  And I find plenty to distract me.  First, geese flying overhead.  Listen for the flapping wings …

And the flowers always put me in a better mood!!!
Upper left: Cinquefoil; Upper Middle: Blue Violet;
Upper Right: Butter and Eggs
Lower left: reflection in lake; Lower right: Shooting Star

Top and lower right: Painted turtle -  I ran into
this turtle on the old logging road on our
property, and was amazed to see it several
days in a row, including an episode of 
apparent egg laying not too far from our
deck … Middle left: Narrowleaf Collomia
Middle right: Rose
Lower left: Starry Wild Lily of the Valley

And there's almost always some sort of surprise, like this turtle in the middle of the road!

Last year, we had no rain for over 90 days, spanning most of the summer.  So, although I haven't checked the stats, I know we have already accumulated more rain in June than we had all of last summer.  I love watching the sky as the storm clouds move in.

Spousal Unit, from his chair near the great room windows, had observed the lone coyote loping by in the dusk, so I moved my trail cam in the hopes of capturing more shots of this iconic hunter.  So far, no luck with the coyote, but maybe I got something even better … (please note that the trail cam was only 20 yards from our house for these shots.)


Black bear

Linking to 

All Seasons

I Like Thursday

Mosaic Monday

Nature Notes

Saturday's Critters

Skywatch Friday


  1. Wow - that is a lot of wildlife! Gorgeous.

  2. What a fabulous assortment of visitors and passers-by! Wow, I'd never see that many critters at my house!

  3. You truly do live in paradise with the sighting of all those animals and gorgeous wildflowers. Fabulous photos, Angie.

  4. Your trail cam has been a great investment Angie. It certainly shows what shy animals are around when they think we we are not.

    Those squirrels. Get spousal unit to make some metal plates with the hole size you need and then screw them over the existing wood. It works for us in keeping woodpeckers from enlarging nest box holes.

  5. Hello, love the trail cam pics. The bear is awesome. I am glad you caught those carpenter ants quickly, before any damage. Love the pretty sky and flowers. Have a happy day and weekend!

  6. sure live in a gorgeous spot, your trail cam is a gift that keeps on giving!

  7. You are right in the midst of so much wildlife. Love the trail cam and all the great shots of animals coming and going. Can't wait to see what discoveries you make next week.

  8. You are obviously making very good use of your trail cam and I am sure that there will be other surprises to come. As for the squirrels I am convinced they all have the brains of an Einstein. Every time a I try to beat them they defeat me! I install a metal washer around the entrance hole of my nest boxes and that at least prevents them from enlarging the hole.

  9. How wonderful! You have had some grand experiences! Thank you for sharing!

  10. What a lovely bunch of neighbors you have. Not the pests, but all the others.

    Have a fabulous day. ♥

  11. Your photos are great! And so clear. You do live in a wonderful place. I am sorry about the carpenter ants though. They are so hard to get rid of.

    I've never seen a flicker before, I guess they are a nortnern bird, and I haven't seen a ground squirrel for years. Do you have chipmunks too? They are so cute, but so destructive.

  12. I love looking at your animal visitors. Look at that bear! I hope you are able to clear up the ant problem. I sure understand your feelings of not wanting to be inside lately. It has been lovely. I keep going out in my gardens to tweak and arrange my art. We are due for a few rainy days again, so I am heading out again. Enjoy! Kit

  13. Fabulous selection of wildlife you have there! I don't know where to start, so I'll start at the end...a bear! I'm impressed. I always loved to see bears in the wild, and sometimes got a little too close in hopes of a photograph. A trail cam would have been very handy!
    My other favourite would be the beaver...much beloved in Canada! Thanks for sharing so much with us.
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  14. Yikes! That black bear got my attention. Love seeing the beavers, too. What fun to see their progress. Oh boy, it's good to know what needs to be put away including your cars to avoid gnawing! Monet could have used a trail cam since he liked to paint the same landscape in different light! :)
    Hope you get a handle on and can deter those carpenter ants! Happy weekend to you.

  15. So cool all the animals you capture on your trail cam!! Really amazing, and I love the variety. Lots of healthy critters in your area!

  16. The increase of bear sightings this summer seems to be going up! Seems like everyone has been seeing them the last few weeks.

  17. Wow you certainly see lots of wildlife around you. Without the trail cam you might never know how much wildlife is actually there.
    Great pictures.

  18. Wonderful photos with your cam ~ mixed blessing having nature's critters all around you ~

    Happy Weekend to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  19. Angie, Those trail cams are such a wonderful way to see animals without disturbing them. The water pond with beavers is very nice. Love the turkey! Have a great weekend. Sylvia D.

  20. Hello, your neighborhood is awesome for wildlife sightings. Wonderful collection of critters and photos. Thank you so much for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your day and weekend. PS, thank you for visit and commenting on my post. I love the Pileated woodie too.

  21. You have an abundance of wildlife in that area. You wouldn't want to go for your walk without your camera! Thanks for sharing the pics and videos!

  22. Stunning photos, and my favourite is a Black Bear, fantastic.

  23. what a great idea the "trail cam" is. So interesting to see what has been going on. Enjoy. Have a great week and thank you for visiting my blog last week.

  24. That trail cam is capturing lots of interesting things and excitement!

  25. The animals seem to be fine and dandy about their new human neighbors. :-) At the tail end of reading your post, sirens in the near distance startled me. My imagination had transported me to your trail. Thanks for the delightfulness, Angie.

  26. You're going to have lots of interesting photos and movies of the local wildlife. I hope you can keep the ants at bay! I do love the storm clouds and I'm glad to hear you have a lot more rain than you did last summer.

  27. Wow such great photos. I always wanted to live in Montana, or Northern Wyoming....I can live vicariously through you. :D

  28. That trail cam is brilliant. Truly is like receiving a wonderful gift every time you check it. We have a major problem with ants around here, especially during the summer when they are trying to make their nests everywhere and are always looking for food.

  29. Hi Angie! What wonderful photos from your trail cam! Nature is ever changing and I'm sure you will have a front row seat to observe much, both from your house deck to your trail cams.
    We found the squirrels here in Colorado are very aggressive. I had to give up trying to feed the birds as they will empty a bird feeder in record time and seem to be able to figure their way around any hazard placed to deter them. I've actually seen them eating the leaves from my trees. Another culprit is the plethora of Magpies we have here. They will also eat anything, including baby birds--ugh. Then we have bunnies. They ate all the columbine flowers in my garden. The then fox come to eat the bunnies--not a pleasant sight to see. We do see a lot of the "circle of life" here over time.
    A mother doe gave birth to twin fawns in my neighbor's backyard and used my backyard flowers as her salad bar for a few days. I did not mind until she began to eat a shrub down to the ground, so had to spray it with a safe "Deer Off" spray to amke her chose another place to graze. We had a lot of fun watching the fawns grow until they could move on to a new place.
    One caution about bears. Try not to have anything that attracts them to your property--bird feeders are a no no, no outside pet food dishes, or berry bushes or fruit trees. Once a bear finds a source of food they will always return to it, and if they get used to looking for food where people are it means they will have to be forcefully removed by your Dept of Wildlife, and sometimes sadly destroyed. A bear can smell even a scented lip gloss tube from 5 miles away and will do anything to get it, especially in the fall when they have to consume 22,000 calories a day to prepare for hibernation. Best to have them stay far away from your home.
    Good luck with the carpenter ants. We've had that problem from time to times as we have a large wooded retaining wall in our backyard. So far we've taken care of the problem ourselves, but if it got out of control we'd hire an exterminator. They can be very persistent!

  30. Well you certainly have a wealth of wildlife on your doorstep.

  31. Your trail cam is getting good use and providing you (and us) with great images! Lots and lots of inhabitants in your woods. Squirrels can be such pesky things.
    Love those lake shots with the reflections.

  32. What a great idea your trail cam. I would love to find who has been visiting, that bear is amazing. You are certainly surrounded by much beautiful nature - wanted and unwanted! Enjoy all that beautiful fresh air!
    Wren x

  33. Your life in the heart of nature looks so exciting filled with unexpected surprises. Of course there are two sides of a coin for everything like pretty critters and flowers, and troublesome carpenter ants. As to the sky with storm clouds, I’m torn; the sky can be so dramatic but the storm is unwelcome. Thanks for the video; I like the spacious sky where the geese flying in formation above your head.

  34. What a boon for your Nature watching your trail cam has turned out to be, so many different creatures stopping by night and day, Love that shot of the squirrel and the turkey and the bear, oh my!
    Hope you get to grips with those carpenter ants, they certainly don't sound like good news for your beautiful log home.
    Thanks for sharing it all with us at MM this week.

  35. thanks for visiting and commenting again ~ hope you are enjoying all the wild life you have ~ makes me want to get a cam for outside!

    Happy Week to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  36. I'm not sure that I would want to meet that bear in person but I enjoyed your photos very much. You live in a beautiful part of the world.

  37. Wonderful share. Luv the painted turtle and the flowers best of all. Happy you dropped by my blog this week


  38. Ang, love the trail cam! I would have to resist the urge to check it everyday!
    Totally entertained as usual by your adventure's.
    Say Hi to all for us ;-)

  39. how wonderful, not only seeing them but capture them as well. love it!

  40. These look like photos from MY trailcam! We have a frog pond, a path, and the wetland on the other side, where wildlife funnels along. It is a great place for photos! Such fun. The bears have given us no trouble since I put feeders away. Lovely photos!

  41. Some incredible images from your cam. I can feel your excitement heading back with the card to view what animals stopped by. Sounds like fun.

  42. With my trailcam, every few days I change it over to video. I think I miss some shots as it is slower to capture video than it is to capture still photos. Thanks for visiting! I'm like you, jogging up the hill to the house to see what I find! This morning, it was my granddaughter! They were visiting.

  43. A lovely wildlife post, especially the joys, but I'm glad you shared the problems too. (So that we don't get completely envious of your mountain paradise!) it is so beautiful there -- and how fun to have the trail cam ... you are really capturing some magic moments!

  44. Wow..what a place to live..We deal with carpenter ants sometimes with our cedar shake house...I would love a yard cam..I have to look into that..Michelle

  45. WoW!!! you are capturing some really special moments and wildlife on your trail cam. i can really relate to your "kid on christmas" comment, i often feel that way when i load pictures on to my computer when some captures are better than i expected them to be!!!

    gorgeous clouds, beautiful bear and what a skinny deer!!!


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