I hope you enjoy some of the animals that inhabit the Farm at Erway’s Christmas Tree Adventure where I spend some of my time. The geese and duck will most likely be gone by the time the weather gets colder, but the deer, elk and zebra are here to greet visitors that come for the holidays. The koi are here also, but by the time the Farm is open to the public, they will be deep in their pond and very inactive.
I took you to the plant auction here at the farm because that is something you don’t see everyday. This is a real wholesale nursery and it specializes in trees and shrubs. Not too often will you get to visit a wholesale nursery, or be able to purchase at wholesale pricing.
It is probably not very often you can get so close to deer either. I know many of you battle the deer in your gardens and home landscapes, but here they have both wild deer in the fields, and breeding stock in the deer pens. The farm grows corn at the field perimeter to keep the wild deer from damaging the trees and shrubs. It seems to work out pretty well.
The tame breeding stock have improved genetics to grow a better looking and stronger deer. It is similar to breeding stock in horses, but with horses it is about performance as well. I raised show horses in Pennsylvania and am familiar with why genetics are important.
I show the lake a lot here because it is a little different from one on a residential property. It is very large and was created by the farm owner. It really is a wildlife sanctuary. Remember my post on the Canada Geese nesting? The island in the middle of the lake is a predator free area for the geese to lay their eggs. The fox and coyote do not swim out this far. But at hatching time, it is a danger zone for the young with hawks, eagles and snapping turtles waiting for them to get mobile.
The above images are the duck nesting box that is lakeside. The images also show the interior of the box and how is can be cleaned by the access door.
This is a view of the lake in Spring photographed from a row-boat. This view is looking toward the big island where the geese are nesting.
The Farm also has elk and he is charging me in this image. It is very disconcerting as he trots toward me, raising and lowering his antlers. I am pretty safe though, since two fences are between him and me. This was the first year he ever was so nasty to me, as we were kinda friends. He lost an eye this year in an accident, and I am guessing he is grumpier due to that. He is rutting right now too, so the aggression is natural. He was snorting and vocalizing and that is also a little scary. I went back later after he calmed down and he was fine.
The koi are friendly, coming right up to me, but will be soon living deep in their very large pond.
I really enjoy all the native wildlife and the more exotic creatures too. It is rutting time for the deer also. You can just see a smidge of deer rubbing on the downed tree. Deer are rough on trees at this time of year. I read that very few buck rubs are made by deer removing antler velvet, but instead are made by a few dominant bucks to signal their readiness to breed and to announce to other bucks their control over a given area. I find deer rubbings all over the woods at the farm. The owner taught me how to spot them.
The koi are so relaxing to watch. This is a springtime photo.
This deer is hiding in the brush. They are masters of camouflage and it is tough to sneak up on one. You could walk right past this one and never be the wiser to its presence. There are two ways to hide in plain site if you are a wild animal, and if you use color for concealment like the deer – concealing coloration and disruptive coloration. Concealing coloration is just as it sounds, where the deer uses color to conceal itself by blending into the surroundings of brush, soil and trees, taking on the brownish tones of the landscape.
Did you ever notice that earth-toned deer are more golden/reddish-brown in summer and greyish in late fall and winter? This is observation on my part, but fawns use disruptive coloration along with concealing coloration. Their spots help them fit in under the dappling leaves of summer without detection. Also, fawns are very close to odorless at birth and for the next couple days of life. Nature really provided for the little Bambi’s of the woodlands.
A better example of disruptive coloration is the zebra at the end of the post. Those dizzying stripes are meant to confuse predators when in groups and also, blend in with the waving grasses of the plains if they are solitary.
And this is Marty, who was recently featured on Green Apples. I like this photo of him because the lighting was pretty streaming across his face.