Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bobcat on English Lane

This picture of a bobcat was taken at English Lane by Bridget Kelly yesterday. I've had lots of people tell me about bobcat they have seen in Shelton, but this is the first time someone was able to cough up a photo. Well done, Bridget! I hear about bobcats most often in the White Hills, the Nell's Rock area, and Pine Rock Park, along the lower Far Mill River (that one is said to screech at night). Last year a Conservation Commission member watched a large bobcat stalk some deer in his backyard near Indian Well S.P.

Bobcats have very large territories, depending on the food supply and gender, that range from 6 to 60 square miles, and they follow a circuitous route that may take days to complete. So a particular bobcat seen in the White Hills might also be seen in another part of town, or even in some other town.

Watch your pets, folks! Bobcats are known to attack cats and small dogs. As you can see, though, they are beautiful animals.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tree Eating Itself

This old maple tree on the Paugussett Trail in Monroe appears to be eating itself. The tree center rotted into dirt about six feet up, and you can see the tree has actually put roots down into the dirt. Hey, whatever works.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Mohegan Lake, Fairfield

The 170-acre park at Mohegan Lake in Fairfield is heavily used by dog owners, since they can take their dogs off-leash. There were about 20 cars in the parking lot today, in the middle of February, and most everyone had dogs. It's a beautiful park, although there is an unfortunate amount of erosion from the heavy use. The top photo shows a nicely done foot bridge over yet another "Mill River" (how many Mill Rivers are there in CT?).

There are two reservoirs formed by the damming of the Mill River, with trails encircling both water bodies. Here the river flows into the larger reservoir.

This last picture shows the mini "pine cones" of alder. These tall shrubs create thickets along the shores of ponds and "fix" nitrogen with their roots.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

White Hills Pheasant

This ring-necked pheasant was spotted by George Magdon off of Birdseye Road in the White Hills of Shelton. Pheasant are not native to the US (they originally came from Asia) but they have naturalized in agricultural areas, and are also sometimes stocked for hunting. It's a bird of farms, not forests, more often seen in the Midwest.
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Monday, February 9, 2009

Winter Feeding

Survival is tough this time of year, especially with all the snowfall we've had. The picture above, taken on Buddington Road, shows exactly how high the deer can reach. In the winter deer "browse," which means they eat the ends off of twigs. In the summer they are more likely to "graze" on herbaceous wildflowers or grass.
The second picture, taken at Bicentennial Park in Berlin, shows where a squirrel punched through a very hard, crusty snow (probably by chewing a hole in the ice), found an acorn under the hole, and then left the acorn shell on the snow, which was about 6 inches deep. They used to say that squirrels remember where they buried their acorns, but now they say they just smell them under the snow. The Shelton area had very few acorns this year and I imagine the squirrels are desparately hungry right about now.
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