Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Winter View, Back Deck

I took this picture from my back deck during one of the unending grey winter days of the past week or so. I’m facing due west, and my nearest neighbor in this direction lives somewhere over at the base of the far mountain—over a mile away. At night and after the leaves fall, I can sometimes see their porch light from my deck.

In the valley between is a small pond and a usually year-round stream and, of course, more forest. When I hear the great horned owls call, the sound usually comes from somewhere down in the valley. Years ago, at some point, there was a summer camp in the valley. I can still find the remnants of an old swimming pool and the bathrooms along the old two-track dirt road that runs along the stream.

It’s not unusual to have deer wandering through here. In some years I’ve had fox, but when I have red fox, I never also see gray fox, and when I have gray fox, the reds aren’t anywhere to be found. The cats usually let me know when the fox are around. They must hear them, even when I can’t. They will suddenly race for a window and line up along it to look out. I see wild turkey around the cabin, but I don’t think I’ve ever had them right in this view.

I can almost hawkwatch from the back deck, as it’s not unusual for migrants to travel along the valley, though the trees interfere with my view. I’ve seen red-tailed hawk, raven, bald eagle, kestrel, both turkey and black vultures and sharp-shinned hawks from here. I’ve never seen merlin, peregrine falcons, goshawk or rough-legged hawks at Roundtop, but I’m ever hopeful.

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