Backyard Visitor

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Walking into the backyard this afternoon we encountered a surprise, a little porcupine. Our little visitor was happily feasting on the plants in our flowerbeds. As the weather closed in and it started to rain, he moved in close to the house sheltering out of the rain.  He seemed pretty comfortable in the backyard, perhaps he has been there all spring and summer without us noticing him.

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Photography by Debra Hunter

http://www.htheblog.wordpress.com

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The Great Squirrel Relocation Project (Red Deer, Alberta, Canada)

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“Critters” seems to be a reoccurring theme in our life. We’ve had bat situations and ant invasions. We have dealt with raccoons invading shed and garden and mice moving into our house. The latest encounter has been the squirrely-est squirrel we have ever seen.

It all started innocently enough. Sometime in the summer a squirrel moved into one of the huge spruce trees in our front yard. He spent the summer scampering about and doing what squirrels do. Come fall the squirrel went into winter preparation mode, frantically collecting and storing cones from our trees. It was all very interesting to watch. However last week the squirrel experience took a turn.

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Last week the squirrel became too brave. It all started when he decided to start eating the cones while sitting on our deck rail. He was getting a little too close to the house. We remember what happened to the family across the street from us and we didn’t want it to happen to us.  Squirrels invaded their house resulting in having to replace their deck, roof and siding. Of course it doesn’t help that the lady next door was (and still is) FEEDING the squirrels. Why would anyone encourage a problem?

So the squirrel progressed from eating on our deck to bringing cones on to the deck and storing them in our planters. Then he started burying them in our planters. As the cones started to pile up we knew we had to discourage our furry friend, so we started getting rid of the cones. Then the squirrel started to dig up the planters. There was dirt everywhere. We’d clean it up. An hour later, again there was dirt everywhere. At one point we even covered the top of a planter with one of our son’s big toy diggers, and the squirrel tried to dig around it. The squirrel wasn’t getting the message.

Dirt everywhere from the planters.

Dirt everywhere from the planters.

Digging up the planters.

Digging up the planters.

 

It was time to relocate our fluffy tailed friend.

Thanks to our ongoing mouse situation, and my husband’s new hobby of buying traps, we had a brand new live squirrel trap in the basement (as you do!). An accidental purchase thanks to our four year old of peanuts provided the perfect bait. We threw in a few of his cones for good measure.

blog squirrel being relocatedWithin an hour Mr. Squirrel had found a way into the live trap, eaten the peanuts and was ready for his trip to greener forests.

We popped him in the back of the truck, and my husband covered the cage with a tarp. He says it was to keep the squirrel calm. I don’t know. Perhaps it was too similar to classic kidnapping techniques you read about………he was just making sure the squirrel didn’t know where he was going so he didn’t come back.

blog squirrel being releasedWe took the squirrel down to the nature sanctuary. My husband lifted the door and the squirrel was gone in a flash. We’ve never seen a creature move so fast.

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Gaetz Lake sanctuary, Red Deer, AB, Canada

We think the squirrel will be much happier here, even though he will probably miss the steady diet of peanuts our neighbor fed him.

Butterflies

butterflyWe’ve been spending a lot of time outside recently and one of the things we have noticed is there are butterflies everywhere. Little ones, big ones and huge ones. One so huge it was mistaken for a shuttlecock in a badminton game and my poor son accidentally hit it. He felt awful, the butterfly was stunned, but it all ended well when all was said and done. Here are a few pictures of butterflies we have seen in recent days.

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Damselfly

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Well I am back to blogging what I love and what I should be spending my time on. We spent this past Saturday and Sunday at the cabin. It was a mix of fantastic weather and an equally fantastic rain storm. On Sunday we decided to head to Chickakoo natural area for a walk. It is a great place for family walking with most routes ranging between 1-4 km in length. As we neared the end of the walk we had chosen, and the kids were moving a little bit slower, we spotted an area just buzzing with damselflies. Thanks to my husband, who spoiled me with a new macro lens, I was able to capture a few images of these interesting little creatures.

Lake Isle – After the Rain

Lake Isle, Alberta

Our mid-week get away let us experience a windy and soaking rain storm. Once the storm moved to the east we were left with stunning colors and wildlife popping out all over. In addition to many types of birds, we also managed to see a muskrat, two deer and a fox….all in a matter of a few minutes. We were thrilled to see the fox, unfortunately he was quicker than the camera!

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11:40pm and still light in the sky at Lake Isle, Alberta

11:40pm and still light in the sky at Lake Isle, Alberta