My Uncle often sends me photos of the wildlife from his garden in USA so I asked him to do a guest blog about his visitors.
Fifteen years ago I moved from London to New York and then three years later surprised myself by moving from New York to the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. The city boy became Grizzly Adams minus the beard and firearms.
The Pocono Mountains is a plateau 90 miles west of New York and 2000 feet above sea level.
In the Winter it can get very cold and becomes a ski resort. When summer comes and the snow disappears the ski resort reverts to a water park as temperatures often hit the mid nineties. This change in weather means there is a very varied array of flora, fauna and incredible wildlife.
The bird life is truly amazing. I was not expecting the masses of vibrant colours and sounds. At times you would think you are in the rainforest not a wooded lot in PA. The first birds I noticed were the Red Cardinals, the males are a really vibrant fire engine red and the females a light brown with bright red beaks and trimmings. The same family of Cardinals have been lunching on my bird feeder for over a decade now and I have watched as the babies become parents. They are not migratory birds so I can follow them throughout the year. To add to the Red cardinals there are yellow and blue finches, Blue jays and a whole host of woodpeckers with red head markings. I have only ever seen an Eagle once in the past 10 years but I remember it well, it was the biggest bird I have ever seen in the wild with a wingspan that I assess at about four feet. It was perched on the branch of a tree and when it took off it looked like the whole tree moved, a very impressive sight. One morning I woke up to look out of the window to see my lawn completely covered in Turkeys. There must have been at least twenty feeding off my lawn without a care in the world.
The wildlife in my yard is very varied. There are Groundhogs, Deer, Chipmunks, Skunk, Raccoons and did I mention Black Bears. The Groundhogs love the shed I put in the yard and within weeks of it arriving they had extended their network of tunnels from the wood to run under the shed. There are entrances on each side of the shed. The Groundhogs are elusive creatures and will dive for cover at the slightest noise. The young arrive in Spring and are never seen far from the shed.
The real residence of the land are the herd of deer that feed there on a daily basis. The most I have ever seen at once are twelve but that didn’t include the dominant six point male so I know there are more.
The six point refers to the number of horns on the male deer. I recognise a lot of the deer, one of the herd had an accident several years ago and only has three working legs. I was worried about her at first but they are resilient creatures and three years later, the deer I call Bendy is thriving and an important member of the herd. While beautiful creatures they do eat everything so you have to buy deer resistant plants
Oh and did I mention the Black bears? I was at the house for about six years before I spotted my first Black bear. I knew they were there because they had eaten several of my bird feeders. I would find bird feeders that had been crushed, clearly by a giant paw. One morning I went out to load up the car when I heard a sound behind me, I turned around and there 20 feet away was a massive Black bear looking at me. I jumped in the car, turned the engine on and shone the lights at the bear. It ambled off back into the woods. I have seen the bear a few times since then and have been lucky to capture it on camera. In London I would complain about Foxes in my dustbins, well here it is Bears in your bird feeder.
I still have a few animals I would like to see. I think I spotted two Coyotes the other day but I haven’t seen them since so not confident enough to call that yet. I know there are Bobcats in the area and would love to get one of them on film.
Well who knows what I will find next time I go to load up the car.