Monday, April 30, 2012

Wildlife on the Trail

Wildlife on the Trail

We ride in a very urban park, and see a whole lot of people, but we still see a lot of animals, too. The most common thing we see is the white-tailed deer. They are all over. Sometimes they startle the horses if they move suddenly, but usually they aren’t a problem. Cruiser likes to chase after them.

We see the usual amount of chipmunks and squirrels. We actually have red squirrels, fox squirrels, gray squirrels and black squirrels. I think they are all cute, but my favorite is the red ones. We call them speed squirrels because they are so fast. They are there and gone before you know it. Chipmunks have been known to startle Ranger.

The Canadian geese can be a problem at nesting time. We have been flown at and attacked. Unfortunately, we have one nesting on the hill that leads down to the river. They can get very militant while they are sitting on their eggs. So far, we only had one run in with this one, and it wasn’t a bad one. The geese just aren’t afraid of horses. Cruiser likes to chase them.

I love when we see the wild turkeys. We have a flock of over a dozen that sometimes parades through. The horses don’t really know what to do with them. If it was one, I don’t think they would care—it’s just the size of the flock that confuses them. They just stand there, puzzled, until they pass. If we see them enough, I bet Cruiser would like to chase them.

We have other large birds. There are the red-tailed hawks, blue herons, mallard and wood ducks, buzzards, owls and on a great day, we will see a bald eagle. Their nest isn’t too far away—as the eagle flies—and they fish in the river.

Towards dusk, we might see a raccoon or ground hog. That’s usually when we will see an owl. I’ll hear them more often than see them. Usually, it’s the barred owl that I hear.

Sometimes, we will see a turtle. That always gets Kevin really excited. He loves turtles.

Now and then, we will see something rare like a red fox, mink or coyote. The coyotes make the horses uneasy. They are amazingly big and they move so quietly. The horses know that they aren’t dogs. I know there are beaver because I have seen the damage they have done, but they come out late—same with the possums and skunks. Sometimes we will see an early bat.

I’m glad to say that the black bears haven’t made it quite this far west. There have been sightings in the far eastern edges of the park. I am hoping they don’t cross the highways between here and there. I just don’t know how our horses would deal with them.

The wildlife doesn’t seem to be afraid of horses, so we typically can get a better look at it when we are riding. It’s one of the neat bonuses of trail riding.

1 comment:

achieve1dream said...

Wow you do see a lot of wildlife!! I hope I can find such a nice place to trail ride once I'm riding Chrome. :D