Now that the weather is 'just' cold and rainy, the critters have come up for their food at night as before...they hibernated in the 6 and 8 degree nights. So last night I was really surprised not to have any 'customers' at my 'cafe' on the terrace. And the two skunks and one 'coon who did come up early seemed very nervous, watching the woods more than usual and skittish whenever I walked down the glass hallway. I even threw out some coveted pecans and vanilla cookies and hoped for the best that would lure them......
Around 9 p.m I got up to see if any food had disappeared and lo and behold, there was the little gray fox! I hadn't seen him since the spring, and so had assumed the worst. He looked wonderful, and best of all, I could hardly tell his foot had been badly mangled, he was running on it so well -- only when he jumped the terrace wall and ran into the woods could I tell he had a slight limp.
Although they had eaten together before, maybe now that he was healed he became more of a predator again than before. Tonight there is the usual crowd of 5 coons and a few skunks, so I assume the fox has moved on. I can open the door to throw out more food and the skunks will stay on the terrace. They have never gotten into the 'spray' position. When they turn away and 'aim' at you they warn you. When they stamp their front feet, you'd better be retreating. They only spray as a last resort. Contrary to belief, they don't spray easily. They have a certain amount in reserve and tend to use it judiciously!
A flying squirrel has moved back into a roosting pocket near the front door. I had one live there for a summer and fall, but it's been two years since I've seen one and I think they are so cool. Since they are nocturnal, they don't like the activity during the day. The bluebird box has been occupied by bluebirds roosting together at night to keep warm. The blue and green herons are back fishing on the pond.
The mustangs love the cold weather. They are in their element. Burr----I'll stay inside!