Tag Archive | mule deer fawn

Spotted Fawns

I’m grateful I was able to spend most of the morning in the garden, replenishing tattered prayer flags, potting up some seedlings, pulling a few weeds, and generally appreciating the beauty of the growing things. I am thrilled with the progress of the bulbing fennel, which grows more lush by the day. In the midst of this joy I took a short break for a phone call, and sat where I could see the south woods. A doe strolled by beyond the yarden fence, and a few seconds later I spotted a quick small creature well behind her. Coyote! I thought, but then came context: another doe followed by two tiny twins. I watched them cross the whole expanse of the south woods from the driveway until they disappeared behind the garden fence, trailing the first doe at a distance. I’m grateful for this minutes-long look at the first spotted fawns of the season. It’s rare to catch more than a fleeting glimpse: Once their mothers spot you the spotted fawns vanish.

We call them ‘spotted fawns’, I guess, because we still call them fawns their first year long after their spots have blended into their lightening coats. When they are newborn and for a month or so after, they have darker brown fur with white spots which makes them disappear into the forest floor like dappled light.

Wren did well with car training again this evening. Her new harness arrived, so even after tightening her strap, even if she could manage to dangle again, it would be by her shoulder girdle and not by her precious neck. With the aid of treats, we moved more quickly from the lap to the seat to driving, and she was a little more relaxed…

Still, when we returned from the mailbox, she was trembling to get out of the car, and let her relief be known with a happy yodel…

After car training, we took a mocktail and some cheese and crackers down to the pond. Wren pointed a doe outside the fence, and I whispered her over to sit beside me for a cheese treat. As we sat quietly, the doe jumped the fence and came to drink at the pond. I could see that she’s nursing. Maybe she is the mother of the twins. I’m grateful to have a water system that makes this pond possible to provide habitat, food, and water to wildlife in this high desert oasis. The deer, I know, are also grateful for this flowing fresh water.

A second doe soon joined the first. Note her swollen teats: she clearly also has a fawn or fawns laying low outside the fence somewhere. Perhaps she is the mother of the twins.
Like the does, I’m grateful for fresh flowing water. I came in for a shower and took a moment to appreciate the beauty of this hot cascade backlit by the setting sun. I am always and deeply grateful for hot running water, for a home with a shower, and a bed to sleep in afterward.

Resilience

The rain shower overnight resulted in .17 inches of measurable precipitation, leaving all the thirsty growing things refreshed.
In particular, mosses that were grey and crusty miraculously greened up by morning.
Mosses and lichens glowed in early morning light.
Dog and cat enjoyed a companionable ramble with me.
Tiny piñon trees climb from the duff while their parents die in shocking numbers from drought and beetles.
Even faded sagebrush is reinvigorated with just a bit of rain.
The notch-eared doe that has been mowing down my patio garden finally brought her twins to the edge of the yard. They’re too small to jump the fence, but she parked them outside and came on in to continue her feast, which will ultimately nourish them, so how can I possibly mind? I was so grateful to see the twins with their mother, after we spooked them in different directions the other evening.
And then, this afternoon, a veritable downpour from the east washed mud off the adobe walls…
…and made actual puddles. The ferocity of the storm, which dumped almost half an inch in half an hour, made me anxious for the phoebe nest under the deck, so after it was all over, I went outside to check the chicks.
I was delighted to find that their new nest location was the only dry space under the deck. The torrential rain must have stirred up terrestrial insects: for at least an hour, as I ‘napped’ on the couch inside just under the nest, an adult brought food every four to twenty seconds. This frequency, well beyond the normal four to five minute span, must have made up for that horrible day when twenty minutes elapsed between feedings and the chicks screamed the whole day. That was an anomaly for sure, and since that awful day (awful for me and for the chicks), feeding frequency has increased daily, reaching its peak in the hours after today’s rain. The babies have doubled in size.

Despite this climate-chaos induced exceptional drought, the indomitable will to live that permeates all plants and animals keeps us living to our utmost. I am grateful for the resilience of Life.

Grateful, too, for the love and laughter, the joie de vivre and resilience of dear friends, who gathered to celebrate some happy milestones; grateful for the elegant setting, and delicious local food so thoughtfully prepared and offered. Grateful, no matter what happens next, for these good times. Grateful above all for the gift of another exceptional day alive.

Spotted Fawns

I don’t have a picture. It happened too fast. This morning we were rambling through the woods, off the main trail, Stellar about two feet ahead of me. He practically stepped on and then stopped and stuck his nose into what I thought was a tiny dead spotted fawn curled up under a tree. I don’t know what happened first. If I hadn’t yelled, “Stellar, leave it!” the fawn might have just lain there. But it seemed like the same instant I called out, the fawn burst up and leapt away, startling both of us. A couple of yards away as it flew the fawn almost trampled Topaz; it screamed (a tiny little scream) and did a half-cartwheel, knocked against some small limbs, leapt a down log, and quickly disappeared.

Topaz followed it with her intent gaze, and though I looked I could no longer see it. I think she could, and I think it didn’t run far. We all three stood there for a few minutes to catch our breath. Then I asked Siri, “What happens when a fawn gets spooked?” seeking some reassurance that it would be fine.

None of Siri’s answers related to a fawn, and were along the lines of “Afraid of your phone? Here’s how to overcome that fear.”

So I tried again, spelling FAWN, and Siri directed me to a number of options which all told me not to disturb a fawn. Too late for that! But one of them did say, if I had removed a fawn from where I found it hiding, to return it to the same area and its mother would come searching for it. So I set aside my anxiety, trusting in the strong maternal bond to reunite the pair, and we rambled on our way. I’m grateful for spotted fawns, for seeing one so tiny so close, so fast and strong.