Monday, July 24, 2017

Motherhood by Mother Nature

What a wonderful animal observation moment we had while returning home from yesterdays adventure. We had headed up to the Uinta mountains to check out the wildflowers and take a little hike, and while the wildflowers were beautiful, a mountain rainstorm and reluctant old dog derailed our hiking plan. So we decided to head out the Mirror Lake highway through the Wyoming route and after a bit of exploring the vast and beautiful expansive range lands in the middle of nowhere Utah/Wyoming we looped back to Utah through Chalk Creek Canyon. It was that 'deer time" time of the evening and the light was so pretty so when we spied our first two deer grazing in a farmers field we pulled over to take a look.

As we stopped the car I noticed movement next to the road. "Babies! There were babies" Two fawns were hanging out next to the road unable cross the fence to join mom. As I hung my head out of the car window to snap a few pictures the fawns were clearly nervous about the big green monster (Subaru) who had stopped right near them. They paced along the fence, bobbing their heads, looking for an opening for escape. I could not hear them but I'm sure there was a panicked mule deer language call for help, because mom, who was about a hundred yards away headed back up the hill to help.

"Momma! I'm scared! How do I get under this fence?"

"This way! Follow me! Maybe if we go this way we can find a way!"

As we watched, mom effortlessly (it was almost as if she levitated) leaped over the fence and crossed the road. She paused on the hillside for a moment to wait for her kids. They skittishly crossed the pavement but rather than just running away as we thought they would, the fawns excitedly started suckling! How cool! Were they seeking comfort and security because they were scared or were just hungry since they had been left along the side of the road while mom had dinner in the pasture? Mom kept a wary eye on us as they nursed. Of course I wanted a picture but was sitting on the wrong side of the car so I handed Shin my camera so he he could snap a few shots from the drivers side.

After a moment mom seemed to say "Hey kids, that's enough, we need to get out of here" and lifted her hind leg to swat her baby off of her teat. After dislodging the fawns she again leaped over the fence, and head up the hill, while her poor babies scurried around once again trying to find a way through the fence.

"Enough! Let's gets going"

It was quite interesting to watch, and to anthropomorphize about maternal care in the world of deer.

"What kind of mom just leaves her babies along the side of the road while she goes to dinner?"
"Well, she did come back when she realized they were distressed, she must not be a bad mom."
"What kind of mom kicks her kid in the head while it's eating? That seems a little rough"
"There she goes again, leaving her kids stuck on the road side of the fence... some mom"

"Crap, we're stuck again! Thanks mom"

I guess the ways of mother nature are a little different for deer than humans. Maybe nature is cruel, or perhaps its just a little tough love that leads to survival of the fittest.

For us biologist types getting to observing their behavior was a real treat. Another nice perk of life on road less traveled.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Pretty Potties!

Time for another potty post.... it's been forever... When we went to see the poppies we stopped at the Mantua reservoir to eat our picnic lunch. There is campground convenience store there, and judging from the sign I expected the store to be cute, but when I went inside to use their bathroom I was quite surprised by the adorable bathroom decor!

Every campground need somemores right?

And not at the campground, but elsewhere in town... we found goats.. in doghouses... how adorable!