Outdoors Column: The Morning Show

How time flies when we are having fun. It feels like we are moving into fall already. One day is hot and the next is almost chilly. This morning, while sitting on the porch with my coffee and dogs, it was only fifty degrees. Last week, while doing the same thing at the same time of day, the temperature was seventy-five on its way to ninety-five. Looking out across the lake, I could see the local wildlife were enjoying the cool morning as much as the dogs and me.

Five deer were on top of the dam. Though the fawns are almost grown, it could tell it was two does with three fawns. Two fawns ran across the dam toward the house chasing each other and playing until one of the dogs squeezed their squeaky toy. The sharp piercing noise caused the fawns to skid to a halt, turn, and run back to their mothers. The dogs stopped playing long enough to watch the white flags waving as the fawns ran away. The does could hear the dogs playing and looked around but were not concerned. I am sure they have heard the sound enough to know it does not mean any danger.

The cool air rolling down the valley and hitting the warm water caused a dense fog on the surface of the lake. Several geese murmured to each other, unseen as they fed near the edges, hidden by the fog. Eighteen or twenty teal rose from the mist and circled around several times before turning toward the west and flying away.

The sun was rising in a perfectly clear blue sky. I glanced up toward the top gate as the shadows were creeping down the hill. Two hen turkeys were making their way down the path looking as though they were going to the lake for a drink. Suddenly, about fifteen turkey poults broke from the timber and started running after their mothers. Two of three would stop to try to catch a grasshopper or some other tasty bug in one place while others were doing the same a few feet away. The group was moving quickly down the path with frequent stops and starts. It made it impossible to get an accurate count on the flock of babies. Closer to the water, the hens and their broods disappeared in the tall grass. I could tell approximately where they were by the swaying grass and see a head pop out to get a drink at the lakes edge.

When I returned from getting another cup of coffee, shadows no longer covered the lake. Everything had disappeared. The geese flew off to feed in someone’s cornfield and the turkeys went back to the timber to eat acorns. The deer bedded down for the day, either in the tall grass or the nearby timber. The morning show was over.

Dawn and dusk are the best time to watch wildlife as they get ready for their day or prepare for the night. The beginning of fall is great wildlife viewing as they plan for the change of season ahead.