Who’s home in the prairie…

large hole in the ground

Hole that appeared over night.

Just the other day as we were leaving for work I noticed this large excavation beside the driveway. Someone new was moving in. Not sure who, but I’m guessing a groundhog/woodchuck.

Besides the new woodchuck home, we also have a new yard cat… a beautiful calico cat. It runs away if we walk outside, but seems quite comfortable hunting near the house. Normally I would worry because I don’t like the fact that some cats hunt birds, but this one seems to be hunting ground squirrels and mice… and we have an overpopulation problem when it comes to ground squirrels! It’s cute when you see seven small heads sticking out of a hole, but not great when their tunnels keep expanding and they’re living off your garden. When you have an abundance of prey nature has a way of sending in predators to keep the population in check. The milk snakes and hawks don’t seem to be keeping up so now they have some help.

Other new arrivals include the fawn we saw nestled in the tall grass of the prairie and an upland sandpiper. The past few years we’ve had an upland sandpiper in the area. When Lilly and I are walking the upland sandpiper is often flying over head… while I have not seen it’s nest I have heard  it calling and seen it flying back and forth across the prairie. Having an upland sandpiper in the area is a treat since they are protected species and prefer large open landscapes such as prairie and fields. The upland sandpiper will hopefully have a home here for a very long time in the future since the neighbors 200+ acres (currently CRP grassland) will become a conservation area that is part of the Southwest Wisconsin Grassland and Stream Conservation Area (SWGSCA).

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