Earlier this afternoon, my chicken, Athena, had a bit of a squawking fit. Athena is the only hen left after a predator took out the rest of my flock over a year ago. I'm not sure what the predator was, but I somewhat suspect raccoons. In any case, Athena is understandably a little bit dramatic about anything that makes her nervous. I went out to investigate the cause of her commotion, and I couldn't see anything that looked out of place. She is in a large dog crate during the daytime, out on the grass, until we build her new coop - so she is safe. I peeked around the corner of the house and there I saw a furry little bottom disappearing around the corner. Ah-hah! So it wasn't just a falling leaf or a large dragonfly giving Athena the jitters!
I rushed inside, grabbed my camera, and stealthily crept out into the backyard to see if I could find the owner of the furry bottom. Sure enough, I heard a little scrabbling noise under the former homeowner's dog house. I peered underneath (it's raised up on a platform) and saw that furry bottom going out the other side. I slowly made my way around so I could see the back of the dog house. There was the furry front end glaring at me - a groundhog!
I took a picture from quite a distance, not expecting to be able to get much closer. You can just see him right in the middle of the picture. I thought he'd dash off as I tried to approach for a better shot.
He was surprisingly obliging about being photographed though! He let me get within about 10 feet of him before toddling off. I love his brown "sleeves" - what a cute little critter.
I watched for a while and he went back under the dog house, and then poked his head out as if to see if I was still there. I was, so I talked softly to him and said I was just watching if he didn't mind too much, and that I was quite happy to have him in the yard. He seemed to listen, just watching me quietly.
After a while he went around to the front of the dog house where there are concrete pavers, and he lay flat out on them. I think they are cool, and perhaps that helped him feel cooler because it was a warm day. He flattened out very well, but when he heard my footstep, he came back up on his front paws. I did manage to get a rather good picture of him though, as he sat there on the pavers.
A bit later, I saw him again and got a picture of him on the edge of the woods. It appears that he's been in a fight or something because he has a patch of fur on his right rear haunch that is short or maybe missing.
Again I sat and watched him for a while and he eventually turned and trotted off into the woods, waving his little bottle-brush tail behind him. I hope I'll see this groundhog again - its lovely to have wildlife visiting!