Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Ladino Clover and An Encounter With A Young Rabbit

In the last two months I have posted a lot of material pertaining to the meadow I planted for wildlife. As mentioned before, I plant a strip of grain with Ladino Cover growing in the understory. On the following year this usually results in a good growth of the clover, which is an excellent forage crop for wildlife during the warm months.

The photograph below is a close-up look at a Ladino Clover blossom.

Canon 40-D: 100mm f2.8 macro 1/60 sec. f11 ISO 400

In addition to the whitetail deer, woodchucks, and wild turkeys which we have seen in the meadow, one may occasionally spy a cottontail rabbit. At one time these animals were quite common, but today a sighting is rare in this area. In this instance the rabbit was not actually in the wildlife meadow, but he was nearby. There are a few old hay bales there with clover growing around them and this young rabbit has made this his home. He likely uses the bales as a hiding place from predators such as foxes, hawks, and coyotes.

At one time they were a popular small game animal and may still be in certain parts of the country, but since they are so scarce, few hunt them in our area.

Canon 40-D: 500mmf4 L 1/45 sec. f5.6 ISO 400

Stay tuned for more photographs of the plants and animals that may be found in a meadow devoted to wildlife.


Kerri said...

What a cute bunny! I have about 4 or 5 in or near my yard. If I get home in the late afternoon/early evening..I find them munching away.
I don't mind....I lOVE bunnies!

fishing guy said...

Willard: What a great close-up of the clover. That is a nice capture of the rabbit in the wild. We have a lot of them in the city.

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

We often take small flowers like this for granted, without every paying much attention to their beauty. That is a lovely shot!

Bunnies are always cute; I'm glad that one has found a safe haven. Hope it stays, finds a mate and you have lots of little bunnies around soon.

Old Wom Tigley said...

Neat post Willard.
I was on some land yesterday in Derbyshire. It is privately owned lane but as a small track suitable for the land rover.. it is also 'A Right Of Way' is I can legally drive it. When I'm around this area I always make for here. The land is grased by sheep, but is kept mostly for breeding Pheasents for the season shooting. Every time I am here I see maybe in excess of 100 rabbits. Yesterday I saw none. Near to home two or 3 areas are void of rabbits also. I know of others were theres plenty, but it just seems that whole areas are being lost. I am writing to a local wildlife expert about this to see if any answers can be found. Seem such a shame to have lost them.. I'd be surprised if they have been culled to extinction in areas.

Jim said...

I've been following this story Willard and it is fascinating. Any thoughts on why the cottontails are so scarce?

Gretchen said...

What an adorable rabbit! When we're walking the dog, there are a few little ones running across the trails.

Old Wom Tigley said...

Hi Willard
Peter called last night and he was looking at this and shouted me to thecomputer.. he was telling me that many of the rabbit warrens he works for fod are empty this year and that he as come across many rabbits with MYXOMATOSIS I do not know if you have the virus over there or not. I have seen the odd rabbit last year the showed signs of it and it is an awful sight to see.
Peterasked to say hello to you and Salty.

Willard said...

Jim, Peter, and Tom,

I have seen no evidence of disease here, but it could be possible.

Kerri, Abe, and Fishing Guy report seeing quite a few in their lawns.

The area surrounding the meadow is backwoods wilderness, but does not have a lot of brush piles or extremely thick understory so I am thinking that it may be a problem of predation by Coyotes, Foxes, and Hawks, etc.

I think the reports of those who see numerous rabbits in their lawn tend to support this theory as there would not be nearly as many predators in an urban or suburban setting and perhaps there is more cover such as buildings , or thick hedges to hide under.

It's just a thought.

Travis said...

Very cute! Great shot as usual. I enjoy reading your blog.

Stacey Huston said...

Hey, I was wondering. Are the people allowed to collect the shed antlers from the elk herd where you live? Do they have to have a permit, or is there a specific time(as in date) they are let in, to keep from disturbing cows that are with calves, and if they are allowed Is it a complete mess? Just curious as there are SO many people there as to such a small herd...Thanks Stacey

Willard said...


One may collect and keep shed antlers, but it is my understanding that they may not sell them.

The only restrictions on entry at this time are the designated Viewing Areas from calving season through the end of September.

There is no confusion as to the times because the areas are surrounded by signs forbidding entry and are taken down when it is OK to go in and put back up when entry is forbidden.

The bottom line, there is very little area of the range in which entry is prohibited.

I do not hunt the antlers, but I know many that do and it is a very contentious thing. Some will string strong fishing line between trees in hopes of knocking the antlers off when the elk walks through. And even though feeding is now illegal many still reportedly do it to keep bulls on their property so that they can get the antlers.

I have even heard of people reaching out and grabbing the antlers on a habituated bull and giving a strong jerk to try and dislodge them.

There is sometimes a lot of jealousy and envy and some very hard feelings have developed over this situation. There are people who will not speak to each other because of what happened in horn hunting season.

Marvin said...

Great macro of the clover.

It's difficult for me to think of rabbits as being scarce. Around here, one is apt to encounter three or four while crossing the yard in the late afternoon. During mid-day they like to dig a little depression in the loose dirt and lay in the shade under our truck, just like they were a pet hound. Needless to say, successful gardening around here requires some type of fencing or caging of plants.

I agree with what you wrote on my blog about the word "invasive" when it's applied to plants. The definition of invasive is so broad that it's useless. When I think of "invasive" I think about aggressive plants that will take the place if given half a chance -- something like kudzu here in the south. However, "invasive" seems to mean any plant growing outside of it's native range.

Kekiinani said...

OH MY GOSH... that is just the cutest tiny bunny... WOW...As you know I love bunnys... :) :)