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Old Mar 15, 2012, 9:24 PM   #1
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Default Chubby Cheeks, Big Throats, Dark Masks

This amazingly warm start to springtime here in East Tennessee has been great for all of us "critter watchers."

Bird feeders are still out, although visitors are dwindling as natural foods become more abundant. But this Chipmunk appears to be very glad that the birds are "sloppy eaters," scattering good seed on the ground...
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Old Mar 15, 2012, 9:25 PM   #2
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He has some larger "cousins" who also enjoy the seed bounty.
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Old Mar 15, 2012, 9:28 PM   #3
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Warm and wet is perfect for our local amphibians. Every pond and puddle seems alive with frog calls these days.

American Toads only sing for a short time in the early spring, but, for those few days, it can be nearly deafening. The males are working hard to attract mates during their brief "window of opportunity."
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Old Mar 15, 2012, 9:30 PM   #4
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Plenty of subtle color variations among these toads, but all the same species...
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Old Mar 15, 2012, 9:31 PM   #5
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And all that singing leads to mating success! (Can you see the eggs in the last photo? - frog eggs tend to be in masses, toad eggs in "strings.")
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Old Mar 15, 2012, 9:33 PM   #6
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Early Spring is also mating season for our Raccoons - and the young males are wandering, rather dazed at the thought of the females...
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Old Mar 15, 2012, 9:36 PM   #7
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Early Spring storms brought some interesting visitors to the home park's lake. Horned Grebes are not residents here, but often use storm fronts to help carry them back north. This one stayed on our lake for a few days, arriving with one storm, leaving with the next.
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Old Mar 15, 2012, 9:39 PM   #8
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Spring's an exciting and busy season - so I will have less chances to stop by here. But do hope that your season is starting well, that you've enjoyed these glimpses of some our springtime "critters," and that you will share your comments & critique...
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Old Mar 16, 2012, 4:23 PM   #9
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What a lovely series Mole ! Great critters, love the toads and raccoons but those grebe shots are excellent. The chipmunks remind me of last month's trip to Hainan Island where we heard rustling in the bushes and thought it was squirrels - only, when we sat down to watch, to be entertained by chipmunks full of the joys of Spring - the first wild chipmunks I've seen !
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Old Mar 17, 2012, 12:05 PM   #10
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Great pix of animals in spring.
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