A bit over 50 years ago, when they were newlyweds, friends of ours bought an old hill farm of about 50 acres. The roof on the house leaked with every rain and the water supply was piped from a spring up the hill. The spring is the origin of a small stream that flows through a narrow valley of the kind that’s called a “hollow” around here.
In an aerial photo from 1938 there are only a few trees in much of the hollow, apparently it was used as pasture when the property was farmed.
The farmer that cleared the hollow hoped his cows would squeeze a bit of nutrition from whatever would grow on the shallow acidic soil. The hollow is the kind of place that should have been left as woodland rather than being cleared of trees: the slopes are steep, the soil shallow and the stream at the bottom would have carried a load of silt with every rain.
It’s been a long time since the hollow was pastured, since then trees have been growing on the slopes and along the stream. Now the entire hollow is wooded although the trees are fairly small and grow slowly on the shallow infertile soils. The hollow is once again habitat for wildlife and wildflowers.
For several years I’ve had a camera trap in the hollow to document the wildlife that spends time there. This past winter the camera was one that took videos. Here’s a selection of those videos in the order in which they were taken –
In addition to white-tailed deer (including four young bucks still bearing antlers in mid-February), these are the species in the video: striped skunk, weasel (probably a long-tailed weasel), gray squirrel, screech owl, eastern coyote, red fox, raccoon, cottontail rabbit, and gray fox.