Turkey Vultures

Turkey Vultures, Cathartes aura, are possibly the most disgusting creatures I’ve seen out here. They are surprisingly huge, and we usually see them in large groups, tearing at the carcasses of everything from roadkilled raccoons to wild boar. When we identify the flora or fauna around here I encourage the kids to look up the French word too (since they’re in French immersion school and far more likely to remember it at this age). There are a few French words for vulture, like vautour, and charognard, but it seems urubu à tête rouge is the name for the actual species of turkey vulture we have out here. My husband just calls them the “aerial organic disposal units”.

This is a grainy, far-off photo I took of a turkey vulture this summer. I wouldn’t take a photo of the one we saw last night because it was so repulsive. Basically, an injured vulture was nearby and vomited up armadillo entrails and left some feces for us near the garage. We haven’t smelled anything that bad since Katrina. {All praise the garden hose!} We’re not sure what was wrong with him, but we didn’t see him again anyway. This morning I noticed several turkey vultures circling around my front yard. I can only assume they’re giving their buddy a vulture-style funeral…

A photo posted by Andrea (@pistolette) on

Wild Berry Vines

If it’s what I think it is then it’s not edible.

Edit: After a bit of research I’m putting my bets on “heartleaf peppervine”, Ampelopsis cordata.

Welcome to the Jungle

We strapped a motion-sensing camera to a tree in our woods this weekend. Here’s the overnight wildlife line-up for Day 1:

November 15-16, 2014

Wild Boar, at least three of them, 4:55pm
Raccoon, 8:45pm
Unknown small creature, likely raccoon, 11:15pm
Deer, at least one buck and one doe, 3:54am
Unknown creature/blur, rougarou, grunch, 6:04am

So now I’m wondering, if this many creatures just happen to be walking right in front of a mounted camera, what else is out there?

*races to store to get more cameras*

PS: I started a new Flickr account for the rapidly growing collection of Lower Coast flora and fauna.