Free at last!

After 140 days, the Mission Hills Tennis Club owners finally took down the cyclone fence. During that time a trio of native mule deer stayed on the property. Having viewed them there pretty much daily, sometimes several times a day and once in the dead of night, illuminated by a full moon, I am convinced that they never left.

Here an earlier post, which discussed our early concerns.

Our worries for their health would heighten after long periods without rain, as there normally is no source of water on the property. I believe that the only source of water was from the morning dew and the water in the grass and plants that they ate. Many of the neighbors would stop to talk about the deer, as they were also concerned.

Here’s a photo of them behind the fence from earlier this year, taking a break from their midday graze to make sure that the photographer poses no threat.

As a result of having monitored the deer from some time, I noticed that one of the does (the leftmost deer in the photo) is pregnant. Compare her belly with that of the doe on the far right. It is also evident that the young deer, shown in the middle, is a buck. Take a look at his forehead and you will see the beginnings of antlers.

This year brought a tremendous field of wildflowers to the open space on the Kimber property. The deer and other wildlife enjoyed this bounty and could be seen munching on the flowers daily.

Kimber deer enjoying wildflowers

Now that the fence is down and the deer are free to come and go as they please, how are they doing? Have they traveled far? To try to answer this question I went into the Fremont foothills east of the tennis club.

To my delight, here is what I found.

Kimber trio free in the Fremont foothills

The Kimber trio were staying nearby, in the foothill wilds east of the tennis club. They had not separated. I wonder if their 140 days of captivity have bound them tightly together?

I have since gone back into the foothills and found the Kimber trio again. They have remained nearby for the time being, enjoying their new-found freedom.

Peeps helping to Save Kimber Park

What better way to help Save Kimber Park than by making a Peeps diorama? Yep, sounds crazy, but there we were, working away on a Friday night, constructing a huge diorama of marshmallow candies (the Peeps), miniaturized T-shirts, oversize photo prints, live trees, children’s toys, fishing line, etc.

Confused? I was too, until I learned that the Washington Post has held an annual Peeps diorama contest, now in its sixth year, with winners announced before Easter. Here’s this year’s contest. Not to be outdone, the local Bay Area Newsgroup hosts its own Peeps diorama contest. With the winners published in the paper(s) each year, this looked like an opportunity to garner publicity for our Save Kimber Park effort.

Laura had conscripted April to help her make a diorama. Soon four adults were putting it together, a task probably better suited to fourth graders. It turned out to be a lot of fun to make, especially when we finished, a little loopy but pleased with the results.

You can help us out by viewing, commenting on and rating our diorama online here.

I’m a little disappointed by the picture quality provided online, so I’ve provided a higher resolution image here (click on any image to enlarge):

The completed Save Kimber Park diorama

Here are views of the diorama being built:

Peeps diorama under construction

Nearly completed diorama

And for all of you looking for even more detail, here are some close-up views:

Peeps owl

Marty the Barn Owl

The three deer trapped behind the cyclone fence

The three deer trapped behind the cyclone fence

Tree choppers

Chainsaws taken to the favorite hunting tree of the Red-Shouldered Hawks.

As the creators were Electrical, Software Engineers or other detail-oriented folk, details were rigorously attended to. The backdrop is a high resolution panorama of the Kimber Park property. The wings of the White-Tailed Kites are taken from pictures of a kite currently breeding on the property. The wings of the hawks in the “dead tree” are those of resident Red-Tailed Hawks. The same is true of the turkey tails and the deer ears. The pine tree is a small live tree.

Yep, we’re just a bit crazy, ahh, dedicated.

I hope you like the end product and remember to vote (and vote often) for the Save Kimber Park diorama. Results will be published in the Mercury this Easter Sunday.