To make my ramblings easier to follow, the above is what we see from our deck. This is where all the animal activity takes place. The water pond is at the bottom, just to the right of the birdhouse, between the two posts, but out of sight. That is where the critter cam is aimed, so we can see the big animals that come there. The birds show up, too, but probably coincident with the automatic heartbeat shutter releases of the camera.
The above photo is of our summer scene. Recently we had a new scene that I thought showed off the mountains quite nicely in winter white.
- ANIMALS WE HAVE SEEN DURING THE DAY/NIGHT
Note: If anyone knows how to properly request spacing between lines on WordPress, I would appreciate your input. For the last couple of months, I have not been able to force spaces between segments. You see the result of this problem below where the date is put into the text. On the page where I do the typing, it looks perfect, but when viewed as a page, all of the extra spacing is gone. Grrrrrr !
Tuesday, May 16th, 2017
We’ve been very careful not to disturb the nest, but every once in a while, both parents are gone, and I managed to snap this one picture by sticking my phone up close to the trellis and letting it peek through an opening. The nest is far enough back that I can’t really get close enough to do any good, and the camera is way too big to use. So I must be content with just a couple of record shots of this experience.
It’s interesting to watch the habits of the parents now that there are live babies in the nest. The most notable thing is, of course, that there is A LOT more food being brought into the nest.
It is hard to tell which parent is on the nest without spooking them, but they are enough different in size to be able to tell if we catch a glimpse before the one bringing the food hops into the nest. Once on the nest, the mama bird seems to nestle down further, with her tail sticking straight up into the air, but her body nearly disappears.
When what we assume is the male sits on the nest, much more of his body is in sight at the top part of the nest, and his tail sticks up quite a ways, too.
Before we were aware that the babies were hatched, we began to hear a series of different cooing noises from the nest. Now that we know there are babies, we wonder what these sounds mean. Are they “comfort” or “instructional”?
When we sit out on the deck in the late afternoon and evening, the sounds from the nest seem to increase. There are a few different sounds, so of course we wonder what they mean.
Just moments ago, we were both inside, but looking out the kitchen window at what we presumed was the smaller, mama bird who hopped up onto the deck with about a 7-inch snake (a thin one) in her mouth. She sat there for a long time, maybe two or three minutes, and the male hopped out of the nest and ran out into the alley to start his turn at finding food.
As the female hopped across the deck and up into the nest, we were awed by the fact that most of the snake had been hidden from our view because it was hanging out of sight. Turns out that it was at least 18 inches long.
Pops just came back to the nest after about half an hour of hunting, but I couldn’t see what, if anything, he had in his beak. He was onto the railing and into the nest lickety-split, so maybe there was a lot of snake digesting to do before the babies could have their share.
Would certainly love to be able to see in the nest to get a feeling for what they actually did with that huge snake to turn it into baby food.
Tuesday, April 25th, 2017
There has been a flurry of activity this week. The most spectacular was a pretty good sized herd of javelina that traipsed by one evening. There were about ten of them, including one young one, and at least one other really tiny baby. The biggest male was very protective of his family. We had had friends sitting on our deck with us (waving to Karen and George), and when they walked home a bit later, the herd was right by their side, and somewhat threateningly. Fortunately there was no encounter, mostly because a neighbor’s dog barked and spooked the javelina.
As shown in the blog post, we have had the first-of-the-season jackrabbits, although the cottontails have been out for a couple of weeks now. The squirrel was seen a few weeks ago, but he doesn’t put in as many appearances as previously.
The roadrunners are still sitting on the nest, and seem to be adding to it. Several times a day, I see one or the other of them come back with a long, thin stick. There is little in the way of “duvet”-type material brought in. These must be mighty tough birds to sit on such a sparse framework. Maybe they will add more fluff as it nears time for the eggs to hatch.
With the Critter Cam out of commission, I have no idea what is draining the water pond on a quite regular basis. It requires refilling every other day, as it is drained down to almost nothing in that amount of time. I should check every day now since the weather is warmer. I don’t know if they just drink more when the weather is warmer, or if there are more critters that come to visit.
Thursday, April 20th, 2017
Saturday, June 11th, 2016
We have been more diligent about keeping the water pond filled, and have been rewarded with many pictures of animals lately. I have just been remiss in posting them. The one below is a real prize.
We have seen various views of this cat on several occasions, but were not entirely sure what it is. At first we thought it might be a mountain lion (puma), but it looked too small. Our next best guess was a bobcat, but he didn’t seem to have the fur markings that I expected. A differently-angled photo showed that he has a stubby tail, not the long one that adorns a puma.
Saturday, March 5th, 2016
Ever since the automatic drip system stopped being automatic, the water pond has not filled up on its own, and we have been lax about keeping track of the level and refilling it.
This picture of a disappointed fox puts me to shame.
Monday, February 29th, 2016
The animals are starting to come back to our area now that the warmer weather has come along. There has been a pyrrhuloxia singing her little heart out for the last few days. She makes an incredible variety of songs and chirpy noises. She thoroughly investigated the remnants of the roadrunner nest in our deck hedge, but doesn’t seem to have taken up permanent residence. It is a stickly nest – not at all pleasant. It is now two or three years old, and has probably deteriorated over that time, but I think it was never very cushy to start with, even when in use by the family of roadrunners.
Last night it was pleasant enough at dusk to sit out on the deck, so we did. As an extra added attraction, we were treated to the visual of extended coyote howling. We often hear this barking and howling after dark, but cannot see what is going on, or exactly where they are. It always sounds like they are about twenty feet from our back door, but it is just too dark out there to see anything.
Early yesterday afternoon, we saw a coyote come almost to the water pond, but he was limping badly, holding up his left hind leg off the ground. He was quite wary, and never did come all the way to the pond. Something apparently frightened him off, and he hobbled away before slaking his thirst.
But back to our experience on the deck . . . We sometimes see a pair of large-ish coyotes that come trotting along the fence line to visit the water pond two doors down from us. Last night we saw those two run off a smaller coyote, which was followed by another large-ish one, so apparently there were three of the large ones and one smaller one. That left two large ones by the other water pond.
Almost immediately three different large ones and a smaller one were almost directly in front of us out in the open area. They started in with the howling that we so often have heard, but could not see.
Their behaviour was that during the howling, they sort of danced around each other, but did not seem to be using any threatening moves, just howling, yipping, and chasing each other around with what did not seem to be dangerous behaviour. After about half a minute or so of this, the smaller coyote lay down on the ground in a submissive pose, and the howling stopped. They all got up and trotted off to the right.
Off in the distance to the left, in the direction that the first two coyotes had gone, there was some repeat howling, but of course, we have no idea if the two packs were having any kind of a conversation, or if the far-away pack was even comprised of the two who disappeared in the beginning.
But it was thrilling to be able to see what they were doing when all of that yipping was going on. We had always wondered if it had to do with their having captured a food item, and warning others to stay away. There have been a few cottontails in residence in the last week, so this was a possibility.
This all happened just as darkness fell, so, although we heard more yips and howls that we couldn’t see the cause for, it was fun to know what we had just seen.
Last week of 2015
Over a two-day period, we had a lot of action, but not much in the way of photographs. Unless I am already out on the deck and have a camera/phone at hand, it isn’t really possible to open the door without spooking the animals, so if I can’t get a picture from the one window in the kitchen without a screen, I am out of luck. Sometimes there are things to report here, but . . . well . . . You know how that goes. But TODAY I am remembering to write up what happened over a couple of days last week.
A couple of different times, we saw the coyote come out during the day to partake of the water pond. There isn’t much rain this time of year, so sources are probably scarce. I got a fuzzy picture of him, and will post it later. It isn’t really discernible, so not sure why I am posting it, but there it is.
One morning we could see what appeared to be two roadrunners having at it. We didn’t know if it was an altercation or a courtship dance. As we watched, off flew one of the participants, and it was the smallish hawk that we see hanging around here sometimes. So I guess it was a territorial thing and the roadrunner won.
And the deer – oh my! They have been out in force! We had just had some yard work done, so all of our gravel had been raked into a smoothness not seen for years! Looked gorgeous! The next night, there were marks all over the berm and into the yard where the fence had made no difference to the deer. We’ve seen them in the daylight, and they pay no attention to such an (non-)impediment as a fence!
The one large-ish buck is getting bigger and bigger these days, and his harem is expanding. He watches out for them.
One late night there was a terrible clatter in the back yard, and it turned out to be our garbage can where we keep the glass jars to be recycled. Doing our best sleuthing, we surmise that the deer had this time come from the front of the house to inspect the rose tree for tasty morsels, and finding none, decided to have a go at the backyard again. Looks like they hopped over the fence there, and clipped the garbage can with a back hoof, and over it went. There were lots of hoof prints, but no way to tell how many there actually were. I suspect more than one because the prints were everywhere.
On other occasions, I have seen them come into the yard from the back alley, and then check out the oak tree for acorns, and then just keep going and hop the fence on the other side of the house to check out the other oak tree, and then disappear into the streets of the complex. They seem to have no fear. I hope they have good reason for this as I would hate to see anyone harm one.
Saturday, September 26th, 2015
The roadrunner has been a real tease lately. We hear him off in the distance when we are sitting out on the deck, but when I am inside at the kitchen sink (without my camera in my hand), he comes and sits on the fence rail by the bird house.
Just at dusk tonight, a herd of javelinas went trotting by. I could see a dark figure in the distance down the alley and grabbed my iPhone to take a picture. The herd came running by at top speed, so I neither got a good picture nor was able to actually see them. But DH said that there were two good-sized adults and so many babies that he couldn’t count them because they were going by so quickly, but there seemed to be at least five or six young ones. They were in a big hurry to get somewhere before it got dark, I guess, because they didn’t stop to get a drink.
I downloaded the pictures off the critter cam a couple of days ago and there were lots of javelinas in the bunch. Also there were a lot of raccoons, which are less common. I’ll get some snaps of them up soon, but they are all at night and not particularly clear.
Thursday, September 17th, 2015
With the rain and the warmer weather, we don’t get as many visitors to the water pond (apart from birds) these days, but this interesting fellow was out there the other day – apparently he’d heard there was fresh water to be had daily! ;->
He certainly blended into the dirt efficiently.
Sunday, July 5th, 2015
These last couple of weeks in June are hard on the animals because it is hotter than usual and there is precious little rain, so our water pond gets hit good and hard. I have been filling it up twice a day. But a few days ago, the monsoon season arrived with a bang, and there is plenty of water in there now. I don’t know where else they can get water that collects even during a rainstorm, but we seem to have fewer visitors when there is sufficient rain in the area.
Here are a couple of recent visitors: Our multi-point buck and a good-sized javelina. Sometimes there is a family of javelina, and sometimes just this one big guy. The camera catches many different deer at different times, but they all seem to know where to come for water.
Please click on the photos to make them bigger.
Tuesday, May 27th, 2015
An unusual sighting of a coyote in the early-ish morning hours. We sometimes see him pass by, but this is the first time we’ve seen a coyote at our pond during the day. He comes frequently at night, but this is a rare daytime appearance.
Thursday, April 30th, 2015
The ongoing battle for nesting rights in our pyracantha bush at the side of the deck seems to have run out of steam. When the thrashers were using the area, the roadrunners were rejected as co-tenants, even though their nest had been there first. The thrashers’ in-use nest was about ten feet away from the roadrunners’ former nest, but I guess that is just too close for comfort.
The pair of roadrunners has appeared together from time to time, including just a few minutes ago. Water is getting scarce, so they are more often seen at the water pond now. I snagged some pictures of the two of them running around in the yard next door, so will try to get a reasonable one posted to the main blog one of these days.
Sunday, March 8th, 2015
Sometimes you just have to stop to scratch! This fox has been a frequent visitor to the water pond. The other day, a thrasher was carrying on out on the deck, so I grabbed my camera to see what was happening. Something skittered quickly off the deck. All I saw was a very bushy, brown tail. I suspect it was this brave little fox coming to see if there was anything good to eat up here.
Friday, February 27th, 2015
It never got very cold here this winter, but now that it is warming up into the sixties and seventies every afternoon, we are beginning to see more birds and animals. The sightings have been sparse, so I haven’t been writing them up. But in the last week, we have seen the squirrel on two occasions. The last was yesterday, when he came on the deck to dine on the tender new shoots of the pyracantha bush, aka “The Roadrunner Nest Hedge”. DH watched him for a while, and I grabbed my nearby camera, but that little rascal always seems to hear the lens slide out. He was gone in a flash. He dove under the workshop, so presume he still has his home there. He was as fat as a pot-bellied pig with spotted fur, and I’m sure I saw a wry smile as he scampered away to his happy little home.
Monday, January 26th, 2015
Our critter cam got a bit off kilter, so not too many usable pictures this time. This family appeared three days before Christmas – presume they were fueling up for their upcoming trip around the world delivering presents.
Monday, January 12th, 2015
A couple of days ago, this handsome fellow came to call. Mom and the babies must have alerted him to the presence of safe water.
Friday, January 2nd, 2015
Washing dishes has its advantages. This is what I saw out my window. I suspect that she could hear my camera announcing that it was focused, because she lifted her head like this each time. Seems almost impossible, though, because I was in the house, behind closed windows and doors, taking this picture through double-paned glass. It is possible she was seeing a flash from the critter cam, but I don’t know if it flashes when it isn’t fully dark.
The three of them stayed to drink for quite some time, and then hopped so very gracefully back over the fence and out of sight nearly immediately. They really blend in with the background.
Sunday, November 16th, 2014
The little squirrel has been making many appearances on the deck. We don’t go out there so much when the temperature goes below about 70 degrees, so he can reclaim his territory. He is very skitterish, and dashes off in there is any sign of noise or “danger”.
Just now I was dripping my morning coffee at the kitchen counter, and could see him scampering about out there. I think he must sense that he is being watched because he stands stock still and just looks up towards the window. If I don’t make any noise or a lot of movement, he just continues to look up at where I am standing. I don’t think he can actually see me, though, because of the reflection of the sky in the window itself.
He has been really busy gathering the acorns, and looks pretty “robust”, so I am not worried about his surviving our “winter”! ;->
We have had some birds fly through, but none seem to be staying around for long. They stop for a drink and then they’re off. It’s warmer in Tucson, so maybe they are going there to visit our birdwatching/feeding friends who are spending the winter up there! Waving to Jo and Fred! ~~~~~~~~
Tuesday, November 4th, 2014
It has turned a bit chilly here in the last couple of days, and the animals have pretty much moved on south. In one last ditch effort, our resident hawk came close to the alley to see if he could get a nice dove for breakfast. When he swooped in at the tops of the trees, the birds all scattered. So, good for the doves, and bad for the hawk, there was no meal available. He made one more scouting pass that we saw, and then disappeared.
Haven’t seen the squirrel in a couple of days, but he should be sitting on about a foot-high pile of acorns under our workshed. Something scampered across the roof this morning that sounded more like a big rodent than a bird, so maybe he was doing a sighting for additional acorn venues.
Saturday, October 25th, 2014
The last few days have given us more doves and both Gambel’s and Scaled Quail along with hearing, but not actually seeing, the roadrunner(s). A Scaled Quail came right up on the deck, landing on the étagère, but looking rather confused. We have never seen a Scaled Quail come up this close to the house before.
The squirrel has been a busy little boy the last couple of weeks, too. I guess he senses that winter is coming, so he is gathering up all of the acorns from under the oak tree in the back yard. I don’t know if he goes to the one in the front yard or not, but we see him dashing headlong across the backyard with his cheeks bursting with nuts. Gary said he saw them so full that the membranes of his cheeks were stretched so thin that he could see the actual acorns in the squirrel’s cheeks.
Once in a while he takes a break and goes over by the sprinkler, but seems to forget that it doesn’t come on until 5:15 in the afternoon. Gathering acorns is thirsty work. He waits patiently.
Here is a picture of a couple of the doves that were visiting our water pond. This picture was taken by the critter cam.
Thursday, October 22nd, 2014
After a couple of days of dozens of doves, we are bereft this morning. There was one sitting on the fence rail this morning. He may have been left behind and was checking his GPS for directions. Apparently he had success, because now even he is gone.
As I started to write this, I could hear the raspy/rachety noise that the roadrunner makes. The sound got louder, so I looked up from the computer screen and was rewarded with the sight of not one, but TWO roadrunners! BO-NANZA! ;-> They scurried down the alley out of my sight very quickly. So, unfortunately, no chance of a picture.
Monday, October 20th, 2014
Most of the animal activity lately has been the birds indulging themselves on the berries in the pyracantha hedge next to the deck. There has been a family of young mockingbirds learning the ropes. I’m not sure if the berries are intoxicating them a bit, or if they are just young and stupid!
We have captured a lot of pictures of foxes on the critter cam, but here is one of two raccoons. It looks like it might be a parent and a teenager.
Wednesday, October 15th, 2014
Not much happening on the animal front. A hawk chased a dove away from the water pond this morning, and the squirrel made an appearance. One day last week, I saw a coyote drinking out of the water pond in the afternoon when it was bright sunlight. I was hoping to get a really good picture of him from the critter cam, but alas, he didn’t show up.
We did get a few interesting pictures, though most of them are at night.
We have been getting pictures of a furry back on top of the fence, right in front of the camera. I think I know why! Looks like there are two foxes!
Thursday, September 25th, 2014
Does anyone know what kind of a bird this is? The photo isn’t very clear. It was taken by the critter cam, so sorry for the bad placement of the subject.
Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014
The roadrunner squawked quite a bit this morning, but kept himself hidden. While we were eating lunch and inside the house, he made a couple of forays down the alley in pursuit of lizards.
From our lunch spot, we can see the lattice work and the big hedge beside the deck where the roadrunners raised their babies. They haven’t been there for a couple of years, but the area gets plenty of traffic. As far as I have ever been able to tell, no other bird has used the nest that they left behind.
But today, we saw the squirrel go scampering up the lattice work, but not into the hedge. We’re pretty sure he lives under the work shop, as that seems to be where he dives when threatened – by a roadrunner or other flying beast.
Yesterday there were eighteen quail in the back yard, on the fence, wandering around in the yard, and just checking things out in general. We haven’t seen any quail for a couple of weeks. This seemed to be an extended family, as there are usually not that many young ones that survive in one family. Have had only one quail sighting today.
We’ve seen a cottontail bunny a few times, but only one at a time. I think the coyotes are probably keeping their numbers in check. Haven’t seen any of the jackrabbits at all for a couple of months. I don’t know if they migrate, or if they are small enough to be coyote food, too. I’ve heard from other people that live here that the owls have no difficulty with using a jackrabbit for a meal.
It is late afternoon now, and I suspect that many of our friends are having a bit of a siesta.
Sunday, September 21st, 2014
Yesterday morning I was ready to go out to stalk the morning glories before they closed up shop. They are slowly taking over the whole back fence, the rascals!
I was still inside when a pair of pyrrhuloxias landed on the fence, so I grabbed a shot through the kitchen window. They were there for just a split second, and then off to the ash tree.
This is where I caught up with one of them.
Wednesday, September 10th, 2014
Not to be outdone by an owl, the roadrunner appeared on the top of the fence and pranced around a bit to get our attention, but then hopped down and went to stand in the shade of the pine tree in the neighbor’s yard, rendering himself invisible to the camera.
But – lo, and behold – out pops another roadrunner from the outback. This one raced across the alley in the opposite direction. And then, and then . . . wonder of wonders . . . a third one appeared and joined the one in the neighbor’s yard. It was only for a fleeting moment, but all three were actually in view at the same time! What a thrill!
Tuesday, September 9th, 2014
We have owl! A very vociferous owl. He hooted and hooted. Wish I knew what he was saying. I’m guessing it was something on the order of “Room Service”! This, too, is a very large picture, so click away if you want to get right in his face with no danger to your own! Click, and let it load and then click again. This will put you nose to beak with him. Look in his right eye – you will be able to see reflections of the branches of the tree! ;-> Isn’t that amazing?
Saturday, September 6th, 2014
We heard, and then saw, that rascal roadrunner. He pays us no mind; just hunts down the lizards at top speed. About half an hour later, I saw a coyote trot past out in the back area. It is so grown up now that it is hard to tell what is going by, but I saw the movement and watched at a small open space that is about a hundred feet down the way. Yup! There he goes. Hope the roadrunner has long since departed.
Thursday, September 4th, 2014
The roadrunner has been dashing about, doing his chattering thing. We don’t see much of him, but he is making a lot of racket. Once in a while, we see the squirrel come whizzing around the corner of the workshop to dive under in the same place as always. I presume he must have a nest under there since his entry is always at the exact same spot.
Not much else in the way of birds nowadays. We hear the doves, but even they don’t show up much. The big ravens have apparently moved on as well.
The plums on the cactus in the front yard are all ripe now, so presume the deer will be stopping by during the nights. We don’t see them, though, because they are so stealthy.
Tuesday, August 26th, 2014
After I put up the post talking about the roadrunner, the squirrel, the cottontail, and the cows, one of the coyotes trotted by in the direction that we last saw the cottontail headed. 😦 Hope they don’t meet up!
I couldn’t get a picture of the cows today because of the heavy mesquite trees, but here is a neat picture of two of the cow herders that go by now and then.
This particular day they didn’t seem to be doing any kind of a “roundup” or “drive” like they do some days – just kind of sauntering along. Maybe just looking for strays.
Sunday, August 24th, 2014
Not much doing, but we did see the roadrunner right under the office window overlooking the front yard, and later on he zipped across the back yard, so he’s around and about from time to time.
The rock squirrel made an appearance today. Perhaps he is looking for his stash of acorns. Gary put them out in the yard near the work shed because we think that’s where he – and maybe a family – hangs out.
There was a large quail family the other day – two parents and about eight teenagers. I haven’t seen them come up to the water pond yet, though.
Even the critter cam isn’t producing much except birds, and the tail end of a jackrabbit. Here’s about the best shot of the week – Wile E. Coyote looking for the roadrunner, I presume.
Thursday, August 21st, 2014
The roadrunner went darting across our backyard this afternoon. What a thrill to see him again. I guess he is around a fair amount of the time. I just don’t always see him when he is here.
The raven has been coming in every hour or so with something luscious to eat that needs to have a bath first. When he flies across in front of the kitchen window, he practically blocks out the sun.
But he is a piker compared to this guy. Two of them showed up one day, and they were B – I – G !!!
Tuesday, August 19th, 2014
Not much activity when we are not providing the only water around, but we did see two different coyotes trot down the alley over the last week. Heard them at dusk on two different evenings.
The roadrunner was out in the alley this morning, and I saw him a few days ago. I guess the lizards are more plentiful out in the jungle in back. It is really green and thick at this time of year.
Day before yesterday we had a couple of cowboys ride past picking up a couple of youngish cows. We had heard some lowing out there the night before, so maybe they got too far from home and didn’t have their cow GPS units to find the barn again.
Saw one cottontail, but the jackrabbits are no where to be seen. I don’t know if we get new ones every year, or if the ones we see are the same ones from year to year. They seem to know exactly where to go for water, so maybe it is the same ones.
The hummingbirds still come whizzing up onto the deck to check out the red lamp that is sitting on the table there. They don’t stay long, though. If I am sitting out there in a red shirt, they show up and buzz pretty close to me before they realize I am not a giant flower.
We have some deck chairs folded up and in the corner by the house. Gary was cleaning the deck the other day, and was surprised when he opened up one of the chairs and found a supply of acorns! Presumably, these were stashed there by the rock squirrel(s). We think there are two – or more! There were about thirty nuts, so presume he had forgotten about them. The chair was not chewed; just used as a storage bin.
The big Chihuahuan Raven continues to appear in the late afternoons to dunk his dinner into the water pond. He lands on a post nearby, checks out the situation, and then drops down out of sight. In a moment, he is back up on the post to dine. I can’t tell what he has, but sometimes he pulls at it like it might be an animal part of some kind, not just a crust of bread.
Sunday, August 3rd, 2014
Not much to report these days as the monsoons have arrived and there is plenty of water in the usual habitats of our local animals friends. The birds, particularly the doves, are here in abundance, though, and the occasional pair of either the scaled quail or Gambel’s show up for a sip of fresh water nearly every day. The pyrrhuloxias come singly, so maybe they have a nest somewhere. When it is the male arriving, the bright red just lights up the whole view out the window.
One day we saw a coyote trotting down the alley, but he seemed on a mission and didn’t stop for a libation. The cows have not put in an appearance in a long time, although we did hear one out there moo-ing plaintively late one night. I don’t know if darkness falls unexpectedly and he is lost, or if that is a mating call.
A few mornings ago we heard, but did not see, what we like to think of as “our roadrunner”. His clattering was off to the right for a few minutes, and then it was gone. But this morning, I looked out the kitchen window, and he was sitting on the rail. I like to think it is Lazarus, and he is coming back to say “hello”.
Thursday, July 24th, 2014
Welcome to everyone who is watching this space now. Many days, like today, are just delightful repeats of the usual visits by birds and bunnies. The pyrrhuloxia pair that we have seen around is still here on occasion, but the quail have moved on. Mostly there are doves now, with the occasional finch or flycatcher. As the sun goes down, we frequently see those swoopy nighthawk-type birds cashing in on the last of the few insects that we have around here.
Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014
Today was Finch Day. Apparently a nest of rosy finches fledged today, and their first tentative stop was our deck. They skittered to a halt on the etagere and then migrated to the railings and chair backs. One came to a screeching halt over the glass table, and finally just sort of fluttered down onto the table looking very surprised. Landings were shaky, and several made a pass at the kitchen window before realizing that there was no sky there, just a reflection. None actually hit the window, though. Whew!
They were fun to watch while I did the lunch dishes, making me laugh at their antics. After a while, they seemed to get the hang of it, and off they went to bigger and better things.
Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014
Sometimes there are three, but maybe Daddy is standing guard out of sight this time. His job is to make snuffling noises if there is danger to the family.
Tuesday, July 8th, 2014
The day isn’t over yet, but nothing much has wandered by today. We have been gone most of the day to those pesky medical appointments, but I’ve been keeping a close eye out for the last couple of hours – not even a cow. 😦
My persistence has paid off. We just saw a coyote trot past on high. He didn’t look like he was chasing or stalking anything; just determined to get down the road quickly.
Monday, July 7th, 2014
A few cows wandered by today to break the monotony of one batch of cute baby jackrabbits after another.
Here they are heading to a gathering at their “water cooler”:
It is cute how the three scaled quail are lined up to take turns sipping the fresh water. They seem to know when the sprinkler system is set to give them fresh water every afternoon.
Sunday, July 6th, 2014
The big news today was the baby Great Horned Owl that landed on the crook in the back yard. There is a picture of him on my regular blog page.
Saturday, July 5th, 2014
This is the first we’ve seen of this little guy. Presumably his mother is around somewhere nearby. It looks like a baby coyote to me. This one is a lot smaller than the one I saw a couple of days ago.
We are having a plethora of baby everythings show up these days. ‘Tis the season, apparently.
Thursday, July 3rd, 2014
I thought I wrote about the snake, but I can’t seem to see where I did, so if this is a duplicate, blame it on the snake.
We were out in the back yard, doing T’ai Chi, when a cactus wren was going berserk over on the side of our house. He was jumping all over, spreading his wings, trying to look menacing, I’m sure. There seemed to be no other bird around, so it didn’t seem like a mating thing. Upon closer examination, we found this:
curled up next to the fence between our house and the one next door.
Anyone know what kind of snake it is? I hope he eats mice and not our squirrels! ;->
Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014
Yesterday, late in the afternoon and on into dusk, we had a plethora of animals come by. There were rabbits, both cottontails and jacks, everywhere, and the scaled quail seem to be proliferating by the moment.
When Gary spotted the deer approaching, he alerted me. I grabbed my camera and went outside and stood in the yard, rather than staying on the deck. Once they get within earshot, if I come off the deck, they bolt. So I sneaked out a bit at a time and got up on the berm that runs along the fence, and is the reason we can’t see the water pond from the deck.
I guess I must have been downwind of the deer because they stayed around, tolerating my shutter snaps, for about half an hour. They were out in the alley, munching on a mesquite tree that grows smack dab in the middle, but even so, their camouflage while they are eating is quite remarkable.
At first I thought it was a different duo because it was just an adult and a large-ish young one. I thought the disparity in size was more than the other ones, but soon the second “baby” appeared.
I snapped away, taking way more photos than usual. I set the camera on multishot so that there are pictures taken for as long as I hold down the shutter. So often the critter is in motion, thus I get zippo photos good enough to “develop”, so having three to five shots of each animal gives me a better shot at getting a clear one.
Now I have 243 pictures to go through from last night. I’ll tell you about the snake tomorrow!
Tuesday, July 1st, 2014
Last evening, I spotted a youngish coyote standing on the other side of the open, sandy area and looking over at the water pond. I guess he was trying to decide if it was safe to go there. When I glanced at the pond, there was a full-grown coyote there having a bit of a drink. I don’t know if the young one had his drink first and then the adult told him to stay nearer to cover, or if he wasn’t quite up to coming yet.
Monday, June 30th, 2014
We looked at the card out of the critter cam, and it was the usual suspects. Looks like it is the javelina family that is slurping up the top half of the water pond, with the cottontails and jackrabbits running a close second. The coyote appeared in several frames, but no deer this time.
During the daylight hours, there are a lot of small birds, pyrrhuloxia, doves, and Gambel’s and scaled quail that set off the shutter. Once in a while, one gets up on the fence rail right in front of the camera. Hence this close-up portrait of a scaled quail.
Sunday, June 29th, 2014
Busy day today, but mostly it was the jackrabbits who were on the scene. I saw two at the same time for sure today, but I don’t really know how many are out there. The hotter weather seems to be enticing them to come more often to drink.
The cottontails flit in and out, too, but I can’t see them when they are drinking. With the jackrabbits, I can see the very tops of their ears over the bottom rail of the fence. There were four ears visible at one time there today, which is unusual. Most of the time one will wait out in the alley while another is drinking.
Saturday, June 28th, 2014
Just did a visual check of the water level in the pond, and judging by the amount of water that has been taken out, it appears that there was quite a bit of activity around there last night. A little later, we will take the card out of the camera to see what visited last night.
We’re going to let the automatic sprinkler run into there this afternoon to see how far up that brings the level of the water. That will give us a better idea of how much is disappearing nightly.
Friday, June 27th, 2014
A bit of excitement tonight. Gary went out to top off the water pond and to give the leaves on the ash tree a nice drink. After filling the pond, he turned around to start on the tree, and heard the hoofbeats of little piggy feet. Our little family had apparently smelled the fresh water and were making a bee line for it. They don’t see particularly well, and it was close to dark, so they apparently didn’t see Gary standing out there with the hose. The baby rushed right in to slurp up some fresh water, but the parents were more wary. About the time Gary turned around to look at them, they said “YIKES – a human”, and took off down the alley.
Thursday, June 26th, 2014
Not much activity today. The cottontails and jackrabbits are spending more and more time drinking these days. Being a rabbit is thirsty work!
Wednesday, June 25th, 2014
I thought today was going to be dull. Oh, we had our usual cottontail and jackrabbits visitors, and the quail were here, but just as I went out the back door to join Gary for our evening T’ai Chi routine, the javelina family was at the water pond. I froze and whispered for Gary to come out of the workroom. The pigs froze, too, to decide if they should continue drinking, or head on out. They decided to head on out. I didn’t have my camera, but we had gotten a shot of them from the other night on the critter cam.
I’m not entirely sure that this is the same family because the baby looked smaller in person than in this IR photo. But more likely there are not two so similar families in the neighborhood.
Tuesday, June 24th, 2014
B I N G O !!
When we lived in a different house in this complex, we had three fruit trees, and the peaches, plums, and apricots were loved by a lot of animals. They never left any for us, but I looked on it as a way to feed the birds and other animals without having to buy anything – food or feeder!
Since we moved a couple of blocks away, we have the lovely view and opportunity that you see above, but we had not yet seen any of our favorite fruit finding friend, the Official Arizona State Animal – the ringtail cat.
Well, major excitement just now. We brought the card from the critter cam in to see who had been draining the water pond, and found a lot of night time visits by the deer, coyotes and javelina. And, yes, there he is – we’re pretty sure the ringtail cat is what was captured in these pictures. Can’t tell, of course, from the first one, but we are soliciting expertise in identifying the critter shown in the second picture below.
What do you think?
And then he came out to wet his whistle, and the camera snapped this one:
Monday, June 23rd, 2014
Cottontails at the water pond, along with birds. I thought the day would be ho-hum, but the three usual deer showed up to munch on the mesquite trees. They didn’t come completely out of the outback for water, though, so maybe they had filled up down the alley before coming here. They seem to come by only every few days. I guess they know how long it takes for the mesquite pods to mature. They always come from the right, and exit to the left. I’m pretty sure they aren’t going all the way around the world to do this, so I am wondering when they go left to right. Obviously some time when I am not watching!
For many years, we have listened to Bachelor Bob, the Gambel’s quail, who seems to have a special call when he is trolling for babes. Contrary to their usual ground dwelling, Bachelor Bob gets up on a fence post to do this calling. He can keep it up for several hours.
We have been hearing what sounds like the sharp, short tone that one hears when the battery needs to be changed in a smoke alarm. Finally . . . one of the scaled quail was close enough for us to see him making this sound, so we are assuming that this is the “I’m available” call from the scaled quail.
Sunday, June 22nd, 2014
About 9:30 a coyote went trotting by. Looks like he may have zig zagged into the water pond for a drink and was heading back into the brush by the time Gary saw him. He was gone by the time I rushed to the window. The quail are out in force this morning. Cottontails towards the end of the day, and the jackrabbit put in an appearance. I think there were two of them again, but hard to really tell.
Saturday, June 21st, 2014
It is a bit hot today – almost a hundred, so not so many animals have passed by so far today. But it is only 5:30; maybe some visitors later on as it cools off. The jackrabbits have been out selecting snacks from the mesquite trees, and seem to be waiting for the drip system to give them their fresh water for today. The doves, Gambel’s quail and the scaled quail have all been here as usual.
One lone cottontail made an appearance later in the day. And there was just one spotting of the flash of red of a pyrrhuloxia. They seem to have moved along, too. For many days, we were hearing their chirps, but now they apparently have found a better spot.
Friday, June 20th, 2014
There have been three Chihuahuan ravens hanging around our yard for a while. We think it is a pair and an intruder, or maybe a young one that is no longer really welcome. The other day, when the third one came, he was run off via the sky. This time, he was dive bombed as he sat on the ground in the alley. Strangely enough, when the dive bombing was finished, one of the “bombers” flew off, and the other one came to join the one on the ground. They walked around for a while together, and then flew off “hand in hand”, so to speak. Apparently I totally misinterpreted what was going on, but everything seemed to end well.
The critter cam captured an IR image of a big javelina and the larger of the two babies. I will try to add it here. Not sure what it will look like.
Thursday, June 19th, 2014
The owl seems to be scaring away our regulars. The jackrabbits have been here, as have the cottontails, but they scurry in for a drink, and then zoooom back into the wild brush away from the edge of the alley. The usual retinue of scaled and Gambel’s quail were in abundance, and two black cows with white faces came just at dusk to dine on the cactus – ouch!
Wednesday, June 18th, 2014
Big bird mystery – SOLVED! One of the owls that usually lives down by the complex office has taken up residence in the big pine tree in our neighbor’s yard. Yesterday the jackrabbit went hopping away from the water pond on high. He doesn’t usually do that, so we wondered what was up. Well, I guess it is the owl that is UP!
We have seen the owl on IR on the critter cam, but didn’t know he was a regular customer. I guess he figured out that he could perch in that tree and have full view of the water pond to make his dinner selections.
I’ll put a picture of him on the main blog, but will also experiment to see if I can put it here as well. If it worked, there will be a picture at the end of this day’s narrative.
I did notice that the cottontails were not as plentiful yesterday, and the fact that the jackrabbit made such a hasty retreat reinforces that the owly dude has probably been there on something of a regular basis for at least a few days.
His wing span as he heads over us is impressively sized, but his flight feathers keep his passage absolutely silent.
He allowed me the privilege of taking a bunch of pictures of him yesterday, but it was getting dark, so they are not terribly sharp. I had to zoom my camera lens all the way out, and, of course – no tripod.
Didn’t see any other animals yesterday, though. Slow day for deer and coyotes.
Tuesday, June 17th, 2014
The day started out fairly slowly. Lots of scaled quail, the jackrabbit and a cottontail. Then siesta time.
Just a bit before twilight, what appeared to be the same three deer as the other day showed up at the water pond. They were looking straight up at the deck as if to say “We’re here!”. I was busy taking pictures through the glass on my kitchen window, so they couldn’t see me. I’m guessing that they remembered some kind of noise from the deck last time, and wanted to be sure that everything was under control before poking heads into the pond.
When it was almost dark, we went out to do T’ai Chi in the back yard, and saw one massively huge javelina down the way at the other drinking place. He sniffed around, and soon returned with his wife and family. One of the babies was about the size of a football with short legs.
One more appearance by a jackrabbit, and that was it for the day.
Monday, June 16th, 2014
The hawk was waiting for us as we left the complex and followed us for a while. Or maybe that was just where he was headed! The other day, we saw a quail family with babies run across the road near the entrance, too, so guess they stay out there where there is more open land. Cute little guys!
When we got home, the roadrunner made a rare appearance, and the two kinds of quail regulars were all over the place.
While I was fixing lunch, I caught a glimpse of the rock squirrel go shooting across the yard, up over the fence, and down to the water pond. He came back up pretty quickly and perched on the top of the birdhouse just long enough for me to grab the camera, but not long enough to get a picture. About half an hour later, there were two of them – playing “can’t get me” all around the yard, and up and down the eucalyptus and ash trees and on the rails of the fence. I got off some shots, but don’t expect to see much.
A couple of cottontails took turns resting in the shade of the yucca tree. The rabbits and the quail seem to co-exist easily in that little bit of shade. One of the jackrabbits came for a drink, but hopped off immediately thereafter. I guess it was just too crowded. ;->
It is five o’clock in the afternoon now, so as twilight comes along, maybe there will be more interesting animals come into our view.
Sunday, June 15th, 2014
Big excitement to start the day . . . the big, beautiful hawk flew within a few feet of the edge of the deck this morning, right over the top of Gary’s head while he was out there with coffee and books. Hawks are his favorite, so he was beyond thrilled.
Not much other action, though, apart from a cottontail taking a siesta in the shade of the yucca plant, and the usual small horde of doves, and scaled and Gambel’s quail. One jackrabbit was seen hopping away from the water pond, but that was about it for activity today.
Saturday, June 14th, 2014
Slow animal day today. Started out with a coyote trotting along, looking neither right nor left. He was on a mission, and apparently didn’t need any water to make his trip. Various cottontails and jackrabbits made appearances, along with a plethora of birds – doves and sparrows, mostly, as the quail are thinning out considerably.
We heard, but did not see, our resident pyrrhuloxia. Near the end of the day, two gigantic ravens came in for a landing down at the water hole down the alley. A third tried to join them, but he was summarily rejected. The three of them flew off; one took off in the direction from which he came, and the other two came back to reclaim their water rights.
Right on time, the hummingbird came to the magnolia tree. I guess he expected his shower to be running, but he was a bit late. The overhead sprinkler had done its job and had been off for at least an hour, so there really wasn’t much moisture to be had.
When we do T’ai Chi right at dusk in the back yard, there is a pair of curved-bill thrashers that comes home to roost just about that time. We hear them in the distance – WIT-WEET – and then they land on the workshop roof; thence to transfer to the big hedge that the roadrunners used for their nursery. We don’t know if they stay there all night, or if they just rest a while, and then find other quarters for slumber. The hedge seems fairly secure to me, but then I’m not a curved-bill thrasher.
Friday, June 13th, 2014
Even though it is Friday, the 13th, we had the good luck to see, up close and personal, a beautiful hawk. He came to the water pond this morning while Gary was out on the deck having coffee and reading. He signaled for me to bring the camera. I fired off a bunch of shots, but he was too low in sight at the pond, and was off into the skies very quickly. I have about twenty shots of him, but none very good. If I can tease out something from one of them, I will post it in the blog.
Thursday, June 12th, 2014
I somehow have been lax about posting to this page. I set it up so that I could write about what animals we were seeing when I didn’t have a picture to accompany the text, or because I would rather post something else (FOOD!) in the blog itself.
We are having a plethora of animals appearing lately, and I can’t possibly remember everything, but I am going to make a stab at posting here more often.
Yesterday and today a female squirrel has come up on the deck to hang out on the railing. Gary was out there yesterday, but perhaps she didn’t see him. He said she just leaned her front paws on the bottom railing and looked out at the beautiful scenery that is there, enjoying the view in the same manner that he was.
Today there was a smaller version poking around on the far end of the deck, making a stab at coming over to the sitting area – but spooked. He looks like he might be a young one, not quite fully furred out yet.
The cows are making regular appearances in the early morning and late evening, and sometimes during the heat of the day. The mesquite trees are in full seed bloom now, so the jackrabbits stand on their hind legs to get the pods; the deer come by now and then to get a munch; and the cows are able to really get in there and dine.
Three deer were there the other night, and I will post their portrait to the blog in a few days. I’ve been lazy lately, and not keeping up with the main blog either.
The renewal of daily trips to the Cancer Clinic for radiation treatments for Gary takes its toll on my energy level when it is hot like this. So far, so good. He is doing well, but has had only two of ten treatments for this round.
I have a series of pictures of a cottontail running up and down on the yard side of the fence – trying to get into the open area. A couple of jackrabbits seem to be coaching him, but he just got more and more frantic as time went on. At some point, they all got out of my sight, but all were on the other side of the fence, so I guess the advice from the big guys was sufficient. The water is on the outside of the fence, so that is a big draw.
One day there were a couple of quail trying to get over the rail fence from the yard to the open area. One finally made it, but the other one seemed a bit confused about the process of flying. They are so fat this time of year, that flying is probably painful for them – getting all that blubber airborne! He ran up and down, up and down. I couldn’t help think that it was deterring him like the Maginot Line!
Up and over, Big Boy!
The critter cam has been getting some shots of our larger water pond visitors – mostly during the night. They are IR, so not as colorful as daytime shots. We’ve had glimpses of the rascal fox that was on our porch earlier, javelina, coyotes, cottontails, jackrabbits, deer, and plenty of bird sightings. We think that perhaps the birds don’t register strongly enough to trigger the shutter, or there would be almost a constant stream of pictures. The camera captures a “heartbeat” photo about every thirty minutes, so perhaps that is when we see the birds, and it is just coincident with the auto snap.
I’ll try to keep up this narrative better. It will be easier now that there is so much to report.
Friday, May 24th, 2013
We’re suffering from “empty nest syndrome”. The nest has actually become a feeding station of sorts. Looks like the second nestling (we haven’t give her a name yet) is out hunting most of the day, but must not be coming up with sufficient sustenance, because at least once a day, I hear the soft cooing noises coming from the hedge. If I look out the kitchen window, I see one of the roadrunners in the hedge, but not in the nest. But when Mama shows up with something in her beak, the nestling makes a bee line for the nest and sets up that baby bird flutter – oh, I’m so pathetic – routine!
There is a transfer of food, and then they both disappear. Not clear how they make contact, but it seems that they are somehow connected during the day. Can’t ascertain if the nest is used at night because it is too dark out there, and I don’t want to shine a flashlight on the nest.
Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013
Every day it is something new. Today the remaining nestling jumped out of the hedge and ran across the yard and out into “the back 40”. We saw him running around, helter skelter, for a while, and then he disappeared. Next we saw what we thought was him on the railing of our deck with a tarantula wasp in his beak. But it turns out that was likely the mother, because the next thing we saw was the two of them in the nest, wasp going down the throat of the baby, who still knows how to flutter pathetically and look “oh, so baby cute”. They both settled down for a while, but now I hear their ratchet-y noise coming from “out there”, so maybe there are “get it yourself, Kid” hunting lessons going on.
Monday, May 13th, 2013
Roadrunners are not our only bird boarders. There is a tiny hummingbird that hangs out quite a lot in a tree right outside the window by my husband’s desk. He defends this territory with a vengeance. He takes on all comers. His record is having driven away – and, yes, all at one time – a persistent woodpecker that has been trying to drill into metal all over the neighborhood, two cactus wrens, and a sparrow. This little guy is fearless. Way too fast to get a snapshot of him.
Sunday, May 12th, 2013
We’ve named the female roadrunner as Diana, The Huntress – and the male as Dubarry, as in “Dubarry Done Gone Again”, a song of the 60’s by the Chad Mitchell Trio. Diana is busily hunting many hours during the day, and when she returns to the nest, she is warmly greeted by her offspring. Oddly enough, there are no cheeping sounds from the chicks when Diana approaches the nest. They make no sounds at all, and are certainly big enough to do so. Once in a while, we hear little cooing noises – like you would expect to hear from a pigeon that is far away – but that is it!
We can’t see the babies very well, and don’t want to be invasive, but their bodies seem to be about three to four inches long, and their tails are getting long, too.
This morning, Diana appeared with something really large for breakfast. We could see that she had something that was at least as big as one of the babies, but we couldn’t tell what it was. Too big for a lizard, so it must have been a mouse or maybe a small bird. We haven’t seen any mice around here, but I suppose there are such furry creatures that stay totally out of our sight.
There is about five miles of open ground between our house and the mountains, so plenty of room for all kinds of critters to make their homes.
Saturday, May 11th, 2013
BABIES! There are chicks – at least two of them – in the nest!!!
Saturday, April 13th, 2013
All is quiet in the wind department now, but there are a lot of big, black bumblebees buzzing around the hedge. Soon the hedge will be putting out a huge array of small white flowers that attracts these big black guys, plus the smaller, regular-sized bees. There is also a smaller bee that comes around. Not sure what kind it is – not a wasp, but looks more like a mini-bee. Anyone know what that is?
The usual array of birds that visits this hedge have noticeably decreased in the last few days. We had our “afternoon mockingbird” that would serenade us about 5:30 each day, and a motley crew of cactus wrens, curved-bill thrashers, pyrrhuloxia, and sparrows that flitted in and out on an irregular schedule. No birds at all show up now. I wonder if there is some sort of “marking” that the roadrunner does to indicate that the area is definitely “off limits” to other birds.
A couple of days ago, we had a whole flock of Scaled Quail visit. I grabbed some pictures, but the birds were all over the place – courting, I think – so not very good shots. They must be migrating through because we don’t see them very often. There has been a male cardinal around, too. He stays just out of camera range. Maybe if I put out some sunflower seeds, he would come into the yard.
Friday, April 12th, 2013
The nest must be finished because no new building materials have been forthcoming, and the resident seems to be in the nest most of the time now. We wonder if there is an egg(s). Must investigate more about this procedure – how many eggs? Incubation time? Both parents tending?
We’ve seen only the one bird recently, so presume it is the female making her new home “hers”. Pops seems to have vanished.
Thursday, April 11th, 2013
Most of the day today, there has been a roadrunner in the nest. It is really hard to see the bird on the nest, so when I decided no one was in residence, I went out on the deck to tidy up from the windstorms. I thought I would take a look at how the nest was coming along, so got real close to the latticework and peeked in. I was almost eyeball to eyeball with the sitting roadrunner. I guess she wasn’t concerned about all the ruckus I was making out there. They cased the joint long enough, so I guess they are somehow familiar with our voices and the noises we make when we are out on the deck, and they feel it is not a threat.
Wednesday, April 10th, 2013
After a couple of days away, the pair of roadrunners seem to be back in full nest building mode. What we presume is the female gets on the nest and scrunches down, presumably to make the bottom of the nest correctly fit her bottom. Then they both bring sticks and are now starting to bring other debris.
On a nightly basis, there is a small flycatcher bird that comes to roost on our porch light in the front of the house. It is underneath an overhang, so I suppose he feels safe there. He comes along just about dusk, and we can hear him announce his presence with his little sound that is reminiscent of an old-fashioned teakettle. This song lasts for a few seconds, and then he nestles down for the night. For a while, he would fly away if either of us walked on that side of the room (inside the house). His flight was making the automatic light come on, so it took us a while to figure out why the light was going on when someone walked near it on the inside of the house.
After a couple of weeks, he settled down, and doesn’t seem to be concerned about what we are doing on the other side of the wall from him. It is always too dark to get a picture of him, but he seems content to watch movies with us at night.
Tuesday, April 9th, 2013
There were a lot of animals out this morning. Presumably they are way behind in their food consumption after yesterday’s forced isolation. For the first time, we saw three jackrabbits at one time. Every once in a while a cottontail would dart by, and there were lots of birds.
Monday, April 8th, 2013
Yesterday afternoon there was a lot more building going on, but today, Monday, we were having a huge amount of constant wind, with gusts up to 50-60 MPH, so sayeth the weather app. Not a lot of animal activity. I hope they were all hunkered down somewhere. I guess this wind was prevalent in a lot of places today.
Sunday, April 7th, 2013
ONE roadrunner, with ONE stick in his mouth, made ONE trip to the nest this morning. This could take a while!
Saturday, April 6th, 2013
There were two jackrabbits hopping around in back this morning, but only one showed up in the late afternoon for “tea”. No sign of the roadrunners today. I am sure it is a cardinal that we are seeing when the red flash goes by. He sits out in a mesquite tree in back, and shows red all over. He took off when two adult cows and two calves came strolling by. The cows seem to be sauntering so slowly, but always seem to have gotten out of sight by the time I get back with the real camera.
Friday, April 5th, 2013
We had one more day of roadrunner nest building, but again they have disappeared. They seem so dedicated when they are here. One wonders what their intent is.
Mostly jackrabbit and cottontail sightings for the last few days. The quail have been scurrying about, but not in the huge flocks that they have in the past. There were a few out this morning, but the biggest visitor excitement today is the insistent rat-a-tat-tat of that bird singing “The Woodpecker Song” on the side of our house. When I go out to speak to him about this, he looks innocent and flies over into the ash tree, as if he has been there all along.
I couldn’t help but hear in my mind the Gaylords singing:
Such a happy tune – love ’em!
Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013
The pair of them are back this morning – and in major nest building mode. One brought sticks while the other pushed and poked them into place. Then they both brought sticks. Construction was going apace. But then they both disappeared again. We have no idea where they go, or why they spend such an effort and then go away. We wonder if they are building more than one nest, and then try each one out before the eggs actually appear.
Hope we stay in the running! ;->
Monday, April 1st, 2013
There is a dirt alley that runs down the back of our property which opens out onto about five miles of open space between here and the mountains. We can only conjecture how many animals there must be out there, but it is always thrilling to see the ones that venture close where we can see them. Today we have been visited multiple times by the jackrabbit. He has been pawing with vigor in the dirt in the alley, completely out in the open. Cannot imagine what he finds interesting in there. Rabbits sometimes hollow out areas in the summer, and then lie in them for a bit to get cool and take a bit of a snooze, but this is different.
Recently he has spent his time with us digging around at the base of some cactus. He is on the other side of it, so we can’t see what he is doing, but it seems to capture his interest every morning.
Also of note today were a pair of cottontails who went zooming down the alley, not to be seen again. Just at dusk, two or three black cows went wandering by quite far in the distance. I almost missed seeing them.
Saturday, March 30th, 2013
The last few days have brought great excitement! The two roadrunners who hang around here sometimes seem to have been casing the joint for suitability for a nest. For the last few days, a pair of them has been hopping around in the open area behind our house to collect sticks and then entering our yard to find a suitable place to put them. The first foray was into the eucalyptus tree as noted last week, but then we didn’t see them at all for a while.
When they reappeared, they made one small pass at the eucalyptus tree, and then started dragging copious amounts of rather large twigs into the bushy hedge that runs along one of the short ends of our deck. I was washing dishes and making a fair amount of noise with the garbage disposer, which didn’t seem to bother them at all. This went on for a while, but when I finished in the kitchen, and went into a different room, they seemed to disappear. They reappeared this morning with a few more sticks, but have yet again vanished when morning noise in the kitchen abated.
Thursday, March 21st, 2013
Hyperventilating here! Birds, birds, birds – right outside the kitchen window sitting on the etagére; they even land on the wind chimes – ding, ding. A stray cottontail hotfooted in across the alley, and scurried off at top speed. And then, and then . . . a roadrunner, with a couple of sticks in his mouth, appeared in the yard. He looked around for a while, and then hopped up into the eucalyptus tree. Soon his mate (presumably) appeared at the edge of the yard, and then hopped over to join him.
Next we saw them, one of them was eyeing the thick hedge as a possible nesting place, but found it unsuitable, apparently, and flew off. Moments later, both roadrunners were in the front yard gathering up the sphinx moths that have appeared in the newly-blossomming apricot/plum tree in the front yard.
Then, as roadrunners tend to do, they both disappeared. We will be watching for their reappearance.
Wednesday, March 20th, 2013
BIRDS! “Look out below” call the doves. Lots of birds today. There is what sounds to my untrained ear like a pyrrhuloxia that has been serenading us for a couple of hours. There is a big, thick hedge at the end of our deck, and they seem to find that a comforting place to hang out.
Tuesday, March 19th, 2013
Hey, there’s the jackrabbit – oh, wait – there’s another one – come quickly! Yes, I see them, and is that another one sneaking in from the left? Munch, munch – something good out there, but apparently not something that needs water for washing it down. Last year, they came for the water, but this year, they don’t seem to be interested.
Monday, March 18th, 2013
A quick visit by the jackrabbit, pushing our hopes higher for a good viewing Spring. A lot of quail motoring around, and some calling from the distance of what we deem are the Bachelor Bob’s casting about for mates.
Sunday, March 17th, 2013
Just when we were bemoaning the fact that we hadn’t seen any jackrabbits this year, one popped up and hopped around to taunt us, without actually coming in close enough to sip from the animal pond we constructed in the alley. It is fed by the drip system sprinkler that comes on every afternoon, so the water is always fresh. Don’t know if he ever did, but we didn’t see him, if he did.
Friday, March 15th, 2013
There was the HAWK! I’ve lost track of what we saw on which day, but since the excitement of the hawk, we have had cows – twice.
Then a bunny (cottontail) – two days in a row.
Then Mr. Jack R. Abbott (see previous post at https://dorrieanne.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/mr-and-mrs-jack-r-abbott/)
came hopping by, but this time without his missus. We’re not sure if this is one of the original pair, or a “puppy” that was left behind to defend this territory. He was here this morning again. He has found something tasty in a clump of cactus where he appears to munch in the mornings. This afternoon, a cottontail hopped about for a while. The quail have been making a daily appearance, and there have been lots of birds, including a regular visiting pyrrhuloxia.
It is staying light later now – it is almost six o’clock – so “animal possibility time” is also later and later each day.
We’ve enlarged the size of the watering hole to at least double what it was, so hopefully more and more animals will come to slake their thirsts. The level of the water goes down faster than evaporation, even here in this desert-like area, so we presume that it is drawing a fair amount of attention at night.
The crescent moon and the comet have had us out on the deck at night, but it is too dark out here to see very far without shining a flashlight.
Wednesday, March 6th, 2013
Not much happening in the animal area for the last few days. I saw a bunny, once, on each of two days, and this morning there was a roadrunner. Maybe I am not as observant some days. We hear the owl(s) at night, but can’t see them, of course. The coyotes still serenade us almost every night, but they, too, are invisible in the darkness.
Thursday, February 28th, 2013
The bright spot today was a low-flying pyrrhuloxia that came blasting across the deck, screeching to a halt while disappearing into the hedge. A few LBJ’s (little brown jobs) have come out of the hedge onto the etegere on the deck, fluffing themselves up, and then launching off into the sunshine. I don’t know if there is a perpetual nest in there for tiny birds, or if it is the equivalent of a rent-by-the-hour birdy tryst motel.
Wednesday, February 27th, 2013
One lone cottontail bunny at the close of day.
Tuesday, February 26th, 2013
Big day today! First thing this morning, we spotted a roadrunner dashing about; then another that was sitting on a horizontal limb of a tree nearby. As we were watching them, we saw three much larger shapes come into view about fifty yards out.
We seem to have two sets of coyotes. The set of three that we saw this morning are quite large and very “fluffy”, almost like wolves. The other pair that we see from time to time are much thinner and smaller in size. The three just trotted by, apparently not seeing the roadrunners. They didn’t seem to be in a hurry, but were trotting purposefully, right to left.
Not ten minutes later, a cottontail bunny hopped by, followed quickly by a second one. We have been seeing just the one bunny for a while, so it was good to see that there are now two. I guess there will be more in a while! ;->
The rest of the day proved unfruitful for seeing more animals, although there were a lot of birds flitting about in the bright sunshine. The temperature got up to about seventy degrees at the warmest today, so it was very pleasant all day.
Monday, February 25th, 2013
Wind has died down today back to normal – 8MPH-ish.
No big animals seen yet today, but there has been a run on Gambel’s quail this afternoon. There are about ten of them out there running around like they are on wheels.
Sunday, February 24th, 2013
Very, very windy. Animals all in hiding. A few Chihuahuan ravens went by, but the small birds must have been holding onto branches somewhere else.
Saturday, February 23rd
Birds flying all over. Doves complaining of no seeds in the rocks to scavenge. The roadrunner made his late-morning appearance, but only briefly.
At one point this afternoon, I looked up from the computer when a big white object flew over the roof of the deck. Wing span looked bigger than a hawk, and the coloring was very white – maybe an owl? We hear them almost every night.
Just now (6:30 p.m.) three cows are wandering by – two adults, one brown, one black, and a black teenager. It is too dark to stalk them with the camera. Brats! Why can’t they come by earlier in the day when there is sunlight?
Friday, February 22nd, 2013
One lone javelina came barreling out of the brush, making a beeline directly for the watering hole. He seemed to know exactly where it was. He took a few laps of water, and then stood and looked around for a while. Took a few more laps of water, and then moved away, but continued to look all around. Not sure why he was all alone; usually there is a whole herd of them. But this was midday, which is an unusual time to see them out and about.
Thursday, February 21st, 2013
One roadrunner sighting; one cottontail bunny; lots of doves and small ground birds. One baby something came out of the hedge and sat on the etegere to fluff himself all up and preen a bit before taking off on his fledge flight. I didn’t see him go, though.
At other times during the day, there were lots of birds, a bunny sighting, and the roadrunner made a quick pass through his local territory.
Wednesday, February 20th, 2013 (the great whiteout blizzard!)
Today is our 25th wedding anniversary! Yay! ;->
Not sure if we saw any animals today. There was a fair amount of snow on the “back 40” for a few hours. I think there was a bunny, but can’t swear to it.
Tuesday, February 19th, 2013
One bunny, zipping along the alley at top speed – left to right.
Monday, February 18th, 2013
One roadrunner – left side, across alley.
Sunday, February 17th, 2013
One coyote, trotting along, sniffing the ground.
Saturday, February 16th, 2013
One bunny and one coyote (not at the same time!), same general area.