Archive for Critters

Ammospermophilus Leucurus Fortitudus

White Tailed Antelope Squirrel

Damsel and I maintain a wild bird and animal feeding station on the hill just behind the RV drive behind our house. I was up there this morning replenishing the feeders when this little white-tailed antelope squirrel came right up to me and seemingly begged for a tidbit. I broke off a little piece from a sunflower seed bird bell and tossed it to the little critter. I had my little camera, so I snapped pictures of it as it consumed the tidbit I threw down.

The title of this post comes from the binomial name of this variety of squirrel combined with a bastardization of the Latin word for fortitude or “courageous.” It seemed like a brave little critter to come within a couple of feet from where I stood.

There were several other squirrels and a few birds in the area; a cardinal in the mesquite tree behind me and a curve billed thrasher already pecking on the bird block I just hung up as I started back down the hill. We certainly enjoy our desert critters and flowers.

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Second Spring in the Desert

Butterfly on Rosemary Flower

Many of the flowers are gone this late in the season, but the rosemary bushes we planted five years ago along the RV Drive still have their tiny blue flowers. This butterfly was kind enough to pose while this photo was taken a couple of days ago. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Second Spring Butterfly and Red Bird

Butterfly and Red BirdNow that the really hot daytime temperatures have abated, we have what we call “second spring” here in Arizona. That is the time when there are still flowers blooming, bees buzzing and of course hummingbirds and butterflies browsing the remaining flowers.

I captured this image of a black and yellow butterfly alight on one of the red bird of paradise flowers in the courtyard. The butterfly browsed there long enough for me to get my camera, go out into the courtyard and take several images of it before it flew away in the late morning breeze.

Second spring will be over within just a few weeks, giving way to actual autumn-like weather with leaves turning or falling and the red bird shrubs going dormant for the late fall and winter. Although we love the summers here, it will be nice for some cooler weather to prevail and, as we know, harsh winter weather seldom comes our way. In nearly six years of living here, we have seen snow stick to the ground only once.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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Snake at Sundown

Snake at Sundown

Damsel was in the courtyard just after sundown this evening when she noticed this three and a half foot long snake coming across the road out front. She called to me telling me I should bring a camera. After she pointed it out, we went down the RV drive to get a better look.

According to Wikipedia, the species Ctotalus scutulatus (Western Mojave Rattlesnake) is reputed to be aggressive toward humans and, in fact, this guy coiled up into a striking position as I approached. I took this photo before quickly retreating behind the landscape wall. We wanted no close encounters with some of the most toxic of rattlesnake venom.

We backed off and watched the snake slither along the RV Drive until finally disappearing under some of the native creosote on the lot to the west of us. We hope that it keeps on moving away from the area where we will be walking the dogs later tonight.

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A Black Butterfly Browsing the Red Birds

Browsing the Red Birds

Late this morning, I noticed a butterfly in the courtyard among the Red Bird of Paradise flowers. I quickly got my Canon EOS camera and went out front to see if I could get some shots of the butterfly before it flew away.

The butterfly flitted here and there for a while after I got out front, but it finally settled on one of the flowers long enough for me to capture it and its pollen laden wings in this image. Click on the image to enlarge. I also got some other good images here and here.

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Black Bee Pollinator

Black Bee Pollinator

I did not have the camera handy when the hummingbirds and butterflies were browsing the red bird flowers in the courtyard, but I did manage to get this big black bee doing its thing. We have pollinators of all kinds including this guy, the afore mentioned hummingbirds, bees of all kinds and yellow-jackets that frequent these beautiful summertime flowers.

We saw, but did not manage to photograph more critters today. We had the usual little ground squirrels, cottontail rabbits, black-tailed jackrabbits, a bunch of lizards of varying species and one lonely coyote crossing the north property line eastbound. We hope he keeps moving on . . .

Click on the image to enlarge.

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The Warmer Weather is Back

temperature.jpgToday is the first of several days that are forecast to be triple digit days. The National Weather Service calls it an “Excessive Heat Warning” and it is forecast to continue through Monday. Even the Low temperatures are around 80 degrees which doesn’t provide much relief.

The thermostat is set to 82 degrees and the A/C unit keeps it near that temperature which feels REALLY cool when coming in from walking the dogs. We also have the ceiling fans turning in the office and the great room during the day and in the bedroom during the night. The fans circulate the air so the temperature doesn’t have hot and cool spots as could be the case.

The warm weather also activated some of the local reptiles. Yesterday, we found a dead rattlesnake on the road near the neighbor’s wall across from our driveway. I can’t be sure about the species, but it looks like it might be a Western Mojave rattler - either that or a Diamondback. Click on the link to view the image of the dead snake.

There is somewhat of a mystery about that snake and how it met its fate. Damsel and I observed that the Town’s recycle collection truck paused at that exact spot on the road where we later found the critter. Did the driver kill the snake? Did he run it over? I dunno. When I see him next week I plan on asking about what happened.

The other part of the mystery is that later in the day I went out to fetch the carcass and dispose of it but it was gone. Did the turkey buzzards beat me to it? Some other critter, two or four legged? I dunno that either.

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