Wednesday, 30 September 2015

I am Not Looking at You So You Can't See Me.

Our Rock Squirrels are notoriously shy. This one was clearly not happy when I spotted it so it worked on the policy of 'if I ignore it, it will go away.' Which of course, I did, eventually, after taking some photos. 

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Popping in for Lunch

This Black-headed Grosbeak has become a regular around the feeders but it prefers to wait underneath for food to fall.

Sunday, 20 September 2015


Not much comment needed for this little beauty, the ears say it all.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015


We have a resident Sonoran Desert Toad in our back yard. During the heat of the day he hunkers down in the shade, under the agaves.

And then at night, after the monsoon rains have passed through he comes out to hunt. If we are eating supper on the patio he often comes out to see what we are doing. He is very appreciative when we put the outside lights on as all he has to do is sit and wait for the bugs to be drawn in by the light.

However our backyard buddy has obviously been through at least one battle in his past. His left eye is quite a mess.

Judging by his girth, this is not limiting his ability to hunt and the wound is obviously old. Inevitably, he has become known as Nelson but thankfully he isn't missing an arm as well!

Saturday, 12 September 2015

The Saga of the Snake in a Cage.

My husband has a packrat obsession. To a certain degree, I get it. They are extremely destructive and when we first bought our house they had invaded the roof space and caused no end of problems. But that was years ago and now they have been evicted and the house has been made rat proof. I just consider them to be part of the food chain on our land, they ensure we have a healthy population of bobcats, snakes and raptors, all of which I enjoy. However I don't think the war ever ended for my husband and whenever there is a new burrow, a new dropping, a new nibble on a cactus pad, he ignores all the other potential candidates and immediately accuses the hapless packrat. So, true to form, when we came home the other day to find a quite large excavation under our front step, my husband immediately stated the packrat was to blame. I expressed my doubts, saying that I thought the burrow was unusually large for a packrat but to no avail. One small concession I have achieved in the ongoing war is that we use 'have a heart' traps. They capture the animal without injuring it, thus allowing you to relocate it. So the traps were set outside the large burrow and we went to bed. The next morning I was woken at 5.50am (!) by my husband demanding that I come outside and 'sort this out.' So I stumbled out of the front door in t-shirt and flip-flops to be greeted by this....

I am trained to work with venomous snakes so my husband was not being entirely irrational in his request. It just wasn't quite how I had envisioned starting my morning. I went back inside and got myself more appropriately attired and grabbed my snake tools. The snake seemed quite relaxed, curled up in her 'nest.' There was no signs of aggression and she didn't rattle at all. I careful slid the door up and off the cage. Hubby suggested that I tip the cage up so that she would slide out but of course, snakes don't work like that.

She was very comfortable and wasn't going anywhere. I put the cage into a nearby flowerbed and left her in peace. I knew this wasn't going to be a quick process so went off and had breakfast.

Four hours later she finally decided that it was time to make a move and trundled slowly on her way.

She didn't seem to hold a grudge over her temporary confinement and allowed me to follow her progress and take numerous photos. (For future posts.)

Several hours later I happened to look out of the window and saw the true culprit emerging from the fresh excavations - a rock squirrel!

For once I am actually organised enough to link this post to Eileen's Saturday Critters. Please visit her great blog.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

We Had Babies. Part Two

This one is not quite as cute as the other baby shot. I was rushing around one morning, filling bird feeders when I noticed this spider. I thought it would make a good shot at the entrance to its web. It wasn't until I looked at the pictures later on my computer that I noticed she was not alone!
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