Last light, Stone Steps © Robert Sommers 2023

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Animal Farm

We have some new faces of late in the neighborhood. The kids next door are in 4H and I saw their cute yorkshire pigs scampering around the pasture on my way home from work the other day.

I had to patiently wait for this brown varient king snake to do his sideways slither across the canyon road yesterday. Speaking of king snakes, Renée shot this picture of one above her door last night. Fell to the ground quickly after the shot was taken.

And Brett was walking down at the end of Rainbow Creek when he came upon this little baby rattler, coiled up no bigger than your fist.


Of course, this time of year, I am really thinking a lot about birds. I have noticed that different areas of town are home to different species of hawks. My Santa Margarita River Valley is predominately red tailed hawks along with some smaller species like Swainsons. I rarely see red shouldered, who probably steer clear of their larger cousins.

Wilt and Gird and the south end of town is more red shouldered territory.

René has a red shouldered hawk living in her tree. We identified it both visually and through one of the many bird call identification sources on the web. Visit this link to hear its distinctive call.

Renée also thought that she had recognized the sound of the canyon wren on her sunday morning walks up Monserate Mountain. She had become familiar with the bird on her trips rafting down the Colorado. After listening to the clip she knew it was a positive match.


A story about birds at a dinner party the other night furnished me a new word for my vocabulary. Sharon told me that she lives near Wilt Rd. and heard an unfamiliar and piercing sound and battle in the middle of the night recently. The next morning she found a dead owl on the ground, probably a common barn owl. She went to a vet who told her that the owl had one enemy, a red tailed hawk, but that their paths rarely crossed, the owl being nocturnal and the hawk diurnal. What is the name for an animal that is active both day and night and the newest word in my arsenal? Cathemeral.

An animal that is primarily active at dawn and dusk is called crepuscular. Claude Levi Strauss called these animals twilight animals. Matutinal is a creature primarily active in the pre dawn, vespertine, dusk.


So with that I leave you with a few more bird shots from yesterday afternoon and this morning. The juvenile red tailed hawks are starting to venture over to the next valley, Brian saw one walking on the road near Riverview. Soon, if history proves correct, they will disappear from the valley entirely.

Top 10 new species - Arizona State.


Anonymous said...

Loved your blog today I find birds especially hawks interesting and compelling, I had an experience in Thailand two weeks ago playing golf, I hit a shot that landed beneath a tree and when my caddie directed to where my ball came to rest and as I was going thru my pre shot routine I was startled by a loud screeching/chirping noise, I looked up in the tree and there was an owl looking at me and my caddie. Apparently this owl was pissed that we were disturbing his or her home tree. When I told the two Thai guys that I was playing with they had to confirm with the caddie because I am farang seeing things and they had never seen an owl on their home course. After reading your blog I looked up in wikipedia owls in Thailand and I am sure that it was a "spotted owlet", Wikipedia says there are 195 species of owls in the world and that 18 of them can possibly live in Thailand. The Olympic Club where I play golf has many very large cypress and various breeds of pine trees, the tops of these trees are patrolled by a species of red tail hawks who have over the years wiped out the rabbit, quail, fox, squirrel, raccoons and many other species of birds. Sometimes you can see them in action snatching a field mouse or chasing a crow, most of the time they are perched looking for their next meal.

Anonymous said...

Interesting looking rattlesnake--doesn't appear to be a Diamondback.