Archive for Critters

Desert Garbage Disposal

Desert Cottontail Rabbit

The photo above is a shot of one of our local desert cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus audubonii) about to partake of some of the Brussels sprouts that didn’t make the cut to become part of today’s dinner. Verna will usually take unused portions of fresh veggies and toss them in the little wash behind the retention wall on the northwest side of our back yard. The rabbits don’t seem to mind that they’re getting second quality goods.

When we lived in California, we would dispose of this sort of ‘garbage’ in our compost bin. The compost worms would take care of recycling the kitchen waste. Now that we’re in the semi-rural Arizona desert, we do the recycling thing still with a compost bin, but most fruit and veggie scraps go up in the wash where a variety of critters devour them. We’ve seen everything including lizards, squirrels (several varieties), rabbits, jackrabbits, javelina and coyotes in the wash taking out the garbage, so to speak.

Read more about desert cottontail rabbits on Wikipedia. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Cabela is 12!

Cabela relaxing at Desert Oasis

Today, our elder dog, Cabela, is approximately twelve years old. I say that since when we adopted her from the Humane Society here in town, she was estimated to be about two years old but her actual birth date was unknown. That was ten years ago this month at the time we were having our Arizona house built.

Cabela is probably a pure bred miniature pinscher “blue” but we have no history on her other than she was found near the rodeo grounds up in Constellation Park here in Wickenburg. We figure she was cropped and bobbed by her original owners who managed to let her run off somehow. I pity their loss. At the same time, we feel fortunate to have this little dog despite her high-strung personality and a tendency to bark at most everything. She truly must think she’s ten feet tall and bullet proof.

At twelve, Cabela shows few signs of growing old. She is quite active, can still jump and run at full speed and when on a leash can drag “The Daddy” along to where she wants to go. Despite being headstrong, she can be a nice companion here at home and still sleeps on the bed with us, sometime stealing the covers. She is quite the character and we love her.

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Beethoven Is Ten Today

Bay Bay at 10Happy Birthday to our beloved Beethoven (a.k.a “Bay Bay”) who is ten years old today. He is the youngest of the two Miniature Pinchers that run our household. We adopted him about eight and a half years ago and, needless to say, is a beloved family member.

Image: Bay Bay at 10 - click to enlarge

As older dogs go, he is still very alert and seems happy most of the time. Of course, he is showing some signs of having joint pain and has turned grey in his face. He loves to sit with his “parents” watching TV and being wrapped in a warmed-up blanket. We hope he is having a good day.

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It’s Almost Wintertime And The Bees Are Still Buzzing

Cactus Flowers and a Bee

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we are less than two weeks from the official start of winter. Regardless of that fact, and the unusually colder weather happening everywhere else in the country, here in Wickenburg, we are enjoying our usual mild temperatures with highs in the 60’s or 70’s.

This Bishop’s Cap Cactus in the courtyard had a couple of open flowers today. I took this photo of the cactus while a bee was browsing for pollen. The cacti aren’t the only source for pollen in as much as the Rosemary shrubs behind the RV Drive still are producing flowers. You can see the bees browsing them as well.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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Turkey Buzzards’ Farewell

Turkey Buzzards

Now that Summer has abruptly ended (a 20° drop in daily high temperature since the first day of Fall), the Turkey Buzzards (Vultures) have been showing signs of migrating south for the Winter. Today, there were several circling overhead (as they generally do) and these two came to roost on the ridge just to the west of our back yard. It’s as if they dropped in to say adios as they head to Mexico. They will return sometime in the Spring of 2020.

More about Turkey Vultures from Wikipedia:

The Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) is a scavenger and feeds almost exclusively on carrion. It finds its food using its keen eyes and sense of smell, flying low enough to detect the gasses produced by the beginnings of the process of decay in dead animals. In flight, it uses thermals to move through the air, flapping its wings infrequently. It roosts in large community groups. Lacking a syrinx—the vocal organ of birds—its only vocalizations are grunts or low hisses. It nests in caves, hollow trees, or thickets. Each year it generally raises two chicks, which it feeds by regurgitation.

We look forward to seeing the Buzzards in the Spring when their return signals warmer weather ahead for us. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Roadside Wildlife in Colorado and Wyoming

antelope-herd-grazing.jpg

We’ve had several sightings of wildlife as we traveled across the West on our trip. We see the usual horses, cattle goats and sheep in rural areas, but we also have seen bears, deer and this small herd of antelope. The latter were grazing along a stream near one of the highways on which we traveled. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Dogs Relaxing in the Motorhome

Dogs Relaxing

The puppies (they will always be puppies to us) get a little tense (a lot?) when we go on a road trip, but they soon accept it for what it is - a doggie adventure. When they get back in the motorhome they get a snack and then they relax.

Beethoven is sitting on the sofa top while Cabela seems to be quite relaxed herself. They have done this vacation routine many times before and will be OK with it, but VERY glad and excited to get back home.

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