Saturday, August 19, 2006

Critter Sightings 1

There are several problems with critter sightings. You may be without binoculars in hand (and properly focused) ... you may be without camera ... you may have camera but wished you were equipped with a super long-focus lens, like stepson Bob.

I guess I just got lucky, in this case. There I was, trying to get a close-up picture of a flower, when who should emerge from beneath the fence, but this handsome fellow. And I mean truly handsome. Glossy black fur, clean white stripe.

And a gorgeous tail that would do any fur bearing critter proud.

These pictures, by the way, are dedicated to my Aussie nephew who recently visited. His world has a totally unique suite of animals; his introduction to the family skunk was on a trip to Flagstaff through Oak Creek Canyon with Memphis niece, his sister.

"What is that strange odor," he asked wrinkling up his nose as they motored on. We all know the answer to that question. Turned out he learned his lesson well -- it was a five-skunk trip.

And, yes, we do have skunks like the fellow above in our neighborhood. I've only seen them in the years that I had an outdoor cat with a matching outdoor food dish. Need I say more.

Chipmunks are another neighborhood critter. Every day I hear the call and response chirps of Chip and Dale or their friends and relations. I can spot them when they are in trees, but they are always too far away to photograph. My next door neighbor was luckier -- and caught this pair near his koi pond.

It took my printer lady to catch a hummer nesting on camera. The eggs were laid in a nest atop a wind chime -- a very poetic gesture on the mom's part.

Here are the nestlings nearly ready to leave the nest. Says Barbara, "They are two weeks old and ready to fly. The mama is not coming around much any more. I guess she wants them to leave the nest."

Here is the mom, taken a little bit earlier -- note how long her beak is, compared to the youngsters. Looks like they have some growing to finish!

It's been years since we had horned toads in the neighborhood -- back in the 80s, I saw as many little hornies as I see other brands of baby lizards nowadays. The aforementioned nephew caught this one up on Thumb Butte and the fat squirrel (below) at the Grand Canyon. (We've got too many cats patrolling our neighborhood for squirrels to feel comfortable.)

Note: For previous critter reports, go here, here, and here.


Karen of Scottsdale said...

When I lived in San Diego I smelled skunks all the time, but I've never smelled one here in Scottsdale.

A few years ago we stayed in Sedona, actually Oak Creek Canyon, and driving to our hotel cabin we saw raccoons checking out the garbage cans. If only I had a camera at that moment. It was my first raccoon sighting.

Granny J said...

For years, I wanted either a pet raccoon or a near relative, a kinkajou -- which is a Central American raccoon with a prehensile tail (one more limb to use for getting into mischief!)

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