The closest stop sign is over a mile away and the first traffic light is 5+ miles down the road. A visit to the grocery store is almost 30 miles round trip. It's quiet here; just the sound of toads and coyotes at night. It seems very still, but when you look close there's always something happening. Read on about a few things we've noticed over the past few years.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Coyote Den (east den)

o Here's a picture of a second coyote den.  The coyotes ran off as we approached the den.  The entrance is hidden in this picture and it's a bit tough to see here but an airvent/window is viewable to the left of the tree centered in this pic. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

lizard convention

I took this pic through the window from the inside of my house.  Three's a party.   

Friday, September 23, 2011


I found him outside the garage.  Better outside than inside I suppose.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


The last few weeks a pair of Barn Owls have been hanging out around our house.  They frequently perch on our gazebo or on a nearby telephone wire.  One evening at dusk two of them were having a wonderful "conversation" of "whoooo'ing" each other back and forth.  It was so loud we heard it from inside our house over the sound of the TV.  What a wonderful sight to see when we stepped out to the patio.  Well we've been experiencing a bit of mouse traffic lately and I suspect that's why the owls are hanging out near the house.  These owls are excellent mousers.  They are nocturnal.  They work for us catching rodents during the night and the hawks work during the day.  It's quite a crew we have! 

I was out for a walk one day a few years ago and I spooked a barn owl from a small crevice in the side of  hill.  It was a neat sight to be so close and watch it take flight.

This last photo is some evidence that the owls were working diligently for us one night.  I found this poop (filled with bones) on top of my fence.  Kind of gross but I would rather find this than a mouse! 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

hummingbird in the garage

He wouldn't leave!   I left three garage doors open for three hours and he wouldn't leave.  Here he's sitting on a wire that is attached to the motor of the garage door opener.  My husband had to practically throw a blanket over him to get him out.  Check out his size in comparison to the standard electrical plug on the left.  He's tiny.

Friday, September 9, 2011

western screech owl

These birds wait on perches to swoop down on unsuspecting prey; they may also catch insects in flight.  I see them all the time early in the morning on fence posts and telephone poles.   Their diet consists mainly of small mammals, and birds, and large insects. They are active at night or near dusk, using their excellent hearing and night vision to locate prey.  We hear them every night as they screech in excitement when they find their prey.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Three amigos

Yesterday evening, about an hour before sunset, I was sitting quietly on my patio when I heard the cries and howls of coyotes break out.  Some were close and others were farther away.  I narrowed it down to three different locations that they were calling each other from.  I then spotted two of them about 100 yards from me and about 100 yards from each other.  One then trotted to the other while the third continued calling out from the farther location.  The two who were quickly near each other waited for the third to join them as he was on a distant hill and it took him about 5 minutes to make his way to the first pair.  What I found really interesting is that when the third coyote approached the first two he acted like a youthful puppy approaching a parent.  He wagged his tail in delight, he playfully jumped on the back of one, and then he fell off on to his back in a playful roll.  He was so happy to be reunited with his family that he couldn't hide his glee.  From the first howl to the reunion it lasted all of about 7 or 8 minutes.  This reminded me of footage one would see in a nature documentary. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

I call him Mohawk

I put up a hummingbird feeder and quickly figured out the following:  Hummingbirds are territorial. A male will guard a food source and chase others away (with the exception of breeding females).  I named this little guy Mohawk due to the scruffy feathers on top of his head.  

He guards this feeder by sitting on top of the pole.  The feeder is located between two trees and he will perch in the trees and chase off any "intruder" that dares enter his domain by crossing back and forth between the trees as needed.  While there is lots of chirping and squawking, the fighting may crest into a few pulled out feathers but it mostly just ends up with Mohawk chasing off the intruders.  I've enjoyed watching 3 to 4 other birds trying to give him the slip and drink his nectar.  He'll chase one away and the others will fly straight to the feeder for a 5 second drink before he returns to chase them off.

Hummingbirds guard a territory of about a quarter acre.