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.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Red tail hawk baby chick update

One baby chick has disappeared from the nest.  It could have been pushed out by it's sibling because of competition for food, or just may have died due to a health problem or other reasons.  Regardless, we're now down to one chick.  The remaining chick has trippled in size since birth 3 weeks ago but still has it's all white fluffy downy feathers.  It's now feeding itself on what Mama and Papa hawk bring to the nest and even spends time grooming it's feathers.  It's about half way through it's "childhood" so to speak.  Prediction:  I'm expecting it to take flight from the nest on or about May 17th.  

***UPDATE 5/19/12:  The chick was there on May 17th...but gone on May 19th....pat,pat,pat...I'm patting myself on the back for the accuracy of my prediction.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Baby hummingbirds

My husband took this photo of two baby hummingbirds in our yard a few minutes ago.  The opening where the two babies are lying is about the size of a quarter.  These two napped peacefully in the sun.  Do you see their black beaks?  Check out how their feathers are starting to sprout. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

crumbling wall

This old shack has been abandoned for years, Mother Nature is taking back over.  Check out the window in the center of the wall.  Erosion from a hill on higher ground has washed dirt around this shack so that just about 5 or 6 ft of the 9 ft wall is visible. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Someday I'm going to get a real camera.  Until then my 8 yr old Kodak and narrative will have to do.  This furry guy jumped back and forth between two holes trying to dig out some kind of vermin.  A juicy mouse or a fat squirrel maybe?  He watched us as we mowed our lawn.  We'd stop and watch him dig for a while.  I hope he got his meal.

Monday, April 9, 2012

red tail hawks hatched today

Yesterday Mom and Dad nested on the eggs and kept them warm.  This afternoon I noticed Mom was standing on the side of the nest instead of on top of it.  Then I saw two white fuzzy heads pop up with their beaks open begging for food.  Mom complied by placing smalls shreds of meat into their mouths. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

Unfortunately I came across this snake while hiking last week.  Except for a long black flickering toungue, it never moved.  I spotted it at 15'.   Check out the black and white rings at the tail just before the rattle. I took a few photos and then retreated.  The next day I very carefully retraced my steps and found a dead rattlesnake 30' from the first encounter.  I didn't have the courage to inspect it.  I'm not convinced it was the same one although it did have a diamond pattern.  Ugh....this is really bothering me. I know sooner or later I'm going to see another one.   

Here are some facts about the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake:
Life expectancy is more than 20 years but is typically shorter because of hunting and human expansion. Solitary outside of mating season, they are one of the more aggressive rattlesnake species because they rarely back away from confrontation. When threatened they usually coil and rattle to warn aggressors.
In the winter they hibernate sometimes with other species of snakes.  Usually inactive between October and March, although occasionally they may be seen sunning themselves on warm winter days.  These snakes can go for up to two years without food in the wild. A 5½ month starvation study showed that the snakes reduced energy expenditures by an average of 80% over the length of the study. The most interesting finding was that the snakes grew during the study, indicating that while the snake's mass was shrinking, it was putting its resources into skeletal muscles and bone.

This snake is key participant in the food chain and it is an important predator of many small rodents, rabbits, and birds. In turn it is preyed upon by a variety of larger mammals and birds, such as coyotes, foxes, and hawks. It is primarily a nocturnal animal, hunting for its prey on warm summer nights.

Gestation period lasts six or seven months and broods average about a dozen young. The young only stay with the mother for a few hours before they set off on their own to hunt and find recluse, thus the mortality rate is very high. Mating occurs in the spring and the females give birth to as many as 25 young, which may be as long as 12 inches in length. The young are fully capable of delivering a venomous bite from the moment they are born.