Archive for ‘Nature Notes’

My Magic Rabbit

I believe I have finally solved the enigma of why magicians are always pulling rabbits out of hats – because rabbits are always getting into things! As proof I offer Exhibit A, a Desert Cottontail in my front yard. Here the rabbit is nibbling on the rusty metal – iron deficiency perhaps? Note the position of the spout.

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And then the rabbit crawled inside. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it! The rabbit had a good time rolling the container from side to side (look where the spout is now).

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I was beginning to worry that this was turning into a rescue situation…

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But then, abracadabra, the rabbit popped back out.

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Never a dull moment in my little corner of the beautiful Sonoran Desert!

Landscaping Help…

I have a family of Harris’s Antelope Squirrels (Ammospermophilus harrisii) at my house. I enjoy watching them as they scamper, bounce, and climb their way through my front yard. They seem to appreciate that I’ve worked hard over the past 7 years to re-vegetate the area with native plants. They are quite comfortable here – finding all the food, shelter, and water that they need.

In return for providing these basic necessities they give me free tree and bush trimming, soil aeration, and other landscaping help. The recent monsoon soaking revealed another of their free services – tree planting. Apparently, they have been busy squirreling away caches of palo verde seeds in my garden paths. Their food storage plan didn’t work so well since the seeds have now sprouted in thick clumps. Judging from the number of mini-forests, they’ve been busy little buggers!

 

 

 

One of These Things…

I know this situation isn’t an exact match but I now have that Sesame Street song “One of these things” in my head because of this photo from my front yard.

“One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn’t belong…”

Since I know the scale is difficult to discern, you should know that this bush is roughly 4 feet tall.

This creative feeding behavior will only be exacerbated since Southern Arizona is at least a month away from any rainfall. But I honestly don’t mind, I added many different plants to my yard in order to provide food and habitat. Besides, they are adorable!

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Prehistoric Human Prints Nearby

Exciting finds discovered by the team excavating the site of the new Sunset Road bridge: the oldest human footprints in the Southwest! You can read more in this article. Lucky for us, a flood covered the sets of footprints with mud preserving them. Preliminary dating suggests the adult, child, and dog were walking in their agricultural fields 2,500 to 3,000 years ago.

The archaeological survey also unearthed a more recent Hohokam settlement in the vicinity. Pima County is offering free tours of the site for the next few weeks.

If you’re interested in taking the tour, you better hurry since bridge construction commences this spring. Don’t fret about the loss of artifacts or the footprints, they will be preserved and further researched to glean more clues about these ancient Santa Cruz River Valley inhabitants.

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Me, on the Radio

Here’s my recent interview on local radio promoting Beat Back Buffelgrass Day. Many thanks to Dan’s skilled editing for keeping me comprehensible. And yes, I am painfully aware that I used up my lifetime supply of the word “great.” Isn’t that just great?!

Click on the link above to go to The Weekly Green page, the audio is at the bottom of the page.

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