Friday, October 9, 2020

Wildlife at last!

Mystery picture: 

Read on to see what I barely got a picture of here 

It's been so hot in Phoenix and the pandemic has altered our responsible travel options greatly, but last weekend I got out camping.  The wildlife count was incredible.

-Lots of big beautiful tufty-eared Abert's squirrels playing, eating, caching food, and chittering at us.

-Chipmunks and one small mouse thing that skittered away in the dark before I could get a good look

-Lots of birds I don't know, including one that had distinctive green coloration on his belly and one with really orange eyes.  

-A red-tailed hawk (or something similar)

-A kestrel, maybe, that flew right at us down the trail and then veered off.

-A whole bunch of wildly posturing acorn woodpeckers by the spring on the way to Pinal Peak.  They're beautiful with their black, white, and red coloring, and I don't see this species in lower elevations.

-Deer.  Four times!  Twice right from our campsite, once bounding away from us on the trail as we turned a corner...and then bounding back...and then bounding away.  One time we got to quietly watch them for a good twenty minutes before they wandered off.   

-And the most exciting?  The first night, after dark, we were sitting around the picnic table when something ran past and then up a tree, like a squirrel, and we thought, "Aren't squirrels in bed by now?"  We heard some more noises and then a couple of minutes later, my brother said, "The squirrel's under the table."  He shined his flashlight, and I said, "That's not a squirrel!  It's a ringtail cat!"  He was soooo beautiful with a tail longer than he was, striped in white and black.  He sniffed around, completely unafraid, jumped up on the table, nosed at our bag of garbage from dinner, ran up a nearby tree, scampered to a rock, ran back to the table, and then was gone.  Amazing.  I had never seen one in my life, and just that morning I had told Dad, "I would love to see a ringtail sometime."  It was so cool.  Then, the next night, he came back!  Our campsite must have been on his nightly rounds.  I loved it.

Did I get good pictures of any of them?  No!  But I swear we saw them.  It was awesome.  

Now maybe you can decipher the picture above.  

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