Saturday, February 25, 2012

Desert Wildlife

I am in Yucca Valley today where at 7 am its already 55 degrees F and it will get up to the high 60s later today. The weather is often fantastic like this at this time of the year. Clear blue skies, sunny, 60s.

We are in a rental house for the week, down here to work on the home we are building. You can find a lot of houses to rent out this way - they get a lot of tourists in from Europe and LA. Keep that in mind if you plan to visit the Joshua Tree/Mojave Desert area. We stayed in this house over New Years weekend and decided we would stay here again. It is more convenient than a hotel - we have lots of space, a fully equipped kitchen where we can prepare our own food, a great porch. Its a great little house, close to downtown Yucca for a quick errand run, but far enough out to be silent and peaceful. No views of neighbor houses, and surrounded by juniper trees and other desert foliage.

I've been up since 5 am - just couldn't sleep. I watched the sun rise. I watched the huge jack rabbits, tiny antelope squirrels, doves, bluejays, quail and other unknown birds that seem to surround this little house - all very active in the first morning light. The owners of this house put out bird seed that attracts them and these desert creatures are fun and beautiful to watch. The ground squirrels are adorable. The jack rabbits are huge and everywhere.

Mojave Desert Wildlife Photos - I've not been quick enough yet to capture the fast little critters with my own camera.
Huge ears!
And the quail...I just love quail. We have a large group of quail that live between our yard and those of our neighbors back in Salt Lake City. The pack of them migrate from yard to yard at different times of the day. We have a bird feeder and scatter feed in our back yard so they always visit us later in the afternoons. I watch them from my home office window. I've counted 20 sometimes. Have you ever watched quail? They are very silly. They poke around like chickens. They dig out holes and sit in them, I suppose to clean and cool themselves off with the dirt. When frightened they scurry away by foot, rarely taking to the air. The little feathers on their heads always bobbing away. The babies will follow their parents single file in a line, and they are adorable. We've been fortunate to have many baby sitings in our yard.

Not a high res image, but better than the quail photos I've managed to get.

Our friends saw some deer out back of this house when we were here in December. I've yet to see them around here. You can hear coyotes a lot at night - yet I've yet to hear them because I usually sleep too soundly. The owner tells us a mountain lion and bobcat have both been spotted in the area - they've found footprints in the yard. I so want to see them - from a safe distance.
I like that we will have all of this kind of wildlife surrounding our house when we move out here. I am a little freaked out about scorpions and tarantulas although people tell me they rarely see them. I know they like to hide under rocks and in their burrows so they really aren't interested in messing around with people. I just don't want to find one in my bed one day. Or in the shower. Or a closet floor. Or a dresser drawer. Or in between the couch cushions. Or my shoe. We will be building things very securely to risk this kind of situation. Yesterday I was reading that the most likely time to see tarantulas is in September and October when the males migrate to find mates. Rarely, but it can happen, they will migrate in large groups. Can you imagine seeing hundreds or thousands of them crawling along? I am intrigued by this and kind of want to see that at some point in my life. However preferably not in my yard.

1 comment:

  1. I can't imagine anything more terrifying than a huge group of tarantulas crawling in my general direction.