It was not long after we moved in that we started hearing coyotes at night. Coyotes are not a big deal, we saw one in Winchester one night. But here they howl in so much variety, you cannot doubt that they have their own language.
We wondered if the stories about rattlesnakes were true, until we were out hiking not far from the house and found this posted warning.
It warns you that rattlesnakes are common and offers advice on what to do if you get bitten.
The advice: GET TO A HOSPITAL!
Soon after we moved in, we saw several hawks in our yard. We believe they are red-shouldered hawks. They were a mating pair and by June we began seeing two infant hawks too.
And this is a picture of one of them a bit closer. Click on the picture for a larger picture.
|Few things in nature are more beautiful than a hawk in flight!
Hawks are, of course, predatory birds. We watched them hunting in the fields around the house and once thought we saw one catching a mouse.
However some workmen saw one of them devouring the rabbit whose carcass you see here. The front of the rabbit was picked CLEAN!
|While walking in our neighborhood, we've seen all sorts of animals, but never expected to see a Tarantula! We found they live down in the Santa Margarita River bed and only occasionally come up near us, but here is one we saw on our walk one evening. He was about 3 inches in diameter - and we understand it was a he, as the males wander looking for mates.
|We were also told that rattlesnakes are found in our area. But our first snake encounter was this 3-1/2 foot long gopher snake that blocked our driveway one day when we were leaving. We had to stop and "shoo" him away so we could proceed. A couple of days later, we saw another under our carport and had to move it with a stick so the construction workers would not harm it.
|And here is the lizard ( a skink I think) that lives under the planter on our patio.
|We hear coyotes all the time at night and have spotted several in the area but have not yet gotten a photo of one. But here is a track one left on our driveway. We see tracks all the time, as they feed and drink around our pond then come up the barranca and cross over our driveway.
|If we leave the gates open, the coyotes come right into the backyard. If you stand outside with a camera, they just look at you!
|Another cool animal we have is California Quail. They have a cute topnot that hands down over their face. They are very nervous birds, but rarely fly, preferring to run in a funny, flat-footed gait.
And then we have hummingbirds. With two feeders our now, we have a good number, but Karen has three more feeders to put out!
See the page on hummingbirds!
We'll close with a bee in Karen's bonnet!
|We have a family of wookpeckers living in our cactus garden.
|Surprisingly, our birds like to perch in our cactus garden.
|Our small pond has attracted a couple of frogs who serenade us continually in the evening. One night we snuck up on him and he got used to us in a few minutes. He went back to croaking and let us take lots of photos - even with flash! Here is a larger version of this photo.
(c) 2003, Jim Hayes
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