We had some rain last night, an unusual May occurrence and the garden is alive! I stepped outside, smelled the lovely damp desert air, snapped a few quick throw-away shots, then went back onto the cave and got to work. I snapped a few quick ones throughout the day.
I’ve been sitting in front of the computer for two days, forcing info into my head, trying to take my comprehension of higher web function to the next level (well, at least for me). Even with the drone of a webinar running, I could still hear the birds outside. The Gambel’s Quail started their ‘automatic weapon’ sound and the Curve-billed thrasher was making his funny noise. I knew there was a snake!!! The male Gambel’s was strutting back and forth, puffing his feathers.
With a slight sway, one of our resident Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) was moving into one of several favorite spots, under the Finch feeders. Due to the amount of falling seed, dove and quail, as well as our ground skulking towhees and thrashers, like to glean the seed.
It took just a minute for her to completely coil into position, under the zephranthes and the muhlenbergia. Incredible to watch her extend her body into the ‘strike zones’ in different directions, as if measuring the proper distance in preparation for the kill. A young Pyrhulloxia wasn’t very happy, and refrained from leaving it’s safe perch on the cactus.
Our resident snake.…I try to stay out of the strike zone and it is easy to do when it is cool and they are set and hunting. When the temperature and humidity increase in July, they actively hunt ‘on the move’. Even now, just because you know where one is located, don’t be complacent…do you know the whereabouts of the other four?
It is difficult to keep one’s mind on dangerous critters when the diversity of the garden can be so captivating. Beautiful swaying Purple Three-awn Grass, disregarding the winds’ supplicant gusts, resilient and shining in the sun, is a nice soft counter to all the sharp aspects of the desert. Colorful flowers and groundcover provide a lot of areas for snakes AND prey to hide.
Cacti are blooming, also. The Santa Rita Prickly Pear (Opuntia santa rita), near the first metate, is in full bloom. It is resplendent…
So, did you forget there are snakes around?!?!?! WATCH YOUR STEP!!!
After a long day at the computer, I returned to the outdoors to feed the birds. The snake had moved into a different spot, birds did the evening feed and we were treated to a wonderful atypical May sunset.
Perfect finish to a long, sedentary, but productive day.