Benefits of early morning walks

javelina in a neighbor's yard
Javelina

One of the benefits of walking at dawn is the wildlife we get to see. This morning it was this herd of Javelina in front of a neighbor’s house. I texted the photo to the neighbors to show them the shenanigans going on in their driveway while they were sleeping.

What is a javelina you might ask?

Javelina (Tayassu tajacu) also known as collared peccary, are medium-sized animals that look similar to a wild boar. They have mainly short coarse salt and pepper colored hair, short legs, and a pig-like nose. The hair around the neck/shoulder area is lighter in color giving it the look of a collar. Javelina have long, sharp canine teeth which protrude from the jaws about an inch.

One major adaptation for survival is the fact that javelina live in large family groups. The average group size is 10 or less, but a few herds have known to number up to 53 animals. Each group defends a territory which includes their sleeping and feeding areas. They communicate with their own family group and other groups using sounds and smells.

Javelina live in desert washes, saguaro and palo verde forests, oak woodlands, and grasslands with mixed shrubs and cacti.

They can be found in the deserts of southwest Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, southward through Mexico and Central America and into northern Argentina.

https://desertmuseum.org/kids/oz/long-fact-sheets/Javelina.php

Other creatures we have seen are tiny baby bunnies, quail families, coyotes and mule deer.

mule deer in the street
Mule deer that crossed the street at dawn.

We are going adventuring in the area this weekend and I’ll write about that next week.

Have you seen javelina before? What plans do you have for the weekend?

One year ago we had a snow day!

coyote on wall

A year ago I posted these photos and video of our snow! It was so exciting and the coyotes frolicked around in the white wonderland. This year we have sunshine and chilly weather — but no forecasts for snow. Here’s what I wrote last year:

Just when I couldn’t get over the thunder, the wind, the hail — it started to snow. Snow was forecast for midnight and it was only 2 p.m. It not only snowed, it stuck! This is an area where snow is not common. It’s the Scottsdale area of Arizona, known for golf resorts and sunshine.

Next, I saw a creature race against our fence spiraling around the corner at rapid speed. I caught a quick look — it was a large coyote. Then I heard barking, barking and more barking out our front door. I stepped outside thinking it must be a neighbor’s dog who was threatened by the coyote. Maybe I could warn the neighbor? On the street in front of our house was the coyote barking with his mouth pointed up to the sky, all the while staring at me.

Although my video doesn’t capture the coyote, you can sure hear him:

While the coyote barked in the front yard, I went to get my husband so he could see him, too. We walked outside and there was no coyote.

We walked around to the backyard and there he was — on the wall. He stared and stared at us.

Sunday night, while watching football with my husband, the kitty jumped onto my lap and was terrified and trembling. Now I have a clue as to why. It could have been the javelina or the coyote — or both.

Yesterday afternoon, I was sitting at the table working on my laptop when I saw something scurry by the window. It looked like my big gray cat and I got a huge rush of adrenalin. I opened the door and called for kitty, but I was afraid to venture out. I don’t know how kitty could have gotten out, but my husband and I were in and out all day taking pictures of the snow and wildlife. Maybe she snuck out.

Since I had my doubts about going outside with a crazed coyote lurking by, I searched closets and under beds. Thankfully, I found kitty safe inside hiding. That creature who slinked by the window wasn’t my cat, so WHAT WAS IT?

Yesterday was truly a day like no other. At least we had our power, many people in the area lost theirs.

FYI, I figured out what the cat like creature what slinked by the window. It was our bobcat. I’ve seen it several times since.

What was an unusual day for you weather or animal wise?

Living in the Wild Kingdom

Two of the six javelina we spotted in our neighborhood Sunday morning.

Last week we were fortunate to see our bobcat in action inches from our bedroom window. I posted photos and video HERE.

Sunday on our morning walk, I caught sight of a squadron of javelina. Yes, that’s what a group of them are called. These were six youngsters I believe, because they were smaller than ones I’ve seen in our yard. Also, they didn’t have tusks. I thought they were related to pigs, but a docent at the nearby preserve told us they are in the guinea pig family.

Javelina enjoying freshly ripened prickly pear.

There’s never a dull moment in the desert of Arizona. I’m enjoying the surprises!

I’ll admit I got a little nervous when this guy stopped and faced me.

What are some of the creatures you have in your neck of the woods?

It’s a jungle out there!

bobcat on the patio
This precious kitty was inches from my bedroom sliding glass door.

My husband called to me from the bedroom. “The bobcat is here!”

“Where?” I asked scanning my view past the fence in the backyard.

“Right here.”

Wow. The bobcat was lounging inches away from our sliding glass door. She looked hot with mouth open breathing. But instead of panting, she was scenting her next meal. My cat Olive used to do that when scouting for birds in our backyard — before we moved to the wilds of Arizona.

I called to my sister-in-law to come into our bedroom and we stood fascinated watching our very own “animal kingdom.”

The bobcat nonchalantly grabbed a bird midair and took it behind a potted plant to munch. She climbed a tree and came down with another snack of a baby bird. Another baby bird was hopping on the patio oblivious to the danger. That life ended quickly.

The bobcat moved into the shade and fell asleep on our patio, sated with an afternoon meal.

Climbing into a tree to fetch a baby bird snack.
Arizona desert bobcat
Acting casual before catching a snack.
She looks like she owns the place!

I’m a little nervous to go outside after dark. You don’t know what’s out in those trees or under our patio furniture. It’s literally a jungle out there!

Thanks to my sister-in-law for the amazing videos.

Olive cat the barfly
Here’s Olive our wild cat who is hanging out on the bar.

And then this happened….

Harris hawk on jojoba Harris hawks on our jojoba bush.

After writing about my neighbor’s dog, I didn’t know that this would happen next…

I was taking a break, sitting in a zero-gravity lounge in the sun, reading a book about creativity called “Vein of Gold.” I placed two bird feeders in our back yard a few weeks ago. I enjoyed watching the quail and pigeons who came into the yard, ignoring me as I sat still with my book.

Hawk on wall Harris hawk on a neighbor’s wall.

Then I heard a crash. Another crash. I saw the giant brown wings of a Harris hawk. It looked like it was smashing into the screen door of our casita. Crash! It hit it again. I jumped up, yelled and waved my arms, hoping to scare away the hawk away who had a quail in his claws.

I quickly walked down to the casita door and quietly peeked inside. I wasn’t sure if the hawk had broken through the screen door. I was shocked when I discovered this:

Broken window due to hark The window after the hawk repeatedly flew into it.

It wasn’t the screen door but a window he smashed into. I think the hawk thought our casita was the perfect place to hide out in to devour the quail. I’ve decided not to refill the bird feeders. I don’t want my yard as a hunting ground for hawks, bobcats and coyotes to stalk our fattened quails.

Not only do I worry about the neighbor’s dog, but also large birds of prey shattering windows.