Views from the neighborhood

Have a great week. Are you cooking for Thanksgiving or visiting friends?

Cat tales and change

Olive in Palm Springs, hanging out by our pool, enjoying indoor/outdoor life.

Life is full of change. Look at Olive, our 11-year-old cat, who was able to roam free in Palm Springs since kittenhood and now is captive inside our house.

I was worried about how she would adjust. But with only two escapes outside in two-and-a-half years and frantic rushes back inside the house, I’d say she likes it inside. My daughter said that maybe she was always meant to be an indoor cat.

Olive’s baby picture when we first brought her home from the animal shelter.

I think Olive sensed danger when she escaped to our wild nature-filled yard.

This past weekend, I was taking out recycling. We have an enclosure for our trash and recycling bins with walls and a gate. When I opened the gate, I came eyeball to eyeball within inches of another cat who was standing on the wall.

I didn’t have my phone with me so no picture, but it was a teenage bobcat with blackish spots on a dark blonde coat. I turned and ran and glanced back to see the bobcat hightailing in the opposite direction. I looked at our video from the night before and found a few seconds of a bobcat walking by. But I’m afraid I’ve scared off the cat for the near future.

This is a photo taken by my SIL of our regular bobcat visitor. I think the one I saw a few days ago might be one of her kits.

“Change is the only constant in life.

Ones ability to adapt to those changes

will determine your success in life.”

–Benjamin Franklin

Here’s a video of Olive’s new indoor life. She seems to enjoy it!

Olive and quail.

What are your thoughts about change and life? What major changes are you going through now or have in the past?

Our wild neighborhood

We saw two mule deer on our morning walk.

Unfortunately our nest of quail eggs did not hatch. It makes me sad, because I was looking forward to our own hatchlings. We do have a couple families of quail visit our backyard. I also was thrilled to see deer yesterday morning.

I’m not sure what to do with the nest of eggs. I’m leaving it alone for the time being, but think I should throw them away?

I never get tired of the wildlife in our neighborhood. Across the street we have the McDowell Nature Preserve with more than 130 miles of hiking trails. That’s probably why we get deer, coyotes, javelina and bobcats waltzing through our backyards and streets. There’s so much building going on in Arizona, it’s reassuring to know the 30,580 acres of Sonoran Desert across the street will not be developed.

Here is one of the quail families that visit our yard. The babies look like teenagers.

Another deer in a neighbor’s yard.

Here’s a video of a mule deer walking across a neighbor’s driveway.

What is your favorite thing about your neighborhood?

Waiting to hatch

Here’s a quail selfie from my Bird Buddy AI bird feeder.

Twice this week I spotted baby quail. Once was on our morning walk and a mom and dad were followed by the teeniest quail babies I’ve ever seen. They must have hatched that day.

Yesterday afternoon, a family of quail marched into our backyard from the wash. They were a little older and didn’t stay long enough for me to get a video or picture.

I immediately ran to the front of our house to see if our quail eggs had hatched.

quail eggs in a nest

Our nest of eggs in a planter of Elephant Feed.

No, the eggs are still there and it’s been a month since I’ve seen a momma or papa quail in the nest.

Unfortunately, the quail chose a planter next to our garage. At first, I’d see quail fly away when I’d pull into the garage or back the car out. Raising the garage door was enough noise to make the parents take flight.

I’m afraid the quail were scared away and they abandoned their nest. Or something could have happened to them. It’s a wild world out there. I’ve read what to do with eggs to get them to hatch. The most sensible advice is to wait and see. I also realize that I’m not opening the garage door very often. Maybe the quail parents are there, but not when I’m there.

Does anyone have advice while I wait for our eggs to hatch? Do you think the nest has been abandoned?

Quirky Quail Facts

quail photo
Male Quail photo from my Bird Buddy.

I’m working on my community newsletter and my co-editor Sherry and neighbor Shirley put together fun facts about quail. I learned a lot of quirky things about quail I never knew before.

Here are the facts:

A group of quail is called a “covey.”

Males and females pair for life.

The male has a top knot plume that is actually six feathers together, and is used to intimidate other males.

Their food of preference is wild bird seed, followed by uncooked rice or sunflower seeds.

Nests are mostly in pots or window boxes, and are made by hollowing out the nest in dirt.

There can be a total of 7 to 28 eggs per nest, with the female laying 1 to 2 per day.  It is common for two females to share a nest, which is called “egg dumping,” and the female only sits on the nest after all the eggs are laid.

Eggs are speckled brown and arranged in a neat oval called a “clutch.”

Incubation is 25 days at a temperature of 100 degrees, and eggs are turned often.

Before hatching the babies peep inside the eggs.

They are born with a full coat of feathers, eyes wide open, and are able to feed themselves.

They all hatch on the same day and leave the nest immediately, usually in late June.                              

From MY HOA SPRING 2023 NEWSLETTER — Written by sherry and shirley

nest of quail eggs
This is the nest of quail eggs I discovered in a pot of Elephant Feed succulents. We’re up to at least 20 eggs now!

I told one of my friends I discovered this nest of quail eggs and she asked when I was going to “pick them.” I told her we’re letting them hatch and that I can’t wait to see the babies line up behind their mom and dad and follow them around our yard. They are so cute!

She said, “But quail eggs are so delicious.”

“I can buy them at the farmer’s market.” And I did!

A dozen quail eggs from the farmer's market.

These are the quail eggs I bought at our local farmer’s market. The vendor assured me these didn’t come from someone’s yard, but he buys them from a quail egg ranch. Somehow that makes it better. I can’t imagine stealing the eggs from the quail living in my yard!

hard. boiled quail eggs.

I asked the vendor at the farmer’s market what they tasted like and how to prepare them. He said most people hard boil them and put them in salads. He also said they taste exactly like chicken eggs.

I looked up how long to hard boil quail eggs and of course it’s much less time than chicken eggs. 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 minutes. My friend was right — they are delicious!

Have you ever tried quail eggs? If so, what did you think about them?

Would you harvest quail eggs from your own yard? Why or why not?

The secrets in our yard

Half eaten cactus

We discovered where the bites of cactus that end up at our front door came from.

I wrote about a mystery in our yard with bits of plants and cactus ending up on our front door mat HERE.

I’ve had a camera on lookout to spot the creatures. I’ve caught a bunny, a chipmunk and a lizard darting by. It was mentioned by another blogger that it could be our courtyard forms a wind tunnel and it’s the wind blowing the bits and pieces to the door.

Ever since I moved the camera from the backyard to the front door, the little presents stopped. I think the problem is the camera’s light. The camera goes dark at night and when movement happens it clicks on video mode with a bright light. We caught one bunny and after that nothing. I think the light has scared away any critters.

The only videos I get of animals are in the bright daylight.

However, I did spot a half eaten cacti in another part of the courtyard in a pot next to a big rock. I believe bunnies climb the rock and help themselves to a cactus buffet.

Another exciting secret I found in our yard is hidden in this Elephant Feed succulent. Also in a pot:

Elephant Feed in a pot

Elephant Feed succulent in a pot by our garage.

quail eggs hidden in a planter

Isn’t this exciting? I believe it’s quail eggs. I noticed this because as I backed the car out of the garage close to the pot of Elephant Feed, two quails flew away. I hope they come back!

What treasures have you discovered in your back yard or home?

Life in the desert

Cardinal on cactus.

Cardinal visits daily to our back yard this week.

I was trying to cut down our cable TV Wifi bill. I went to the closest store a few weeks ago and asked them for suggestions. Their answer was odd, but they promised to cut one-third of the bill if I purchased an outdoor camera.

What? By purchasing a camera that could be used at the front door like Ring, we would save the price of the camera each month. Although it made little sense to me, I agreed.

Our monthly bill did go down by the cost of the camera. Next month, I’ll be ahead.

Instead of using the camera at the front door, I set it up on the back patio. I’ve been hoping to catch some wildlife. I wasn’t disappointed.

Check out the videos below of wildlife:

The bobcat appears at about 15 seconds in. After he leaves the scene the rest of the video is dark. No need to watch any more of it. I’m afraid I don’t know how to cut out the clip of the bobcat.

Quail in the backyard.

it’s not the best quality of camera, but if I get more shots at night of the bobcat, I’ll be thrilled.

My dad sent me a video from Phoenix of a bobcat inside someone’s home cuddled in on the dog bed with toys. The bobcat entered through a doggy door. Unfortunately, the dog was badly hurt, but is surviving after surgery. The video is included in the CBS story below. Click on the link HERE.

Arizona resident comes home to bobcat in dog’s bed

A homeowner in San Manuel, Arizona, came home after work to find a furry creature in her dog’s bed – but it wasn’t a pet. It was a bobcat, believed to have come through the home’s unlocked doggie door.

The homeowner snapped a photo of the bobcat lounging in the bed and the Arizona Game and Fish Department shared the image on Twitter, warning residents not to handle wildlife like this themselves.

Officers with the department did arrive at the scene, but the bobcat had already escaped when they arrived.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/arizona-resident-comes-home-to-bobcat-in-dogs-bed/ar-AA18n2o5

What wildlife do you have around you? What are your thoughts of the cable company offering a lower price for buying a camera?