The first picture of 2007 of both Paul and Kitty together, taken on January 21 with the Casa Grande living room in full winter light decoration. Since she does most of the picture taking, she doesn't set up the camera for a delayed shot of the both us together too often - just every 3 months for the photos that are on our Personal Introduction page.
Watching the animals from the dining room table while eating is an enjoyment Kitty never experienced before she and Paul began doing so in 2002 with their first trip together to her Casa Grande house after becoming a team in 2000. Now it's a regular part of their single daily meal - with the binoculars close at hand for detailed observations.
We had trimmed branches off the mesquite tree that is just off to the left out of range on these photos. Purposely we left one branch so that we could observe what use the small animals in the yard would make of the many small green leaves. The rest of the branches were added to the large pile that serves as habitat for at least quail and rabbits. (We started this pile in Spring 2003, with original intentions of it being just temporary until we rented a mulcher, but it quickly became home for many of our yard critters. See photos of then new pile - 1/4 down page.)
Kitty took these photos less than 2 hours after the tree trimming took place. A group of quail and a rabbit were having a feast.
By the next afternoon at the same time the branches were just about bare, with the lone rabbit getting what s/he could of the last few small leaves.
Two days after the cutting and the bare branches are being ignored by quail (except one) and the rabbit, who is stretching tall for some choice creosote flowers.
Almost all of the animals of a particular species are practically indistinguishable from one another except for size and gender in some. However, we noticed in late 2006 an injured quail, and quickly nicknamed it "Peg Leg", who mostly hopped, using the left leg only slightly. S/he was always somewhat alone - trailing the others but not outright rejected that we could see. After a few weeks we realized by the coloring that this was a female quail and so sometimes Kitty referred to her playfully as "Peggy Sue".
In early May Kitty was quick with the camera from the dinning room when she spotted "Peg" who we had observed for a couple weeks previously was somewhat in the company of a male. Somewhat, since we never observed him coming real close to her as we would see with other quail pairs. She always seemed to have to try keep up with him, as she was doing in these 2 photos (taken in quick succession). Unfortunately since returning to AZ at the end of October 2007 we have not seen Peg. But we're always on the lookout, and that she's still alive.
We first saw this injured rabbit - left hind leg - in early 2007 and named him/her (hir) "Gimpy". S/he was not as regular a visitor to our backyard as Peg, and here too we have not spied hir since our return. Hope s/he was not the victim of the dog attack that appears to have taken place behind our out-building during our absence - a length of spare ~6 inch diameter hard plastic pipe stored there had been given a real workout judging by all the dog tracks and broken pieces of pipe.
Here's a series of photos taken over about an hour in late May of an area with several ground squirrel holes, some apparently interconnected judging by many of the movements of the young juvenile ground squirrels that took place on what may have been their very first ventures from inside their protective warrens.
During our 2 week trip back to Casa Grande in early July, Kitty photo captured some interesting critter activities in our backyard.
This ground squirrel spent at least 7 minutes soaking in the cooler temperature of the patio stones (compared to the dirt out in the sun) in the filtered shade of the mesquite tree outside our bedroom. Kitty decided not to pull back the vertical blinds to get an unobstructed photo since any noticed movement would have sent this little fellow (?gal?) scampering.
It is very common to see quail, doves and rabbits cool themselves in the dirt under our various trees and bushes. Soon after Kitty observed the ground squirrel above, she spied this quail activity at the base of the same shade providing mesquite.
This gambel's quail - female - Kitty quickly determined by her duller coloring and non-black chest feathers - is busily digging a trough. She nestled into it for only a minute or 2 in it and then moved to what she apparently decided was a better spot. She can be seen right at the base of the mesquite, behind a moderate sized aloe vera plant. If you can't see her, check the next close-up.
Along came a male, most likely her mate - about 11 minutes after she started the trough digging.The female was in no hurry to conclude her dirt bath or simple cool rest. It was 15 minutes after the male appeared that she finally quickly arose, shook herself and then followed him northward.
A few other different items that caught Kitty's attention during those 2 weeks when she had her camera closeby.