Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Last Day of June

The highlight of the day yesterday was another visit from the resident bobcat, which ventured onto our property from the north a short time before sunset. It was accompanied by a frenzied, raucous bunch of crows, which had been frantically cawing for at least 10 minutes on the neighboring property. Then when the crows moved their noisiness closer to our property, Gary and I looked in that direction, and sure enough, there was the bobcat on the fence-line. I was able to get a couple distant photos as it moved across our slope. Even the Black-headed Grosbeaks were agitated as it passed below them, giving regular "check" warning calls.

A heavily-cropped shot of the bobcat, which kept a close watch on us, as we did the same back. It's tail was almost continuously "lashing" (as much as a stump can lash).

Earlier in the day, Gary and I took a little walk down into the meadow, and slightly beyond, and encountered some female turkeys with young. This seems to be a better year for turkey reproduction than the past couple summers, as there have been several families roaming around the area for the past several weeks. We also saw all four White-tailed Kite fledglings, so they have all made it so far.

Two females with young. Is one of the females an "aunty?" Or two broods merged together?

Turkeys in the dry grass.
The milkweed that I planted from saved seeds a few years ago is finally attracting quite a few native insects now, including this carpenter bee. Up to three Monarch Butterfly caterpillars have been seen at once on this plant, but yesterday we could not find any.

Looks like the Valley Carpenter Bee, a common local species.

At the end of the day, we were amazed to see CLOUDS forming to the south, a sight we have not seen in far too long a time. Maybe the very beginnings of monsoonal moisture? Let's hope for some nice, wet thunderstorms soon (without too much fire-inducing lightning)!

No chance of rain from these, but they did make for a nice sunset.


  1. Nice shot of the Bobcat. Saw one in the middle of the day about a month ago on Volcan Mountain. They are splendid little beasts!

  2. They are -- it's been such a treat to get some close-up views.

  3. Though I realize they are wild and very untamed, those Bobcats look so very snuggly.

    The Turkeys were never a feature when I was around up there exploring the mountains back in the 1960s & 70s as a kid. They were later introduced if I remember right, though I'd have to check. They really had started to take off in numbers back when in the middle 1990s I distributed Dudley's Bakery products to areas north in Riverside co. I'd come through early in the morning or late afternoon and see them up around Santa Ysabel Res & the Lake Henshaw junction turnoff of Hwy 79 & 76. Later on they had moved further north into the open country of the Henshaw Valley grasslands and I was surprized as I thought they would never be far away from Trees for roosting. Though of course there are pockets of woods here and there. I've also seen them in that San Felipe Valley from Ranchita to Scissors Crossing. Not sure now how much further north towards Anza they have gotten to by this time, but they appear to be spreading. Bad thing about Anza was all the survivalist types that hunted all year long, deaming it their right to live off the land. Some folks love living in a movie.

    I would always see them grazing in the tall grasses eating the seed heads on the tall stalks. Always had plenty of chicks every year. I would imagine around your area the 2003 Cedar Fire (should be called Sergio Martinez Fire) did a definite set back on their numbers for a time.

    Hope you do get a bit of a Monsoonal flow. The forecast this summer is for a good one. Already has started up around Palm Desert and Santa Rosa Mountain areas talking with friends. Especially up in the Mojave deserts has it been more intense. If you get a strong smell of creosote brush and Redshank early in the morning then know that there is most likely a pretty good chance of rain somewhere around you that afternoon. Hard to pinpoint those Thunderbumpers though. You know how hit and miss they are.

    Very nice photos again.



  4. Thanks Kevin.

    The Wild Turkeys that are around today are all descended from the some east Texas turkeys that were released in 1993 (originally with hunting in mind, primarily). Oddly, they seemed very abundant and were reproducing well (here in Cuyamaca Woods) one year after the Cedar Fire, possibly as the coyotes seemed to disappear for a couple years. When the coyotes returned, the turkeys appeared to take a dip in numbers (at least as far as chick-production went), but this year seem quite abundant again.

    That stretch between Santa Ysabel and Lake Henshaw seems like a "classic" place to see them, and the local birders often comment on seeing them there.

    We are finally getting some monsoonal-type clouds, and we're supposed to get the typical daily afternoon "chance of thunderstorms" kicking in next week (along with some intense heat). I hope so -- for many reasons! Lightning photography is an old hobby that I'd like to try to resurrect a bit with the new camera.