Coyote Lonesome

In broad daylight, this elder of the Coyote tribe showed him/herself to us as Atina and I were wandering in the desert near Tucson, AZ.  

I had just dragged Atina away from 

1) a pair of enormous jackrabbits–they were bigger than a Shi-tzu, with long long legs

2) piles and piles of horse shit in varying stages of decomposition, tossed over the horse corral fence.

As we were walking in the opposite direction from these distractions, I felt Atina go rigid on her end of the leash.  Miffed, I thought it was more jackrabbit or horse shit and turned around to yell at her, when I saw that she was standing stock-still staring at something.  I followed her gaze….it was a big red coyote, standing stock-still staring at us!

It was huge, like the jackrabbits were huge…maybe there’s a connection there?  I’ve been running across coyote shit that’s much larger caliber than usual, and mostly made up of rabbit hair.  

Anyway, this coyote was easily as big as my 75 lb dog.  Maybe it was a wolf!  I’ll have to ask a ranger next time I spot one.

The putative coyote stood there for long minutes checking us out.  It was so close I could see individual hairs.  I wished we could go and talk to it…but two different kinds of canines, one of them wild…so I talked to it from a distance.  It looked at me with mild curiosity and eventually turned and trotted off in the direction of the rabbit warren that Atina had discovered in a thicket of mesquite trees.

Night of The Flamingos

The full moon hangs over my patio, illuminating the palo verde trees, the bamboo, and….the flamingos.

DPchallenge video: The Tarantula and the Tarantula Hawk Wasp

This is a really horrifying video, so if you’re arachnophobic or queasy in general, you might want to skip it.  I was strolling down my driveway in the Blue Ridge Mountains when I witnessed this drama.  A dramatically beautiful wasp with red and blue iridescent wings had been hanging around my shrubbery for a few days.  I am very glad now that I did not try to catch it, because its sting is said to be so painful that all you can do is lie there and scream, sort of like a taser.  So I’m walking down my driveway and I see this wasp doing sort of a victory dance, and next to it is….a TARANTULA????  In Western North Carolina?  Camouflaged like the forest floor???  About two inches long?? I pinched myself.  Ok.  I have seen this drama played out in New Mexico, where the tarantula was, you know, tarantula size, and the wasp was as big as the tarantula.  They fought together, the wasp dive-bombing the tarantula until it goaded the spider into standing up, exposing its abdomen, and the wasp swooped in and stung it in the abdomen.  In a matter of moments, the spider was paralyzed, and the wasp triumphantly hauled it off under a rock, where it–she, really, would lay her eggs in the paralyzed but still alive spider’s abdomen.  The eggs hatch into larvae, which live on the still-living spider’s juices until the spider dies and the newly-molted wasps emerge from its body.  Awful, huh?

I made the video on a Galaxy Tab which I happened to have in my hand when I saw it.  The trailer was made in iMovie.