|This female Bobcat joined me in m my hike with her offspring behind.|
|A surprise Cassin's Vireo|
|A Red-tailed Hawk takes flight at sunset|
It's the birds I know best, but I had an amazing experience that made me geek out on the trails.
Cats! As I crossed a path, I discovered a Bobcat doing what cats do best....cleaning herself. What I didn't know was that there were two of them! Her offspring came out from behind a bush near me!
Like the deer with Celeste several weeks ago, or the Greater Roadrunner, or the Javelina, here I was again joined on the trails by one of Mother Nature's coolest feline species, the Bobcat. I wasn't frightened. They were close and moved towards me. There wasn't any malintent. One of the bobcats was talking to me like my cats do when I'm home. It made me laugh. I understand "cat" well. One time many many years ago, back in the 90's, I stumbled upon a Mountain Lion in the alley while I was taking the trash out in the early morning. Again, I laughed and said in a nervous voice, "Hello kitty." I then proceeded to slowly walk back inside the house never leaving my eyes off that huge cat. Her body language wasn't threatening, but she was wild and it's better to be safe than sorry:)
I was like a giddy kid in a toy store. It was the best way to start my Saturday! Body language is everything in the animal world. And there is a thing about getting too close to a wild animal. The cats strolled along the path with me for about 20 minutes before they went off to take a nap. Amazing!
|Black-chinned Sparrow almost completes my sparrow set for the year in Pima County|
This life is not easy. It certainly seemed easier when I was younger, but as I age, the weight of the world seems to get heavier. On Friday night, the day before my birding, I set a trap to catch drug dealers on our property. Living in midtown is wonderful, but it also comes with a few negatives. No one messes with my sanctuary. I alerted my neighbors and called the police ahead of time knowing that it takes them forever to arrive at the scene. And on that same Friday night, those drug dealers were shoe'd off the property for good:) Nature walk was back on again for Saturday morning.
|Sunset with our local Snow Goose|
And then the worst news of all. I found out a former student had taken his life. I couldn't attend the service, but I found out he was buried in a cemetery where I bird. After work, I went to the freshly dug site and sat on the bench. There were birds. So many Vermilion Flycatchers around. I try to make sense of it all. That cemetery never had a personal connection for me. Now, I'll never look at it the same way. He better be ready for birds visiting his grave. There were several empty bird feeders hanging there in a tree. So now every time I go, I'll be bringing bird seed to place at his site. I've worked with thousands of students over the years. When something like this happens to one of them, it's like I somehow failed them. And I know deep down I can't save all of them. It's just hard remembering their happy faces in class knowing that their adventures ended way too early.
Working with the public takes its toll on a person. I wouldn't have it any other way except maybe be outside more:) In my late thirties, I discovered the world of birding. Almost 10 years later, my understanding of the natural world gets stronger. In times of stress or loss, I am thankful it's there away from all the chaos. And in that solitude I am reborn.
Until next time.....