Thursday, May 27, 2004

May 25. I saw two lizards mating in the “riparian paradise”—the former dog run where I’ve built my bird pond. They were big guys, especially the male. I believe they were chuckwallas, but I’ll have to learn more. The male was very colorful, with a yellow back and bright blue throat area. He seemed pretty spiky, too. The female was smaller, and rather drab. They went at it for a minute or two, then the female began struggling and finally broke away. She scurried across the ground and into the vegetation with the male in hot pursuit, but by the time he reached the vegetated area she had disappeared. He looked around for a while in seeming confusion and disappointment.

The same morning, I finally saw a black-chinned male hummer at one of the feeders.

May 26. Why does a lizard cross the road?

On our morning walk along the River Walk, we saw dozens—maybe hundreds—of lizards, all scurrying from one side of the path to the other. Some were the big lumbering guys, some ordinary-looking slim brown lizards, and a bunch were smallish guys with black and white striped tails that they hold up and curved, like a scorpion. There were also numerous ground squirrels on either side of the path, digging holes and seemingly enjoying the relative coolth (low nineties) of this late May in the Sonoran desert.

This end of the River Walk—five or so miles farther west than our old route, and I believe a bit north and higher in elevation—is much more heavily vegetated (because older, and the trees and bushes planted when it was young have had time to grow). There are many more types (and numbers) of lizards and birds, though I have yet to see a road runner.

May 27. This morning, shortly after we had our sick old cat, Ribby, euthanized, I saw a bobcat walking across the back yard. I was amazed how big it was—at least the size of a boxer dog. I called to my husband, who reported that he saw it disappear into the neighbor’s yard. He said he was surprised how small it was, so we’re assuming that we saw a mother and kitten. As this was the first bobcat I have ever seen in the wild, I’m preferring to think of it as Ribby’s spirit, appearing to let me know that he is finally wild and free.

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