Day and night

Antelope Ground Squirrel 06

Photo by Aaron Fellmeth, some rights reserved

I’ve been seeing neatly dissected prickly pear fruits out here the last few weeks, and yesterday morning I learned who might be responsible for some of them. I watched as a pair of white-tailed antelope ground squirrels, Ammospermophilus leucurus, examined the fruit on the cactus outside my front window to see which ones might be ripe. They were engaging, showing what seemed like affection, coming together every few minutes to rub noses and groom each other. A few minutes later, one of the heaviest, reddest tunas on the plant had had its insides surgically removed.

It’s clear that if I want seeds from that cactus, I’ll have to collect them soon.

I was bleary. I’d been up late. A poet-neighbor-friend and I had met for dinner the night before and drank pints of iced tea. This is what passes for debauchery in my life these days. She and I sat on the restaurant’s patio, catching up on the last few weeks, and as the sky darkened bats came out of the nearby palm oasis and began to drink from the hotel pool next to us, skimming mouths full of water as they flew just above the surface. And then the nighhawks came, swooping and arcing twenty feet above us, in pursuit of moths and small dragonflies. They used to visit my yard in Nipton every night, but that was nearly a decade ago. It took me a long while, and several false guesses made aloud, to identify them.


Photo by Steven Kersting, some rights reserved

3 thoughts on “Day and night

  1. onafixedincome

    Grew up with two pairs of antelope and one of golden mantel squirrels as pets….what a great reminder! They are intriguing little creatures, right up until you annoy one, then WOW! those teeth go right to the bone. ;)

  2. Steve Gyetko

    Nice evening. Due to the relatively mild winter there’s more rabbits and chipmunks around here lately. That suits the northern harrier well, as he’s got extra choices on his menu. Also, for some reason my tomatoes haven’t been doing at all well this year and I’m sure it’s pissing off the raccoon family that used to take a few, every year, for which I didn’t mind as there’s always plenty to share. On the other hand, Nora’s jalapenos, hablamos and other assorted peppers are doing great, as is the arrugla.