Tag Archives: Joshua Tree

I get comments

This was just submitted in response to my KCET piece calling for a ban on bobcat trapping in California. Offered for your enjoyment. And hey, why not comment yourself?

Chris Clarke is an idiot, Bob Cats are a varmint species like coyote that quickly over populate and become an extreme issue with land owners that have pets or raise food animals or livestock. They are a completely renewable resource and are not threatened or endangered at all. In fact some locations the populations are so numerous there is a bounty for their capture and removal. Let the fish and wildlife agency manage these as they are not some unscientific emotional these are cute critters ideology.

Audio: bobcats, beauty, and the desert

I recorded a few minutes of myself talking about bobcats for Teddy Quinn’s project Radio Free Joshua Tree. He edited the piece to include some really rather lovely flute music in the background, and you should definitely listen to it there: it’s 17 minutes into hour two of his Variety Show for the weekend of February 3. But if you can’t do that, or you dislike good music, or if there’s some other reason keeping you from clicking over to the RFJT site, you can listen to my few minutes here.

Transcript below the fold for my hard of listening friends.

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Rabbit fight


Got the last couple of things from the Palm Springs apartment Sunday morning: the bed platform, the step stool, a handful of cleaning supplies. Spackled the few holes we made hanging artwork and bolting bookcases, vacuumed up the dust from making a couple of the holes bigger so I could spackle them properly, Tetrissed everything into the car. Walking out for the last time I looked back and tried to summon up some gratitude for the place, the way I usually do when I move out of a house. It didn’t quite work. So I left.

There’s a high, thin cover of cloud blowing in from the southeast, from the Sea of Cortez and the Gulf. We’re going to get some rain in the next couple of days. Some parts of the desert will likely get a whole lot. I have my fingers crossed for flash floods cutting through a couple of solar projects under construction.

Our new neighbor moved away—was it something we said?—and as she fed the local cottontails and quail, I decided I’d better take up a bit of the slack until they got used to it. I picked up a bird seed bell at the supermarket. It’s not cracked corn and sunflower seeds, which would be better for the quail. But it’s something. The quail never got to it: the bell was discovered within seconds by the local scrub jay, and then fifteen minutes later the jay had been elbowed aside by the Boss rabbit.

It was an interesting glimpse into rabbit interactions. I’ve only ever had one rabbit at a time before, and though I did watch him boss around a dog and a cat, and a few humans, I never saw him with one of his own species. Subordinate bun was hungry and curious, and crept up toward the seed bell. When he’d get too close Boss Rabbit would charge, and each time Sub Bun would avoid the boss by leaping directly into the air. Three, four times in a minute and a half this happened. Then Boss wandered off and fell over in the shade of the peach tree, and Sub Bun carefully went over, tried a nibble of seed bell, then a mouthful, then eight mouthfulls, digging in with his bottom incisors to pry off great chunks.

He worked at this for five minutes or so, then Boss Rabbit came back. He took Sub Bun by surprise, but there wasn’t a fight at first. S.B. made a submissive display without moving away: He stretched his head out low to the ground, and Boss Rabbit came over and nuzzled him for a moment, then they both ate. For five more minutes. The Boss Rabbit changed his mind and chased Sub Bun away again.

At length the boss wandered off to find someone else to dominate, and a covey of about 15 very noisy quail—including one quite small youngster—wandered into the yard, eating everything but the seed I’d bought for them. Sub Bun took out a bit of his frustration by chasing the quail, barreling into groups of six or seven birds and busting them up. I don’t have the patience to watch the Olympics, but why should I when I have world class quail bowling going on right here?

Though tomorrow’s bout may well be rained out.

It’s official

We just moved the last of our stuff into the house in Joshua Tree.

We live here now.

This is something I first wanted a dozen years ago. It never occurred to me, after it didn’t happen a dozen years ago, that it could ever happen at all.

We had two dozen quail in our yard this evening as we unloaded the 14-foot U-Haul. A bat amiably checked us out as we unloaded the few things that fit into Annette’s Mini Cooper. There be rabbits here, and roadrunners, and this evening as we chatted with our next-door neighbor a Steller’s jay decided to holler at us. Yesterday I was scolded by a ladderback woodpecker for having the temerity to take out the recycling. That was a couple hours after Annette spooked a rosy boa from our driveway.

In the last month we have moved, and lost a Jeep, and I have started a new venture at KCET, and it has been crazy. But we have made it through most of July anyway.

I am sore and I am going to take myself and stand under some hot water for a bit. But y’all have deserved an update for some time. There will be more to come.