Saturday, May 19, 2012

Nature Runs Its Course, and We Run With It

Well, the quail are gone! We came home yesterday afternoon to an empty nest.
One egg hadn't hatched.
Earlier in the day we had seen both parents taking their turns guarding the family. Here's Mama.

Here's Daddy.

We came home from Social Hour with our good friends Chuck and Dee Dupuis just before 6:00pm and saw that there was no activity. The whole family had disappeared. They didn't leave a note, they didn't wait to say goodbye, they just left. This morning our neighbor said he had seen the mother leading her pack across the road and into the desert.

We can hope they'll come back to visit, like the other little family is doing.

This afternoon, I was working on a woodworking project (two spice racks Suzy had asked for two years ago). When I finished what I was doing in the park's workshop / maintenance building, I climbed back into the golf cart and backed out. Crawling away from under the cart was .... a Gila Monster! The first Gila Monster I ever saw. Did I have my camera? Of course not, I don't take my camera into a workshop.

I noticed our Maintenance Assistant nearby on the ground working on a pickup truck and called out to him, "Gila Monster over here." He immediately arose and came around to where I was watching the creature ambling away. He asked, "Educate me." (Dennis is from back east and doesn't know much about Gila Monsters. I don't either.) I told him that "Gila Monster" is French for "Don't Touch Me!"

These guys are not afraid of us. They have sharp claws, strong legs, and a venomous bite. People get really sick (but seldom die) from their bite.

I found a lot of information about Gila Monsters on Wikipedia. If you are interested, click HERE.

We watched the reptile until he went into hiding, then I sped home and came back with my camera. Dennis, another fellow and I found him again, just ambling along in the gravel behind the maintenance building, slowly making his way north. He's about 16 inches long -- they will grow to about 24 inches.
As he reached the asphalt roadway, a male quail ran to intercept him, loudly complaining. The Gila Monster promptly turned around and ambled the other direction.
The quail stayed with him for several minutes, constantly guiding him away from the road. Obviously this was a daddy quail protecting his little family! And the Gila Monster knew he'd better stay away.

The quail is doing a great impression of a Drill Sergeant!
I will never again go anywhere without at least my little pocket camera. For more pictures, see our web album.

Oh, this little fella was taking it all in from the sidewalk. He's only about 4 inches long.

It's been a lively nature week in ... Our Life on Wheels.

54 comments:

  1. Great nature stories, too bad the little family didn't stay around longer.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I can't believe they just up and left...HOW RUDE!

    WOW...Gila Monster. We learned about them in Arizona. I love the photo of the drill sergeant. You got super photos! You need a new iPhone with the camera. It take super photos. Of course, we don't have one but both our girls do.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think I might have had to change my underwear if a Gila monster was under my seat!! (or cart)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Even hough you have been out there for quite some time, I bet it was exciting to see something you had never seen before!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I was so hoping to see pictures of the quail family growing up. That's too bad. But a gila monster. That is something else. I think I'd just as soon enjoy your pictures than to see one.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I am a native Arizonan with a brother who spent his life with the Fish and Game. I have never seen a Gila Monster in the wild..oh, well, except for once when there was on on the concrete median in Tempe. But not in the wild. Nice goin'!!

    Emjay

    ReplyDelete
  7. The quail are cuter, but the gila monster is probably quieter. What's next, a rattlesnake?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great story and photos! And I LOVE your Spearfish header photo. One of our favorite places!

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a great story - or stories! Isn't it wonderful that these wild things go about their lives in spite of our interference into their realm? Love the pics! Thanks for the smiles.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great pictures!! And what a brave quail!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. There's a reason for the word "monster" inserted into his name..YIKES!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Fantastic captures, Jerry. I love seeing the quail family but I'm not a fan of monsters.
    cheers

    ReplyDelete
  13. Great photos Jerry ~ Love the quail pics!!! Awesome
    Have fun & Travel safe
    Donna

    ReplyDelete
  14. Great pictures. I hope the quail family will be okay.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Wow...I'm certain The Gila Monster is a very rare find! I'm going to add this link to my JourneyLinks wildlife page.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Love that cute face watching from behind the flower pot. Great shots.
    be well and happy.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thanks for stopping by.. I hope all is well with you both.
    Have a delightful weekend.
    Cheers :)

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