Tag Archives: scat

Scat, Part 2: Bird Tails

It has been a challenge getting started writing my second scat post.  That isn’t because scat doesn’t/ hasn’t continued to happen—some fell on those I love and on myself and there’s the  the same old stuff of bad economy, mayhem with guns, and the environmental depredations we see wherever we travel.

No, I haven’t been able to write because today is so beautiful here at our campground at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood, Arizona that I couldn’t pull myself away from the natural world and into the electronic device.  Here’s a photo of where I am sitting at 5:42 PM (Arizona time).

Quail Campground, Dead Horse Ranch State Park

Quail Campground, Dead Horse Ranch State Park

My chair is next to a cat claw acacia and faces several creosote bushes.  London Rocket (sisymbirum irio) swarms behind me.

London rocket

London rocket

Below me is a dry wash that is probably not as dry as it looks.

This afternoon a covey of Gambel’s quail marched around in and around the creosote. A spotted towhee hopped around from bush to  the ground and back up—so close that I am confident he (male plumage) is in fact who I think he is. A hummingbird zipped by and I think the tiny grays are flycatchers.  Others having been showing up including the ubiquitous ravens, doves of probably more than one kind, a hawk (that can’t identify), a cardinal, a great blue heron, and a black and white crowned sparrow who hopped around near me throughout the afternoon like he was daring me to figure out what variety he was among the dozens of sparrows in my bird book. No luck so far. Most exciting, but not verified as of yet, was a gila woodpecker in a cottonwood down in the wash.

I still want to tell you the second scat story, maybe tomorrow.

Observation: Maybe I can’t write about bad stuff—funny or real—in part because Tom and I had such good food at Juanita’s Taqueria here in Cottonwood and it sort of mellowed me out.

It’s Tomorrow: On February 18 Tom and I traveled to Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. I would show you photos of this fabulous place, but I didn’t recharge my camera battery in a timely fashion. Anyhow, we pulled into the Upper Scorpion Campground and settled in for a snack of red grapes, water, and some other delicious tidbits I can’t recall.  The picnic table was next to a huge ponderosa pine.

ponderosas

ponderosas

As soon as we sat down, and especially after a red grape or two liberated themselves, two ravens (corvus corax) landed on the tree directly above where we sat.  Our campsite was situated within the 558,065 acres of the Gila Wilderness which, thanks in part to Aldo Leopold,  is the first designated wilderness in the world. So, maybe the ravens felt that Tom and I were elbowing in on their space.  They complained and complained and we did not move. Finally–from about fifteen feet above–one raven launched about a half  a cup of droppings onto Tom’s  blue plaid bermuda shorts. As we figured the ravens had planned it, we immediately jumped up, ran to the camper and tried to clean the gooey crap off the shorts.  When I turned back toward the picnic table, I saw one of the ravens sailing off with a red grape in his beak. 

Alternative Analysis: Tom and I think the ravens wanted the grapes, but we have also considered that avian bombardier might have merely been expressing his opinion about Tom’s overly bright, non-western attire.  You can Google images for “men’s blue plaid bermuda shorts ” and see for yourself.

two ravens

two ravens

Scat Happens

Sedona, Arizona
I’ve cheered up and warmed up since my last post.  However, as you probably figured from the title of this post, life continues to—um—provide fine opportunities for growth, such as:

      • the (mostly) nonexistent ice and snow that closed almost everything in New Orleans, but not K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen or Café Du Monde,
      • the bad gas from Murphy USA in Del Rio, Texas, which sickened our F-150, but we received the reimbursement for the repairs right away,
      • the day after Tom and I completed a hike in the Chisos Basin (The Window), I tripped on  nothing on a little hike and sprained my wrist*, but then when I was icing my hand on the lodge veranda, I saw a Colima warbler

        Early morning, Chisos Basin

        Early morning, Chisos Basin

      • my map-reading skills are not tip-top, but we finally got to Mesa campground in the Gila National Forest before total dark.
        Mesa campground, Gila National Forest

        Mesa campground, Gila National Forest

        The lake was way down from (I assume) the drought and the campground exuded a down-at-the-heel gloom, but I am pretty sure that on my early morning trek to the bathroom, I smelled mountain lion.  I think the scat was fresh, too. (I didn’t photograph the evidence, but here’s some from another hike):

Scat, Saguaro National Park

Scat, Saguaro National Park

Scat happens, but sometimes it turns out to be something you’ve been waiting for.

Or, as W. B. Yeats said in a slightly more high-tone way:

I am content to live it all again
And yet again, if it be life to pitch
Into the frog-spawn of a blind man’s ditch,
A blind man battering blind men;…
I am content to follow to its source
Every event in action or in thought;
Measure the lot; forgive myself the lot!
When such as I cast out remorse
So great a sweetness flows into the breast
We must laugh and we must sing,
We are blest by everything,
Everything we look upon is blest.

From “A Dialogue of Self and Soul” by William Butler Yeats in The Winding Stair and Other Poems

*I found out yesterday that I sustained a comminuted distal radius fracture.  So much for the power of positive thinking, and, yes, I am typing this with my left hand.
Note: I have more in my mind than I can get on the computer today. Please expect Scat Part II shortly.