Rain last fall, winter and spring changed the face of the desert. The drought was broken. Old plants grew bigger; new plants emerged; and wildflowers and grasses carpeted what had otherwise been nearly bare sand for years. The increase in vegetative matter meant more food for foraging animals. Insect, lizard, rodent and rabbit populations have exploded in size and variety. And that increase has in the last three months been followed in our neighborhood by the new, persistent presence of higher order predators (as well as increase in the coyotes that we always see, or more accurately, hear) that we had not previously seen.
A pair of Western Screech owls have taken up residency in our neighbor Miguel’s tree canopy, and often show themselves in daylight. Here’s two pictures from Miguel:
We’re also seeing a Cooper’s Hawk on patrol in the area in mornings and afternoons. Miguel was able to get this photo: