Friday, August 21, 2009

A non-apologia for 'The Lizard' and a covey of California Quail

Well! (ahem). Leave it to Gilbert to hijack my blog and post a semi-grody depiction of Hana's lizard squishing propensities.

We've had a population explosion this year of what my best guess is the Western Whiptail (Cnemidophorus tigris). A few of the regular denizens around here are virtual Yao Mings of the lizard persuasion, in the 6"-10" range. Their inescapable visibility just doesn't help their plight when faced with the incredibly fuzzy and enormous spectre of Hana, Supreme Killer of All Moving Objects Within Her Scarily Owl-Like Visual Range...

We've also had a rather alarming number of Tarantula Hawks this year buzzing over the property like pseudo hummingbirds with their devious, Quentin Tarantinoesque intentions. For those unfamiliar with this largest of wasp species, go to for the lurid details.

In fact, I have to watch Hana like a "hawk" whenever she's tied up outdoors to make sure she leaves these guys alone. These ain't nothin' like those Paris Hilton foo foo lizards! I read somewhere that the sting of a Tarantula Hawk is as excruciating as being electrocuted by a live hair dryer that's been catapulted into your jacuzzi. Of course, if you've done and survived both, then you really deserve some kind of medal (for "Spectacularly Unlucky Dude"?) or at least an honorable mention for the Darwin Award.

I refilled the birdfeeder and tossed some random nuggets of bird seed in the orchard above our pond after we got back from work today. Then, lo and behold, about 6:45pm, I noticed a large contingent of about 20 California Quail stealthily descending on the morsels. Now, usually, I will hear these guys before I see them, doing the "chi-CAH-go or clucking notes", as described in Kenn Kaufman's Focus Guide Birds of North America. But this time around, they were as quiet as church mice.

Anyways, it was a cool visage to end the day with, since we haven't seen many quail around here for the past two years.

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