updated


rain0127Went cumulative this time ’round since the backyard dealt with a relatively rapid series of storms over the last few days, ending sometime this morning when I looked out at a patch of sky and found it 57% gray-free. Given that the month of January has brought us almost three weeks of dryness, I’d say these systems more than made up for it, dropping 3.54″ into our backyard precipitometer.

Given that this season to-date still seemed drier than last, I was surprised to find more had fallen now than at this same time in 2012 — by almost a full inch, thanks to a 37-day-long dry spell between December 2011 and January 2012.

January 24-27: 3.54″
Season Total: 16.57″

UPDATE (01.28): Another weak system swept through yesterday evening, but did not produce measurable results.

Our five pumpkins we grew in the backyard patch before and after they went under the carving knife (click it for the bigger picture):

 

They won’t win any design awards, but my timeframe might qualify for an honorable mention: I hacked up all five in 30 minutes flat. And yes there’s a timelapse of it… soon to come.

Happy Halloween!

UPDATED (11.01): Yep, here’s all the timelapsed frenzy of pumpkin cutting activity:

And lastly, here’s the obligatory night shot of the quintet as they were meant to be seen:

Crossing paths with a coyote in an urban environment is a brief affair — especially if you go on the offensive rather than the defensive. The last thing a coyote’s ever wanted around me is to get into some sort of stand-off as to who’s the dominant opponent. Mainly because I don’t give it the chance by charging and chasing and clapping and yelling at it to reinforce my immediate vicinity as a hazard to its well being.

This doesn’t mean I don’t have respect for the coyote — both as a creature with a rightful place in the city; and as the top four-legged predator in the urban food chain. It means I do my part to minimize its habituation to humans.

Then there was this morning’s coyote, who was not only a new one on the block (our regular coyotes are a pair and larger), but a whole different animal all together. Returning from our dawn walk with Ranger, Susan and I heard some serious rustling in the neighbor’s ivy next to our garage and weren’t too surprised to find what looked to be a relatively young specimen. The surprise to me was that though it was well aware of our proximity, it was in absolutely no hurry to get away from us in large part because it soon became clear that it had a food item that it wasn’t interested in abandoning. Since the smell of whatever it was eating indicated some advanced level of decomposition, we decided to leave it alone in hopes it would pick it up and leave with it. The “it” in this case was initially thought to be the remains of a squirrel but later I saw that it was the rear leg and hip of a cat… judging by its condition it was not a recent kill.

Ultimately it did exactly what we’d hoped and ran off with the item, and I got the following video of the remarkable encounter that I’ve turned into three separate clips (iPhone-based apologies for capturing the first two vertically instead of turning the phone sideways like I did in the middle segment). It didn’t look entirely unhealthy, but there was something not quite right about the coyote. It demonstrated perhaps some sort of vestibular impairment by moving its head exaggeratedly and keeping it tilted to a degree, plus its imbalanced gait was additionally hindered by a slight limp that I saw when it finally fled the scene. PS, I should warn you ahead of time that the last frames of the third clip feature a maggot-covered cat limb:

UPDATE (3:03 p.m.): After the jump are three images visiting last week that I just found on our low-resolution front steps cam. The first two shots are from the previously seen pair who paid an early morning July 4 visit. The third still is of a solo coyote (perhaps the same one as encountered this morning) from the late afternoon of July 6 — with a kill (species undetermined… cat maybe?) in its mouth. Dude!

(more…)

‘Tis indeed the season. The previous weekend’s young opossum rescue didn’t surprise me when it ended with the poor creature’s demise, and when I first discovered another under Jiggy’s paw yesterday in the backyard — this one also still breathing but with a far bloodier wound on its left side nearer the neck — I held out even less hope, as evidenced with following tweet:

I hate that the only possums I get to hold are injured ones with little chance of survival.

Still, I retrieved it, half expecting it to expire in my hand. But instead after being installed in a safe box it went from being not quite completely dead (or at least playing at it very well, as ‘possums are programmed to do) to being very much almost completely alive as seen in the following videos I captured with my iPhone. Check out the adorable open-mouthed threat gestures:

In between those previous clips I also posted this one at Yfrog, but I can’t get an embed to work

It ended up nestling deep into the towel for the night and this morning it’s in that same position — blessedly still breathing. I’m hoping Animal Advocates near the Fairfax District might have room to take possession of it today, but if not it’s back to the California Wildlife Center we go.

UPDATE (4.25 3:41 p.m.): It was looking almost like a lost cause — not the opossum who continued its remarkable rebound — but finding a place to take it. Animal Advocates was at capacity, and I was further distressed when a call to California Wildlife Center ended also with a decline to help (due to having more animals than it could care for).  It seemed like my only option was to contact the city’s animal services department, but that was a death sentence. Finally at the suggestion of Animal Advocates I called Coast & Canyon Wildlife in Malibu and they welcomed the little opossum (female) with open arms. Bless C&C Wildlife!

I knew something was up with the way Pumpkin, Patchy and Ranger were behaving inside while Susan and I were having breakfast, but I looked out the north windows on the wrong side of the house initially, finding little out of the ordinary. Then, after Jiggy came back in and Ranger paid him waaaaay too much attention, I figured he’d been messing with that rival cat a couple doors down.

After eating, fooled into thinking all was good, I went down the south side of the house and that’s when I found the injured infant opossum laying on the walkway. There wasn’t a lot of blood, but there was a distinct wound on its left side near its front leg. It was breathing regularly, but very lethargic and when I put it in a shoebox it barely even reacted to being picked up. Susan thought a hawk might’ve been involved, but my guess is it was Jig who’d found a new plaything. Dangit.

I didn’t bother getting additional pictures beyond this unflattering one because of its rather dire condition, and instead got going as quickly as I could to the California Wildlife Center about 40 miles away off of Los Virgenes Road in the Santa Monica Mountains between Malibu and Calabasas. Putting 80 miles on my odometer and taking a couple hours off my day for a baby marsupial who may not survive… well, that’s just how I roll.

I’m relieved to report that the little critter made the trip fine and was quickly installed in an incubator to warm it up before an examination is made to determine the extent of its injuries or lack thereof. Hopefully the latter. I’ll probably call and check in a day or so with fingers crossed.

 UPDATE (4.15): I called the CWC today with some trepidation to check on the opossum and I’m sorry to report that it died. They incubated it to bring its body temperature up, gave it IV fluids and administered some Pedialyte, but apparently the internal injuries were just too severe and it passed yesterday.

 

Me: You know it was inevitable, right? That I’d duct tape a beat up DV cam to the eyepiece of the spotting scope pointed at the mama-to-be hummingbird and hook it up to a laptop to send images of the nest (with or without the little lady) onto the internut every few seconds.

You: Uh, yup.

Not sure how long I’ll do this until I get bored and I probably need to bring the computer in at night, but it’s broadcasting for now. Refresh the page for any subsequent images.

UPDATE (02.04): Yeah, well. The webcam’s come down. I might put it up again, but if not and since the last image captured at this point is at 5:32 p.m. yesterday (when it became to dark to see anything), I’ve hoisted up the following brief video clip just so that there’s something to see besides a murky black frame:

I might also add, the males are ramping up their courtship efforts aimed at impressing her, and it really is quite a sight to behold (and near impossible to capture on camera — trust me, I’ve tried). The primary display consists of a series of slow ascents and decents in the shape of a “U,” (think of a skaterboarder or snowboarder going back and forth in a half-pipe). At the bottom the male pauses hovering and sings a loud squeaky song at the female. After several of these passes the male climbs high into the air almost to the point of disappearing and then divebombs back down super fast letting out a single sharp chirp before it levels off and flies away.

With tomorrow being the deadline to appear regarding the citation I received Dec. 09 during the annual Midnight Ridazz All-City Toy Ride (my multiple attempts to process it online denied due to the citation being “not found”), I pedaled down to the Metro Traffic Courthouse on South Hill Street, only to find out via the clerk there that the ticket doesn’t yet exist in the system most likely due to the officer not yet entering it.

Turns out — according to the clerk (and in contradiction to my January 27 appearance date as indicated on the citation) — the officer has up to a year to register the ticket… an entire freakin’ year. So basically, the trip was not only a wasted one, but on top of that since a mailed courtesy notice isn’t guaranteed, the responsibility is entirely on me to keep checking the LA Superior Court website to see when it ends up in the system, and only at that point can I pay bail and request a trial by declaration. If it isn’t in there by December 10, 2012, it’s void.

In the meantime since tomorrow will come and go without any record of me taking any action I asked for and received a “tracer” from the clerk that at least shows I presented myself before the deadline. Trouble is it expires in 90 days, so if the end of April arrives and there’s still no citation, I’ll have to go back and get another tracer. And then maybe another one after that in July. And another one in October.

The one glimmer of hope in all this additional frustration is that if the ticket hasn’t been entered by now there might stand a chance that it might not be entered at all. Fingers crossed, from now until December 10.

UPDATE (01.28): Guess I can uncross my fingers. A second “Notice of Correction/Proof of Service” form dated January 26 arrived in the mail today advising me that my court appearance date has been changed to March 15.

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