“Fasten your seat belts, its going to be a bumpy night* and a wild new year,” I thought as we returned to Agua Caliente at the beginning of the Mardi Gras season, to enjoy clear, cool nights under the desert stars and to discover new stars! Howdy Doody was already celebrating* while sitting on the picnic table next to publication stars, Mardi Gras colors of purple (justice), gold (power), and green (faith), and behind the mask, a Buddha’s hand (fingered citron) symbolizing happiness, longevity and good fortune.
Good fortune came to our early morning wildlife stars, first the white-winged doves, followed by Purple finches, as they feasted from wild bird seed held by our vintage, rustic feeder from home.
Our local roadrunner passed by, so we threw out some breadcrumbs, but the roadrunner disappeared, probably because a hungry, young coyote was lurking nearby and soon made its bold appearance. (Its mother made her appearance last month, resulting in the permanent disappearance of a chihuahua!)
Driven by hunger, this coyote came into our campsite, while keeping an eye on us and our dogs! (Larry held corgi Tasha while I crouched and photographed by the rear of our truck.)
At the beginning of my hike, I saw a new sign warning of recent mountain lion activity. The rangers told me that around Christmas, a bighorn sheep carcass was found with marks and covered with sand consistent with a mountain lion attack near the seep area of Moonlight Canyon Trail. Cameras were set up around the carcass for four nights, which turned this puma into a poster star!
More wildlife drama occurred the following day at camp when Larry spotted a white-winged dove dangling by its foot attached to the top of a 20-25-foot Agave deserti dead flower stalk by entangling string.
Larry notified Camp Host Dan and Ranger Melinda. Dan quickly arrived in his utility cart, assessed the situation, and returned with appropriate tools, such as a saw, large lopping shears, chainsaw chaps, and needle nose scissors and tweezers. Since the stalk had already bloomed and died, it was permissible to cut it down in order to rescue this bird. Dan donned the chaps to protect from nearby thorns and sawed three quarters into the trunk, while I supported it with the reacher. He then supported the trunk as I made the final cut with the lopping shears. We rested the stalk on the utility cart and Dan folded back the dove’s wings and calmed it while I cut the many threads that were wrapped around the foot, toes and branch. Photos were then taken and the dove was released and flew off to our delight. Camp Host Dan saved this bird’s life and is a star in my eyes!
Larry and I celebrated the season each evening by turning on a string of LED light bulbs that Larry had covered with Mixed Pepper Light Covers, which was wrapped around a wreath of homegrown red trumpet vine encircling enameled laser-cut steel in the shape of the sun – our star given to us by friends!
A wild beginning of the new year, yes, but I think everything will be OK because here comes the sun!*
*This is a link to a YouTube video.