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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Reptiles Are Restless

A Narrow Fellow in the Grass - Emily Dickinson

It was a good day for snakes. A baby king snake, banded in black and white, nosed its way through the grass. Its temperament seemed wilder than that of the gopher snake tribe we're more used to seeing around here. Later, during the course of the day in four different locales, I saw what might have been four different gopher snakes, each about two feet long. More likely I saw the same snake four different times at various spots on the property. A black bird, sighting the serpent in the open, drove it into cover in a bed of Saint John's wort. Gopher snakes are creatures of methodical habit, patrolling their rounds near the ranch buildings.

A few days later, my attention drawn by the flaring and hopping about of a California thrasher, I saw that it was alarmed by a coiled gopher snake.This snake was a new one, bigger, and missing the last couple of inches of tail. This specimen will be readily identifiable if it shows up again. Its name will henceforth be "Stumpy".

A lone quail egg sat unmolested and under mysterious circumstances on the ground among oak saplings.

A group of 4H girls paraded their livestock down the road on their way to the scales at the pear sheds. The girls will display their fine animals in August at the county fair.