August 27, 2007

First Contact

This morning I had to retrieve some items left over from a program I did in July. It's always pretty amazing to get a different perspective of a place you spend every single day looking at from the same location. It was like that, again, today.

To think that this structure is still over 90% intact, despite having been built nearly a millenium ago, is quite extraordinary. You can almost feel the presence of the ancient Sinagua while standing (or crouching, rather) in one of these dark, musty rooms.

But it wasn't entirely deserted today. As evidenced by the pile of suspicious-looking scat I discovered near the top. I was almost certain I knew who had made this pile o' poo, but not very hopefull about seeing one of these nocturnal predators. I'd smelled them before (a pair decided to perfume our garage back in April), but had never been lucky enough to see the elusive mammal.

Then, I caught movement in a tiny alcove about 20 feet from me. And with the flash of a bushy, striped tail I knew I had finally seen one.

My first Ringtail! It was pretty freakin' awesome! It kept poking its head out from inside the tiny cave it was living in, trying to figure out if it needed to be concerned about the fact that we were up there. This one was about the size of a small housecat, but very sleek...almost weasel-like in its body shape. I only saw the striped tail once, but I didn't care. Not with a face like that staring back at me. Sonja was pretty jealous about my ringtail sighting, but I tried to convince her that she could see all that she would want if she chooses to make them the subject of her master's thesis.

The sunset tonight wasn't so bad, either. You can even see the Phainopeplas' fly-catching near the top of the tree on the right. Yup, today was a good day.

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