The Unexpected

So, when I last posted on the morning of the 23rd in honor of the autumnal equinox, I wrote: I find myself curious and eager to see what this new season has in store.

I didn’t have to wait very long to find out. About an hour later, I encountered this gorgeous immature rattlesnake just hanging out at the base of our porch steps.

Southern Pacific Rattlesnake, immature


My last rattler sighting had been back on the 12th of August (which feels like ages ago), so I felt rather satisfied by the sighting and pleased with the pics that I managed to get. It seemed like a truly auspicious beginning to the unfolding new season!

Little could I have possibly imagined that the very same morning would also bring THIS….


Mountain Lion


Yup. That is indeed what you think it is.

I tell you, it’s enough to leave a gal speechless… Well, almost anyway. *GRIN* This is a teaser post as there are other better photos and an entire story that still needs telling. I’ve been holding my tongue on sharing this news for a couple days now though and I simply couldn’t wait any longer.

Life is good. It may not always be easy. You may not always get things exactly how you want them or when you want them. But there are lions and snakes and birds and trees and spiders and moons and toads and rainbows and squirrels and clouds and all the other totally amazing things that make me wonder what tomorrow will bring and keep me hangin’ in there to find out!


Harsi / September 25, 2011 / mammals, reptiles


  1. Chris - September 27, 2011 @ 11:41 pm

    All I can say is WOW! That must have been a good day, I’m glad you were able to be in the right place at the right time with your camera to get these. Can’t wait to hear the accompanying stories.

  2. Harsi - September 28, 2011 @ 1:28 pm

    Hullo, Chris! (sorry for posting your comment so late…) Yes, that was indeed what I would call a good day — easily the most significant sighting of the year!!! Actually, given the infrequency with which Mountain Lion are seen in this area, I think seeing one at this close range and actually being able to get some pics might make this the most exciting wildlife sighting of the entire time we’ve lived in the canyon. Planning to have the rest of the photos and the story up sometime soon… sorry to make you wait… hopefully it will be worth it!

  3. ro - October 1, 2011 @ 7:28 am

    Holeeey Cow! I’m coming over to hike with you! I haven’t seen a lion for quite a while, I can’t wait to see more pictures. Not so fond of the snake but a wonderful capture, keep your eyes peeled and stay safe. p.s. 🙁 🙁 I think we scared the rain off 🙁 🙁

  4. Harsi - October 1, 2011 @ 11:57 am

    Hey there, Ro! Glad you enjoyed seeing the lion pic… one of these days I promise I AM going to put the others up here. I am actually very relieved and happy to report that we haven’t seen this lion again because I didn’t see out on the trail — it passed right by our kitchen window!! I had always hoped that when I did eventually see one it would be just far enough away that I could get a pic but not so close as to make me feel uncomfortable. This one was definitely close enough to be a cause for concern and I felt very lucky to be indoors viewing it. Like I said though, we haven’t seen it around the property since, which is a very good thing for both us AND the mountain lion. Yeah… I’m a bit bummed about the boring blue skies again today… but, the forecast is claiming some serious rain by Wed. or Thurs., so I’m keeping my fingers crossed until then.

  5. Cindy - October 7, 2011 @ 10:44 pm

    what a thrill! There have been confirmed cougar sightings all around my county, but the DNR denies they exist- which is just as well for their own survival I think. We’ve been viewing many snakes over the past week, since our daytime temps have warmed up alot, but it’s still so very cool at night so the snakes head to the roadways to seek out warmth. I’ve been trying to get away from my own windows as much as possible lately- we’ve had a feral cat here for going on two months now and I’ve never felt as much animosity towards any creature in my life as I do that cat. It’s a killing machine. (I know it’s not the cats’ fault that it’s out there, but it doesn’t make the fact that our refuge, our haven for all wildlife has been violated in the worst way. A most brutal way. By a domestic animal that has NO place in the wild) It’s honestly had me so upset that I’m not online a heck of alot lately, hopefully that will change soon..always enjoy your wonderful photos H, will try to touch base again soon. xoxo

  6. Harsi - October 8, 2011 @ 3:03 pm

    Hello, Cindy. Yes, what a thrill, indeed! It still feels a bit like a dream… if I didn’t have the photos to prove it, I’d wonder if I hadn’t maybe imagined the whole sighting. We’ve been waiting the whole time we’ve lived here for just such a sighting and (as we will be moving soon) I was beginning to think we would have to leave without ever having seen this amazing animal. Truly a gift!!! How wonderful that you are seeing snakes too! I love the photos you’ve posted of your local snakes… While I love our rattlers, racers and gopher snakes, I somehow how thought there might be a bit more diversity of species in this area. If there are others out there though, they must be pretty nocturnal, as we’ve never seen them. My dear friend… I actually just read your blog post a few days ago about the feral cat that has set up camp in your neighborhood. I had been meaning to send you a note expressing my deep sympathy and understanding at your rage and the depth of your feelings of violation and loss. You know that I know just how important that “world beyond your window” is and I can only say that I would be devastated and at my wits’ end as well. Your blog post was heartbreaking and I know how much you must still be suffering from the loss of your beloved chipmunk (as well as the countless other victims). Again… I’m so very sorry. I hope that a solution somehow presents itself and that peace and tranquility returns your property once again soon. xoxoxoxo

  7. Harsi - October 8, 2011 @ 3:05 pm

    P.S. On a more upbeat note… I just love the beautiful presentation of the Gray Catbird (right?) on your more recent post. A bird I have yet to see for myself, but certainly hope to someday!


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