Of Mice and Ringtails

Deer Mouse. Photo by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Deer Mouse. Photo by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A couple of posts ago, I wrote about having been visited by a deer mouse. The little one  had taken up residence under our refrigerator and had demonstrated extraordinary boldness, approaching me  one morning again and again. Until…

Mac and Molly, our two Old English Sheepdogs emerged from the bedroom, raced toward me and tussled to capture the “prize” that had positioned itself under a stool on which I was seated. The mouse escaped and I am delighted to report it hasn’t been seen since. There’s no evidence of its presence anywhere in the RV and it hasn’t peeked out at me from any possible ports. Mac and Molly, it would seem, scared the daylights out of the mouse. I am relieved this is so but we do remain on guard. Deer mice are found throughout this region and have been identified as carriers of the hantavirus which is conveyed to humans through contact with the animals’ feces and urine. The first sign of infection is a fever that appears within 7-10 days of contact. I’ve learned that two persons had been infected with the virus here at the canyon. One died.

Around the same time of my deer mouse encounter, I discovered that a ringtail (the state mammal of Arizona) had shown up at Kolb Studio. A woman first alerted me to having seen it peering out of a dormer window. A humane trap was set out for it in the attic and, one morning, the young ringtail (which seemed quite docile and curious) was taken out and released at Desert View.

A River of Fog Fills the Grand Canyon

The day started with a white-out with the canyon completely obscured from view. Then, in–what seemed to be just moments–the fog dropped and settled below the rim. As noted on Twisted Sifter: “The phenomenon is known as ‘temperature inversion’ where warm air acts as a lid to seal cool air near the ground, trapping fog in the canyon and preventing it from rising. According to the National Weather Service, the atmosphere’s temperature profile is most prone to inversion during the winter, when long nights allow for air near the Earth’s surface to become unusually cold.”

Some of the best photographs of the inversion were taken by Park Ranger Erin Whittaker and are found here: http://www.twistedsifter.com/2013/12/grand-canyon-floor-filled-with-fog-november-2013/.

Another fascinating phenomenon made possible by this weather event was the Brocken Spectre with Glory which my husband experienced. With bright sunshine behind him, his shadow was projected onto the fog and a rainbow encircled his shadow. Neither Gene nor I had our cameras with us so we were unable to record what happened but a friend at the canyon (Mike Buchheit) did capture his own experience of this. His photo can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/grandcanyonassoc.

Another experience of the Brocken Spectre with Glory in another part of the world is depicted in the featured photograph (details below):

Glory with Brocken Spectre created by the author’s shadow on a rising cloud at a South ridge of Peak Korzhenvskaya during a summit day on August 14th, 2006, classic route from Moskvina glacier. Part of a photo collection of Pamir 2006 expedition led by Dmitry Shapovalov.