Arkansas, Wildlife

Ridge Visitors

For the past twenty-four years, I’ve lived on a ridge overlooking the Arkansas River in Little Rock, Arkansas.  One of my joys is waking up every morning to its spectacular views. We’re in the city limits, but because of the river valley below us, a remarkable variety of wildlife visit our neighborhood.  Over the years, we’ve shared space with bunnies, chipmunks, nutria, raccoons, coyotes, the dreaded armadillo and some snakes of astounding lengths.  Deer often cut through our yard to the valley across the street, and we’ve seen foxes from time to time.  A bald eagle cruises along the ridge almost daily. We see lots of songbirds and a flock of optimistic buzzards hang out down the hill looking for their next meal. 
 For me, our most thrilling visitors have been the bobcats. One spring a mother and two cubs strolled along the edge of our lower flowerbed. This summer, I watched a rabbit race into my closest neighbor’s yard with a bobcat in hot pursuit. It was the bunny’s lucky day because the big cat stopped just short of the rock wall separating the yard from the natural area below. While Uncle Wiggly scampered to safety, the big cat plopped down on the ground as if waiting for another opportunity. He lay there long enough for me to fetch my camera and take his picture, but he blended in so well with his surroundings that it’s difficult to distinguish him in the photograph from to a large rock nearby.   As I stood at the corner of my deck watching him, he turned his head and looked me straight in the eye.  There he was, unblinking, watching me, watch him.  After what must have been a full minute, he got up and disappeared down the hill into the brush.  What a beautiful creature!
See if you can spot him.