Friday, June 04, 2004

June 4, 2004
Yesterday morning I saw a very beautiful, very feminine-looking lady quail sipping water from the pond. I checked on the water temp throughout the day, and by evening—on a very hot day—it was still cool. I hope it remains so, because the heat is fairly fierce. This afternoon a very stressed-looking baby cardinal sat on the back porch outside my office door, his wings splayed out, his beak open, repeatedly sending his “chip-chip” call note. He was gone a while ago, so I put a little saucer of ice water and a few seeds out there, but it may be too late for him. Or, on the other hand, maybe he’s just fine. However, yesterday afternoon I found a dead baby finch on the porch.

Other nature sightings: yesterday morning I had fun watching a very aggressive juvenile pyrrhuloxia try to figure out how to open a sunflower seed. He repeatedly rolled it in his bill—no doubt copying what he had seen his parents do—but to no avail. He drove off all other birds that came near him, except a big white-wing, who drove him off.

How can I tell the baby cards from the baby pyrrhuloxias? So far the only sure way seems to be to listen for their calls. The young pyrrhuloxias have the same very loud wheet-wheet whistle as their parents, while the young cardinals have the “chip” note. But on close examination, the young pyrrhuloxias seem to be yellower overall. They are just as perky-looking and adorable as the cardinals, however.

I’ve got to study thrashers. I saw two adults yesterday doing the stabbing thing on the ground where the seeds were scattered. I don’t remember seeing that at the old house. Different type of thrashers? I must find out!

Finally, this morning I saw an adorable bunny standing on its tippy-toes on a rock, reaching up as high as it could to nibble fruit from the big prickly pear out back. I wish I could stop anthropomorphizing these guys but they are all so cute, and individualistic. It’s true I miss the broad-bills and mockers, but my goodness! I have so much nature to watch now!

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