Thursday, July 08, 2004

July 8, 2004
Two days ago I was out on the porch very early meditating when I happened to glance up and see a fluffy ball move through the fence. It was the first of a herd of adolescent quail, about 2/3 to 3/4 the size of adults. They jostled and gathered on the edge of the pond, then moved out of sight, then moved back to the pond. All of them—or at least thirteen, and there may have been more—crowded onto the rocks on the north side of the pond. Somewhere in there may have been a mama, but I didn’t see one specifically. Outside the fence, pacing and keeping watch, was the papa. The teenagers all drank, more or less taking turns. Their protective coloration is so good that if I didn’t know they were there I might not have seen them. They are the size and color of rocks. Fluffy, feathered rocks. Their topknots at this age are just sort of scruffy-looking feathers sticking straight up. I couldn’t tell what sex any of them will turn out to be.

I speculate that this family must stay in the wash out back of the house. I can’t imagine that if they cross the roads there would be so many of them.

Nothing else new around here, except that I have seen a male pyrrhuloxia on the porch. He doesn’t seem to know how to use the feeder. I saw the male cardinal chase him away once, so I suppose cardinals are dominant over pyrrhuloxias.

The male Costa’s is still around and quite aggressive about “his” feeders. But very few hummers, really. A female Anna’s, I think, and also a couple of black-chins.

Still no mockers. I’m going to have to buy some oranges and see if that works. Maybe they like olives—the tree is bursting with green fruit.

The monsoon is due this weekend. It’s quite cloudy and humid—and beautiful. Fluffy white clouds right now in a pale blue sky over the Tortollitas. This morning that whole area was black with rain pouring down on Marana. As I sit here, finches and pigeons and white wings are all bathing in the pond.

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