Wednesday, May 17, 2006

May 17, 2006

It is currently very cloudy and dark--what my father used to refer to as "clobbering up." We have a slight chance of rain, bu I don't expect any, though I can see rain and virga [rain that doesn't make it to the ground because the air is too dry] falling all around the valley. It's been in the high nineties, though today probably stayed in the low nineties because of all the cloud cover.

The grapefruit tree is recovering nicely--has put out a bunch of new leaves. I will post a picture when I take it out of my camera. The tanager returned for a couple more days, but I haven't seen him lately.

There has been a LOT of dove sex. Besides the male's strutting and fanning his tail, I've also seen pairs "billing and cooing," where they tenderly entertwine their necks , flutter their tails, and peck each other's faces. It's really sweet.

No baby doves yet, but I've seen parents feeding immature finches and pyrrhuloxias. Also a thrasher, on the suet feeder.

Today a bronzed cowbird stopped by for a drink of water. I basically hate cowbirds because they lay their eggs in cardinals' nests and the cowbird babies then kill their siblings and wear the adult cardinals to a frazzle with their demands. But the adult cowbird is a quite handsome bird. The picture here is copyright by Robert Scanlon, who kindly gave me permission to post it. It's from the website The cowbird in the picture is from Colombia, but looks basically the same as the one I had here. Most notable are the ruff at the neck and the red eye, like Hal in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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