Saturday, September 16, 2006

September 16, 2006 Yes, it has been a long time since I have blogged. My non-nature life has been too intrusive, but now I have time again. All along I have had time to watch the beautiful world in my increasingly beautiful garden outside. The creature above is a Lesser long-nosed bat. The picture was taken by the young woman who lives in my old house, where the bat visited shortly after we moved. She has told me that it has not returned. However, about two weeks ago I awoke one morning to find all my hummingbird feeders drained. I knew immediately it was bats (though at the time, I thought "fruit bats.") I was put in touch with a woman, Sandy Wolf, who studies these bats. She was very excited to hear that the bats came "so far into town" to feed. She said that they have been starving this year, because their prime food, agave blossoms, have been virtually nonexistent. The bats are endangered, and they live only in caves. They can travel up to thirty miles a night in search of food. Next week Sandy and her husband are coming over to videotape my bats in infrared light. I'm sure I'll have more information after that. Other nature highlights: The Broadbill hummingbird stayed around through Sept. 4th or so, but has since disappeared. I now have only Anna's and Costa's hummers, as far as I know, and their numbers have fallen off.

I saw another Summer Tanager down by the river a couple of weeks ago. Birds I have recently seen in my pond-garden include a female black-headed grosbeak (scarfing seeds) and lots of goldfinches. I watched one goldfinch eat zinnia petals, one by one. Just lately a male cardinal has been wearing himself out feeding a cowbird baby. I'm down to one last baby dove on the northernmost pillar. Its sibling flew off sometime during the last few days. And I don't think there will be anymore till next spring. This was the sixth-wettest monsoon on record. On the morning of August 7, it rained 1 1/2 inches up here in about two hours.
Earlier this week a stench drove us to a garage, where they removed a HUGE dead packrat and his nest from INSIDE the car's air-conditioner air intake. Then they cleaned the engine. Miraculously, it does not stink. And the juniper tree did die. We had it cut down and planted a beautiful young mesquite just to the north of the stump. The mesquite has grown from every branch. I think it will be happy here.