Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Bird and Ant update

I wish I could hide out in a quail costume and take pictures, as has been suggested, but they would never go for it. I will soon get another quail block, however, and may be able to take pix of quail at that. Stay tuned....

First, the ants. It has turned cold in the mornings, plus I have poisoned the heck out of several ant hills, so that crisis seems resolved. I feel a little guilty, but knowing they are like the Borg helps. Destroy one hive and ten other spring up to take its place. I've read that they form vast underground labyrinthal colonies, and I'm sure this is true. I'm sure they are underneath our entire property. Our next door neighbor also has problems with them. I don't actually mind that they do what they do. They help aerate the soil, and probably do other good things. They take the leaves they tear up back to the nest, where they chew them up and create a kind of mash for fungi that they tend, which I think they subsist on in the winter.

Anyway, birds: First, the whitewings have migrated for the winter. I didn't even notice, but a friend pointed it out, and it is true. It is much quieter without their constant calls of "Who cooks for YOU?"

Hummers: I've had a lot lately. I think mostly migrants, and mostly Anna's and Black-chinneds. The other day while sitting in the Jacuzzi we watched about six madly chase each other through the porch, around the house, into the trees. All of them swearing a blue streak in Hum-speak. It is amazing that any of them ever gets enough to eat. They look very like old movie scenes of airplane dogfights.

And the quail. My quail are all just fine. I am now certain that my young covey consists of two groups: the family of five, which is intact, and another probable family of four: three males and a female. The four-guys usually come to roost first, followed a few minutes later by the family of five. They are all roosting earlier and earlier. The dorm tree is full by about 6:30 now; just a few weeks ago they were coming home at around 8 PM.

Finally: while watching my quails, I've noticed that they move very slowly through regular desert (presumably so they can spot and eat anything yummy on the ground). But when they come to a bare patch, like the gravel driveway, they speed up and zip across. This, presumably, so predators won't spot them out in the open. I HEART QUAILS!!!

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