A nature journal incorporating back yard birding observations and experiences at Tohono Chul Park, a 49-acre desert oasis in northwest Tucson, Arizona.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Last night I decided to sit out on the porch and watch the quails roost. Nobody appeared till nearly dark and then all of a sudden at least fourteen showed up! Twelve of them, as near as I could see, roosted in the dorm tree. Two scurried off to the west to roost in parts unknown.
Above is a repeat photo of the dorm tree. It looks pretty big, but twelve quails are a LOT of quails.
Cactus meltdown! I'm very sorry to report that our beautiful, multi-headed golden barrel cactus in the backyard has succumbed to some form of disgusting rot. I have spoken to experts at two different places; one said it was an insect and would spread if I didn't spray insecticide all over the place, while the other said it is the result of a pathogen in the soil that can grow if there is too much moisture. We had so much rain this summer I suspect the pathogen. However, our yard guy dug the cactus up today (while we were away). When we came back, a sickening smell of decay hung over the whole yard. He said the whole cactus was rotten, down to the roots, and filled with a gross yellow fluid that was crawling with white maggots. Yuck!
On the positive side I saw a mockingbird in the yard yesterday morning, and yesterday evening I watched two quails roost in my dorm tree.