Tuesday, March 16, 2004

March 16, 2004
It’s spring, and so much is happening! The sparrows, for example, are raising a family in the little birdhouse in the tangelo tree (or preparing to raise a family; it’s hard to tell, but there’s lots of coming and going). Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal, at least one pair, are eating sunflower seeds together, the peach tree is in blossom, and the citrus are showing signs of doing the same. It’s also hot—about ten to twelve degrees above normal, so there’s apparently not going to be much transition between winter and summer this year.

Our daily walks have gotten very exciting because it’s so springlike. Tons of wildflowers along the river walk, including desert marigold, lupine, penstemon, globe mallow, and a ton of things whose names I don’t remember. Lots of birds, including many, many mockingbirds, mostly singing, and hummers (mostly Anna’s) in what seems like every tree and bush.

Yesterday, as we approached Craycroft, I saw a middle-aged man and woman with camera, looking into the brush. I asked what they were looking at.
“We saw them yesterday, but they won’t come out today,” the man replied.
“What kind of birds are they?”
“Big birds,” he replied, holding his hands far apart. “Large wingspans.” So much for his birding expertise….
On the way back, the “big bird” had emerged. It was a beautiful Great Blue Heron.

We saw it again today, flying back and forth from one tree to another. What an amazing bird! So big and almost ungainly looking, but so graceful when flying and so majestic when perched.

We also saw a pair of mockingbirds duking it out with a ritualized “dance” along the top of a fence, and… most amazing of all, a bird I have never before seen on the river walk: a vermilion flycatcher! So red it almost hurts your eyes!

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

March 3, 2004
We are planning to move in a few weeks—to a whole new area, more in the desert than this one. I worry about “my” birds and hope they will be all right without me to feed them. What will become of the brilliant young cardinal? Where will the cardinal parents take their children to learn to feed without my sunflower seeds and fruit slices? I guess they’ll be okay—their species have survived for a very long time before I came on the scene.

I’ve been getting some pretty good photos lately, and hope to figure out how to post them here soon. I have two especially good mockingbird pix. This will be harder to do in the new place, but presumably not impossible.

Wanted to write about the verdins, a pair of which has been living in my yard for years. They love the hummingbird feeders, and land on them to lick up errant drops of sugar solution. I recently got a new type of feeder—round glass, without any obvious place to land (to keep the woodpeckers away in a couple of locations). The verdins have been doing their best to hover at the feeding holes—flying to them and then flapping as hard as they can while they try to sip. Needless to say, it doesn’t work. A couple of days ago the female figured out how to grip the feeding hole with one foot and then twists around to drink. I’ll try to get a picture of it—very cute.