Tuesday, November 23, 2004

November 22, 2004

Excitement! We got some weather! Yesterday it rained pretty much all day, and today my rain gauge finally had some real water in it: 3/4 inch! (Though the official rainfall was .10 inch.) This morning it was cold--low forties, and the mountains were shrouded in fog. As the fog began to lift, we saw the snow, much closer than we could see it from the other house. Really beautiful against the shifting clouds and blue sky and sahuaros.

Also, this morning I saw a/the mockingbird on the ocotillo outside the master bedroom. It flew down into the neighbors' yard, but at least it's putting in an appearance now and then.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

November 20, 2004

Two oddities: First, the west side of my office has a window that is covered with reflective film, which works like a one-way mirror to those on the outside. The olive trees and a hummer feeder are right there, and the whole area is a bird magnet, especially to hummers, woodpeckers, and quail. A male verdin spends most of the day flying at the window, clinging to the screen, seemingly trying to get in, though probably he's trying to challenge the other "bird" that he sees in the reflecting glass. Needless to say, our cats view the verdin as the most fascinating cat toy in the world.

Second oddity: today we walked on the River Walk around 3 PM. It was 70 degrees, and as we walked I saw half a snake on the side of the path. It was the back half; the rest of the snake was inside a hole. As I watched, the snake slowly emerged from the hole, his head last. It was a small snake, tan and brown, covered with a nice diamond pattern. I'm pretty sure it wasn't a rattler--the head seemed too narrow and I didn't see any rattles. But why would a snake come out of a hole backwards? That seems to expose him to predators without any way of seeing them or otherwise sensing them. Also, what was he doing out in the middle of November? Shouldn't any sensible snakes be hibernating by now?

Sunday, November 14, 2004

November 14, 2004

Just a quick note to report that I saw the mockingbird (or at any rate, a mockingbird) twice today: once this morning at the pond, and later on top of the Meyer-lemon tree in the front of the house. While I was feasting my eyes on it, the bird flew off to the olive trees. There was something about its demeanor that made me think it lives here. Hope so, anyway.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

November 9, 2004

We are getting a respite from the cool weather--the last couple of days it has been beautiful, in the low eighties. Yesterday morning my riparian area was jammed: cardinals, a pyrrhuloxia, mourning doves, cactus wrens, a thrasher, hummers (all Anna's, I think, though maybe a Costa's also), quail, sparrows and finches, and a rabbit. All were drinking, feeding, bathing. (Except the rabbit, who just hopped in to sip, then hopped right out again.) Then later in the day at least two dozen quail and doves crowded together in the pond, creating quite a mob scene. It's so much fun to watch them. This pond has evidently become a part of the natural landscape to these guys.

Only downside is that I haven't seen the mockingbird for a couple of weeks now. Guess he/she decided to move on, or is just staying out of sight when I'm looking.