Thursday, January 27, 2005

January 27, 2005
It has continued to rain--according to my rain gauge, we've had over 2 inches already since January 1, which is quite a lot for a town that averages 12 inches all year. This morning when i went out to get the paper it was SO BEAUTIFUL! There was fog rising from the mountains and giving everything a soft look, like a watercolor. The cactus and other desert plants in our front yard were also pastel--a whole palette--and the mountains looked close enough to touch. The air was cool and filled with that great desert-y post-rainfall scent. Accents of bright color: a male cardinal on the phone line and a goldfinch on the ocotillo outside the bedroom window.

Meanwhile, back at the pond, I have gazillions of cardinals and pyrrhuloxia using the feeder in its new position. This afternoon a pyrrhuloxia flew to the place where the feeder used to be, and you could see the thought balloons over his head: "Whoa! Where are the seeds?" He looked around, up and down: "I could swear they were right here the last time I visited." He hopped out from under the porch roof, looked around, and then suddenly spotted the feeder and immediately flew to it.

Monday, January 24, 2005

January 24, 2005
Lots of warmth and lots of rain. (Also chilliness and dankness, but not much and not for long.) It's not quite February and already feels like Spring is coming. Which it is.

Phaenopepla singles bar
A male phaenopepla has been hanging out pretty continuously on the ocotillo and scrub palo verdes out in back of my riparian area. He is gorgeous--glossy black with a little crest and reddish eyes. I haven't seen him use the pond (though assume he does), but he pretty clearly considers this good territory, because yesterday I saw him doing the mate-attracting moves, where he flaps up in the air to display his sexy white wingbars, then perches again.

Where's the feeder?
I am a victim of my own success: the cardinal feeder has proved so popular with a growing crowd of cardinals and pyrrhuloxia that the patio was getting fouled with bird dung and tons of empty sunflower seeds. So this morning I moved it out onto the fence in the riparian area, where I can still observe (though not so closely) and the patio will stay clean. I had thought it would take the birds a few days to learn the new location, but about a minute after I came back indoors, a pyrrhuloxia was feeding in the new location. I haven't seen any others since, but I also havent' seen them checking out the patio.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

January 18, 2005
Not to brag, but it has been clear and in the low to mid seventies for several days and will stay that way for at least the next week. Just gorgeous, although I do worry about plants that may assume it's spring and then get zapped with frost.

The birds are enjoying it! Nobody new, but lots of pyrrhuloxias and cardinals, goldfinches at the pond, and the little male Costa is still around. (Or maybe there's more than one--I can't tell.) Since it's so warm I can keep the door open part of the day. This morning I heard a mockingbird singing (!!!!!) but don't know where he was.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

January 5, 2005
Well, Happy New Year to one and all. We've been having rain for the last couple of days--a total of .90 inch, according to my rain gauge. Not much new out at the Riparian Area, though I haven't been watching it as much as usual. However, this morning I saw a male Costa's outside my office window (I couldn't see any colors, as it was cloudy and he was in shadow, but the "helmet" was unmistakable); and this afternoon while picking lemons I saw a mockingbird land in the top of the lemon tree. I've been putting out tangelo slices from the old house--maybe they are helping.