Thursday, April 28, 2005

April 28, 2005
More dove news: the female is sitting on the new nest on the north pillar. Too bad I can't see into the nest, but I suppose she likes her privacy. I guess I'll clean up the old nest and straighten up the shelf while nothing is living there. (Yesterday afternoon a pair of quail seemed to be investigating the shelves, but maybe they were looking for something to eat.)

The cacti everywhere are starting to bloom, and it is lovely. Many more cactus than we had around at the old house. Our prickly pears, some of which are huge (the size of small trees) are starting to put out butter yellow and orange blossoms; some of the cholla have reddish and dark orange buds; and our saguaros have lots of buds, though I think they don't open till June. I'll try to take some pictures and figure out how to post them here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

April 26, 2005
Dove update: We saw a pair of doves investigating the empty nest. When I looked later, they had rolled the egg out and onto the bare shelf, so I threw it into the wash. They seemed busy around the nest on and off all day, and I assumed that the female would settle in and try again to raise a family (unless this was a different female).

Instead, they built a nest around the corner on top of the north pillar of our carport (last year a dove raised several checks on top of the south pillar). I saw her sitting there yesterday afternoon and evening.

But this morning, she was gone. No sign of any dove activity anywhere near the carport: just three empty nests, one on each pillar and one on the shelf.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

April 23, 2005
Last night when we came home around 9:30, Mama dove was there, as she always is, patiently sitting on her nest. As I always do, I greeted her quietly and promised that I wouldn't hurt her or her babies.

This morning about 9:30, she was GONE! Her nest contained a single white egg. I had never seen her not on the nest. I thought maybe she had flown off to eat or drink, but she has not yet returned. I felt really bad for a while, thinking that something had happened to her. But now I wonder... she was on that nest for waht seemed like weeks. Maybe she simply decided that the egg was not going to hatch, and flew off to find a more potent mate and build a new nest. I hope that is what happened.

If there is still no sign of her tomorrow, we're going to clean out the nest and straighten up the shelf.

Friday, April 22, 2005

April 22, 2005
This afternoon we had a coyote in the back yard! He looked pretty healthy, but then I started worrying about a coyote hanging out in a neighborhood in the daytime, because there's a rabies epidemic in Pima County. Anyway, he trotted off to the north with that purposeful walk they have, so presumably he's gone. I hope he didn't see the Siamese cat from across the street that sometimes hangs out here.

It's cloudy today, with a good chance of rain tomorrow. According to NOAA, there's a good chance that several records will be set with the rain, because for a number of locations including Nogales and Organpipe, no rain has ever been recorded on April 23. For the rest of us, I think the maximum might be .10 inch.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

April 19, 2005

We were out of town for a week, and things changed markedly in that short time. It's much warmer, for example, in the eighties during the day, though still cool at night. All the cactus on the property are in bud, and should be gorgeous when they jump into bloom. The palo verdes in town are covered in beautiful yellow flowers, very reminiscent of the forsythia we saw in New Jersey and Long Island. (The ones in our yard are apparently retarded--no signs of bloom.) The pomegranate bush has several bright orange-red trumpet flowers that the hummers seem to like.

The mama dove is still sitting on her nest in the carport. Whenever we drive up she blinks, but doesn't seem to move otherwise.

This morning I saw a mama and papa quail with four little ones way out in the back yard. I haven't seen other babies, but there are probably a lot around in other quail families. Four doesn't seem like very many, so I assume something may have happened to the nest.

While I was gone the yard guy moved the end of the hose that creates the waterfall in my pond so that it is sort of spurting into the air like a fountain. It's kind of cool--sounds and looks good, but is quite a rush of water. This morning I saw a hummingbird trying to decide whether to bathe (or drink) or not. The bird repeatedly approached the water and hovered, its tail fanned out as if in a threat display. At one point it got drops of water on its beak but didn't seem to be drinking, and eventually gave up. I moved some rocks so there is a quieter area that is off to the side, so maybe he'll be able to use that. I'm going to see about building a better waterfall, but will need a bunch more rocks.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

April 6
More signs of spring: all the bushes, trees, and most of the flowers are blooming or past bloom. It's starting to get hot during the day, but still cool at night. Yesterday afternoon I was watching through binoculars as a female hummer (probably an Anna, but I'm not sure) stuck most of her head into salmon-colored trumpet flowers on a vine that I don't know the name of. The blooms were quite small, but she managed to get right down into them. And when she emerged, her head was bright yellow with pollen. As she hovered, a goldfinch perched on the fence next to her; they were the same shade of yellow.

The other night coming home late we were startled when we got out of the car by a scrabbling and clawing sound, as if a critter were trying to escape from the shelves in the back of the carport. There is a rabies epidemic in the county these days, so we hastened on in. The next morning we checked out the carport and found a large black trash bag containing potting implements ripped open. We speculated that it might have been a coyote, a stray dog or cat, or even a bobcat that had previously learned those bags sometimes contain delicious garbage.

But it turned out that probably wasn't what made the sound. This morning my yard guy asked if I'd seen the bird nest on the shelves. And sure enough, there sat a sweet little mother mourning dove on her messy pile of sticks that doves think are nests. She was perfectly still, and nearly the same color as the shelving. We are going to leave her alone until her babies have flown, and then clean up the shelf.