Wednesday, September 14, 2005

September 14, 2005

My blog is so boring compared to all the hyper political ones. But it's also soothing, to me, to know that my little birds and critters are getting their moment on the Internet, even if only for a handful of eyes (now there is a nature image!).

Not much action. We had one last monsoon rain last week--nearly a third of an inch in twenty minutes or less. It reminded me of the heavy monsoons that were so common when I was a kid--a downpour along with lightning and thunder and heavy wind that felt like the end of the world. And then... it stopped. The monsoon is now over, it is dry and sunny and beautiful, and even in the heat of the day it doesn't get above the mid-nineties.

Also last week, I saw a very sad sight: a doting Papa Cardinal busting his buns to feed a greedy little cowbird chick.

Finally, yesterday I had a new bird at the pond! I first thought it was an odd-looking sparrow, but then looked through the binocs and saw that it was a sparrow-sized gray, black, and white bird with striking black and white face streaks. Its body was marked similarly to a mockingbird, and it was very flitty. In my haste to get all the field markings I neglected to note its beak! I couldn't really narrow it down from my bird book, but I happened to go to The Wild Bird Store later in the day and Jon Friedman helped me find it: a solitary vireo. (Maybe--the picture in my book doesn't look much like it either.) Hope it will be back.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

September 1, 2005
Time flies! In the last two weeks, there has been a lot of nature to write about. First, we finally had a very active monsoon, even up here. One day the airport received nearly 2 1/2 inches of rain, which is nearly unprecedented. (August went down as the fifth-rainiest month in history.) We are actually AHEAD of the average annual rainfall total for the year. My rain gauge picked up .82 inches, which is pretty good.

Since then it has dried out again. It is cloudy today, for the first itme in about a week, and humid too (it's been hot and reasonably dry for a while). I don't expect any rain, though they are getting it to the south and the northeast of here.

Mama dove apparently decided not to raise another brood in the carport. Twice I have seen her sitting on the nest, but she always flies away whenever I come close. No brooding behavior. Maybe she just feels comfortable there, or maybe she is thinking, "I can't go through this again! Won't that woman ever leave me alone?"

A huge prickly pear--a prickly pear tree, really--apparently got too much rain and has pretty much collapsed. It was the main thing you first see when you look out the central back doors, though I didn't notice it was down until I smelled a rotting odor. Kind of gross, but it was very big and very old, and maybe its time had just come.

Finally, two days ago I saw a Rufous hummingbird at the feeder by my office window. I haven't seen him anywhere else, and I didn't get a good look, but I know he was Rufous (or possibly Allen's). It is migration time, after all. Mr. Broadbill is long gone, alas.