Monday, December 26, 2005

December 26, 2005

It was a lovely Christmas day. I think the temperature got up to eighty. The day before I'd been out working in my rose garden in my shorts. This is how I remember many Christmases from my childhood, but I believe it is fairly unusual for it to be this warm.
The pond is still being visited by bees, who are usually dormant by this time of year. But all the deciduous trees have finally lost their leaves (to return in February). The pomegranate tree looks like a collection of bare sticks. There are plenty of hummers around, male and female. All I have recognized are Costa's and Anna's, both of them beautiful enough birds. I've seen a few tail-waggers, which may mean that I have some black-chinneds, but I can't be sure.
I hope one day (or month or year) soon I get some year-round broad-bills. I still miss them a lot. Maybe this will be the year I have mockingbirds in my garden.
I suspect that my pond would look to any outsider like a pitiful half-attempt at greening up some scrub desert, but to me it is beautiful and lush, and with the new year I plan to make it even more so.

Monday, December 19, 2005

December 19, 2005

The word of the day is hawk. Today while on the River Walk we saw a small, rather nondescript hawk sitting on the railing. I am pretty sure it wasn't a kestrel or peregrine. Then this afternoon, I saw another, similar hawk on the fence around my pond.I studied it for a while with the binoculars, but still don't know for sure what it was. I suspect it may have been a male Cooper or a sharp-shinned. It had a gray back and a rufous-speckled chest. The tail was gray and blunt, with thick dark bands and a rim of white at the end. I didn't see any identification bands on its leg.

We are approaching the shortest day of the year. We've had a few freezes, but it's a warm winter. My roses are still blooming, and the only thing that has frozen back is the lantana.

My pond area looks rather bare, but I still love looking at it. The other morning when I went out to add water, I saw a road runner, several hummers, cardinals, pyrrhuloxia, the usual cactus wrens, sparrows and woodpeckers, and even the beautiful mockingbird, out in the desert area. The visiting hawk probably thinks it's an all-you-can eat buffet.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

December 6, 2005

EXCITING NEWS! I just saw a mockingbird out on the fence behind the pond. He or she looked cold (we had a hard freeze last night, so all the lantana have died). Here is my fantasy: the mockingbird has taken a good look around, and decided, "This looks like a terrific place to raise my family next spring."

Apart from the mocker, nothing new. Lots of hummers, all Anna's and Costa's, as far as I can tell. Though I do have one female with a VERY long beak who doesn't seem to be either.