Tuesday, November 07, 2006

November 7, 2006

I've been busy with non-blog, non-nature stuff for several months. I hope to get back to regular blogging now, because there have been a number of nature-things going on.

But first: the beautiful photo above appears with the permission of the photographer, Bob Moul, who has a breathtaking gallery of nature photos at

The bird is a juvenile Cooper's hawk, the same species as my previous hawk picture. One has been visiting my pond every morning for the last few days, I think looking for breakfast. Although the one visiting me is about the same size as the hawk I photographed, it is clearly a real youngster, with its pale yellow legs and feet, and the flattened, yellowish beak. I haven't managed to photograph the new guy yet, but this one looks just like it.

In other nature news, we are well into fall now, but it has been very warm and beautiful for early November--in the mid to upper eighties in the afternoon, but cool in the morning and cold at night. Just about perfect, except that if it were like this all year long twenty million people would be living in this valley now.

Except for the hawkling, I have noticed no unusual birds either here or on the Riverwalk lately. I still have quite a few hummers, hopefully here for the winter. I think they are all either Anna's or Costa's.

A lot of the plants are drying up and dropping their leaves, including the beautiful lantana by the pond and the pomegranate tree. In the rose garden, a tribe of leaf-cutter ants has been attacking my lavender miniature rose. I tried two semi-lethal methods of control for a few days, then gave up and applied those scary granules that kill a whole hive. I didn't put too many down, but it was enough to make a difference. There's still a little activity at the hive, but the poor rose is finally free to try to regrow some leaves.

Leaf-cutter ants are very interesting. They have humongous nests--for all I know our entire yard is host to one big one. They cut the leaves and take them to the nest where they treat them with enzymes and then grow fungus to get through the winter. I feel sort of bad about hurting the ants, but I love my roses too.