Monday, January 22, 2007

January 22
Woo-hoo! There was major snow last night, all over Tucson (everywhere but here at our house). When I went out to check the rain gauge this morning, it was frozen! (.6; I guess I'll have to wait for it to thaw to see how much rain actually fell.) The mountains are covered with snow down to the valley floor, and there are little patchy bits here and there in our yard. The Meyer lemon tree out front is all frozen on the outside. I haven't checked the regular lemon and orange trees, but I imagine there is at least some damage. Too bad, because we have (had) a bumper crop of lemons.

The woman who bought my house called to say that a hummingbird had fallen out of a tree onto her boyfriend's shoulder. From her description, I knew it was a beautiful Broadbill. She had it in a box in her car, on the way to work, and wanted to know what to do with it. She is no longer feeding the hummers, so she couldn't give it a sip of nectar. I told her to take it home, that it would probably be all right, that it was just cold, had no doubt been in torpor and just needed to come to a little. She called back later to say that it was fine, it was trying to get out of the box so she pulled over and let it go. I hope it finds food soon. And I am VERY dismayed to hear that "my" hummers are no longer being fed over there. I'll just concentrate on these ones over here. And maybe I'll eventually end up with as many as I had over there. After all, I've only been here two and a half years, and I was there for nearly fifteen.

Above are two not-too-good picture of the feisty male Costa's who's been hanging around for most of the winter. One of the pix is a good close-up out of the sun, so you can't see his gorget. The other is very out-of-focus, but shows the brilliant amethyst of the gorget.

This bird is one of the boldest and most fearless hummers I've been acquainted with, similar to the Broadbill I nicknamed "Olivier" over at the other house. He will perch on a feeder when I'm holding it for changing; when he's perched near the porch he lets me get within a few inches of him; and when I'm wearing bright colors he buzzes me to see if I have anything good to eat. Day before yesterday a cactus wren was perched on the gate in between the two porch feeders that Mr. Feisty guards. Although the wren had no interest in nectar, Mr. Feisty didn't want it around, and as I watched he repeatedly flew at the cactus wren, fiercely spreading his wings and tail and swearing at the top of his voice to show the Cactus wren how tough he is. The cactus wren responded with the bird-equivalent of a yawn, then eventually flew off, maybe tired of being pestered. I swear Mr. Feisty had a satisfied air as he returned to his perch, mission accomplished.