Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Just a quick update on what's happening. The rainy season is hanging on, making everyone miserable, since we now have both heat and humidity, but little promise of much if any rain. (Though this afternoon, to my great surprise, we received .50 inch while we were out.)

The most exciting recent nature news is that about a week ago, when our nonfunctional fountain had some rainwater in it, a beautiful bobcat came strolling into the yard, placed his front paws on the lowest rung of the fountain, and drank his fill. There wasn't enough time to get a camera.

Quail and dorm tree update: I've been checking that little quail family most evenings. Last night I was a little late, but it appeared that there were only TWO children. I'll look again tonight. I hope it's not so, but life is perilous for a quail. The picture here is my only current quail photo--it's from the old house, but it shows their beautiful coloration. I love the little black fishing lure that hangs off the male's forehead.

Speaking of which, this morning I found a young mourning dove trapped in the chicken wire around my grapefruit tree. Her wing appeared to be broken. I freed her, and she slowly walked to the other side of the garden, but I doubt very much that she will live. Very sad.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Three items on the agenda for today. First, I DO have at least one male Broadbilled hummingbird. I got a good look at him the other day, and he is gorgeous!

Second: a couple of days ago as I was about to sit down for an afternoon look at the pond and birds, I spied a snake moving across my garden area, a BIG, black snake, probably over three feet long. I ran to get my camera, but by the time I got back it had moved into the upper part of the pond and was crawling under the turtle that spits out water. I managed to get a couple of pictures before the snake moved on out into the desert, but it doesn't show very well. It was basically black and thick, very like a fire hose, with light-golden broken bands on the lower part of its sides. I'm almost positive it is a king snake, but I'm not sure what kind.

Finally, the tree above, which is on the west side of our front porch, is a dormitory tree. It is actually a double tree: part of it is an ornamental orange, and the other is a Meyer lemon. For some reason at least one part of it is in bloom right now, about four months out of season. I've taken to watching from the front porch right before sunset, and a lot of birds are roosting in this tree. I've seen a baby cardinal or pyrrhuloxia hop into the tree; I've heard cactus wrens in there, I think I saw a couple of hummers fly in one night, and there are a lot of quail. Last night I saw two childless quail couples and the couple with the three school-age kids (by now probably freshmen in high school). The big family is usually the last to go into the dorm. I haven't checked it out in the monring, so I don't know what order they wake up in.