Thursday, October 30, 2008

Nothing too exciting or unusual has happened lately. The weather is still very warm for late October (though not unprecedentedly so)--up to ninety most days, then cooling down to the sixties in the morning.

Quail continue to visit my quail block, and the pond area often hosts thrashers, sparrows, house finches, goldfinches, starlings, the occasional cardinal and pyrrhuloxia (their numbers are well down this year), cactus wrens, woodpeckers, hummingbirds (these days mostly Anna's), and I apologize to any bird-group I have forgotten. Every morning a young Cooper's hawk drops by between nine and eleven, usually perches on the fence for a while looking around, sometimes stops and drinks at the pond, and then flies away. The picture above is a male Anna's from my old yard.

This morning I watched a beautiful goldfinch stand on the turtle's head and drink from the stream flowing from its mouth.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


As we were out walking two days ago two large hawks (I think they were both Cooper's) swooped overhead, and on the way back a young coyote came trotting out of the scrub right in my path. The coyote and I both did a double-take and he or she immediately retreated. I said, little realizing how true this would prove to be, that the theme of the day seemed to be predators.

That night, around seven PM while we were meditating, an unearthly, unbelievably loud howl filled the air. Almost immediately it was joined by at least one other howl, up and down the scale, and less loud but even more chilling, the high-pitched yips of a terrified dog. This continued for nearly a minute and then... complete silence. It sounded as if it were right out our front door. We looked, but saw nothing. And the next day there was no sign that anything had happened.

We hope it was not the neighbor's dog, who is allowed to roam pretty much at will. She is old, and small, and I worry about her, though I've never seen her out at night. We called the neighbors, but have not heard from them.

The picture above is a public-domain coyote from New York that closely resembles the ones we see around here. The website is

Friday, October 10, 2008

A couple of Cooper's hawks have taken to visiting my pond area in the morning. One is an adult, the other a juvenile, and neither is banded. I do not know their sexes, but they are beautiful, magnificent, fierce birds.

This morning the juvenile landed by the pond and drank so I could get a good look at it. Then it flew up to the fence, posed some more, and flew away.

Every morning now I find piles of feathers--dove or quail (*sob*).

This photo is from a couple of years ago. The hawk in the photo was banded. What gorgeous, dangerous creatures these are!