Thursday, May 21, 2009

Recent Arrivals

Spring is really on the verge of bursting headlong into summer. We've had a window off the yurt for over a week now, tomatoes are ready to go in the ground, and we are no longer needing to have fires, though a few recent nights have been borderline. It begins to get light between 4:00 and 4:30 AM, and the last light fades from the western sky somewhere around 9:30 or 10:00. It's only fully dark for 7 hours!

I thought I would offer a partial list of the plants that I've noticed blooming recently:
Purple vetch
Himalaya Blackberries
Wild Flax
Scotch Broom (naughty invasive plant!)
Stinging Nettle
Wild Cucumber
Wild Oats
Poison Oak
Crimson Clover
Douglas Iris
Cow Parsnip
Poison Hemlock
Bird's Foot Trefoil
Wild Strawberries

And the birds who have returned, some of my favorites:
Bullock's Oriole
Lazuli Bunting
Western Tanager
Black-Headed Grosbeak
Barn Swallows * They have babies in the nest already! And they chatter lovely songs as the swoop and dive overhead.
Olive-Sided Flycatcher * Just heard it for the first time yesterday, perched on the garden fence, its characteristic voice.
American Goldfinch

Birds who live here year-round, but are more active and happy!
California Towhee
Spotted Towhee
Black Phoebe
Stellar's Jay
Wood Thrush * Have yet to hear the Swainson's Thrush, my all time favorite bird song.

Also, I solved the hawk mystery, at last, after a few more sightings. The key distinguishing field mark is the white crescents at the end of the wings, visible from below, points to the Red-Shouldered Hawk. This particular morph has been quite confusing, since we aren't supposed to have the light-colored version here in California. But we do, at least here on our place. I also caught sight of the red shoulders one afternoon as it took off out of the deep grass near our driveway and banked right away. It is still flying around and making a lot of noise. When Ella hears it, she panics a little and asks to be held, and says, I don't want to see the hawk, mommy.

No comments: