A single heron this time, but then it is joined by the other (I’ll presume it’s the same pair as yesterday’s); they appear to be immature siblings still together.
A huge, impressive squadron of Tarantula Hawks masses over the flowers of the large Graythorn at the gate into the Botteri’s Pasture, sipping nectar … a beautiful, unsettling sight and sound.
on a wheel line sprinkler
beetle in bill
in the Sunrise
but Bull’s a-Moon-in’
the cow, Flame,
“Come wiz me to de cowzbah!”
he chortles to his latest squeeze …
birds, and bees
The first maturing mesquite pods are turning color, the cycles of the years come around faster and faster and it is time already to keep the herd sequestered here or there so that the seeds are deposited where we’d like them to be, either in the path of the big rototiller come September (if it comes) or where the winter pasture a year from now will be laid out and cleaned of its erstwhile bosque-ette before that cultivation and seeding of grasses is done.
A pair of Great-blue Herons fly away from The Stockpond.
The scolding and hissing of Black-tailed Gnatcatchers comes from the scrubby mesquites and the Graythorns, the bird rather uncommon from my observations on this side of las Rincones Altas.. There are lots of little notes and clicks from other small birds, a pack of Bushtits are fluffing around (they look like dustballs with bills) and many immature Black-throated Sparrows are opening green mesquite pods for the still-tender seeds. They leave the chaff on the ground like peanut hulls on a honky-tonk dance floor.
I look down into the opening at the top of that iron gate post in which the Ash-throated Flycatchers have set up home, to see if that big baby had fledged yet from its solar oven nursery. I’d certainly want to get out of there! What?? … the bird is indeed gone, but I realize what I had been looking at a week ago wasn’t a baby, but the mother–I’d forgotten about Myiarchus moustaches! This time I had a better entry of light into the shaft to see, and thought it was sweet that she hadn’t shot upwards then with bill aimed into the eye of the cyclopean monster. Curiosity could have at least blinded this cat prying into their affairs but the pair of flycatchers have got completely accustomed to our coming and going and working right there, and seem undisturbed by our being near, even this near. What I did see this time charmed to no end: three beautiful small speckled eggs, perhaps just the beginning of a clutch.
Immature Hooded Orioles enliven the mesquites and the tall grass and forbs in the north of #2 Pasture, and among them is a large “baby” cowbird (cue the villain music?) begging and seeming to be communicating with an answering adult oriole but, I don’t witness enough to be sure it was that bird who raised it.
The Cassin’s aren’t singing. They are gone from Mason’s, looking for greener Pastures elsewhere I guess.
The Cassin’s are singing, a third day …
When Monsoon after her opening fiesta lifts the hem of her skirt of clouds enough above her ankles to wade in the arroyos she’s left running, all this land lies drenched and steaming.
Over a half inch of rain begins High Summer and the temperature soars from the delight of a cool 80 degrees yesterday to well past 90 today. The smallest of effort to push myself into #3 Pasture to listen for Botteri’s Sparrows pulls sweat to wet and darken the work shirt. No, no Botteri’s–but yes, yes! for a second day comes the rich, descending, see-sawing whistles of Cassin’s. They may have been here already but they do not let go their songs until rain actually falls for if it doesn’t, why waste the swagger and the aerial dance of courtship? Will they stay even if the much rarer Botteri’s has abandoned us and apparently withdrawn to their more usual range closer to The Border? The presence of the Cassin’s Sparrows is exciting and deeply satisfying enough to us and the Forest Service and the pastures, now after so much work of the past few years has turned the wide almost sterile Burroweed flats into the kind of mosaic of those shrubs and the native grasses that this “Species of Concern” might want to call home.
Those overgrown “ducklings” of the Mexican Mallard pair head for the shore whenever the Silverado appears at The Stockpond, move up through the weeds away from me crouched almost flat to the ground, quickly and more like lizards than large birds that can fly off if they want to. Black Phoebes have appeared again in good numbers through the pastures but especially in the branches overhanging the open water, after having been absent most of the Foresummer and early Summer. Where do they come back from?