As I drive away from the house I look up to the Rincon, where Full Moon sports with the highest peak, is shining out from a mother-of-pearl sky; thrashers scold, sparrows tsip and cheep. The season is on the other shoulder, in the bottomland it is 57 degrees, while it was 95 degrees when I left The Stockpond at 5:15 last night.
A Great Blue Heron this morning at that pond, and at least four Summer Tanagers call around it, some are adult males in bright red plumage. A large “finch”, white below, gray above, and with conspicuous large white eye ring is there too, who knows what it is, leaves before a better look and a determination can be had. Many things will remain unidentified in this pretty good group of birds–Little Brown Jobs, Little Green Jobs, Little Yellow Jobs. There is too much ranch work needing tending to, to give time to sorting out even a few. The aquamarine-colored Damselflies still swarm around the mud edges, and bottle green ones hover there, too. A folded-wing Skipper Butterfly skips from mud to mud, it has dusky brown wings, the lower ones with white trailing edge.
In one mesquite edge or another seen as I make work rounds are Green-tailed Towhee, McGillivray’s Warbler, another Dusky-capped Flycatcher … and along the Cascabel Road at the Mason Pastures’ north end is a fine adult Gray Hawk, the final one I’ll see in the Season of Plenty now winding down. Bug kind flies on, clicks, chirps, as if les bon temps will forever roule: small grasshoppers with turquoise hind wings, gorgeous nearly-hovering Lubbers in 1957 Studebaker color combinations of pistachio and melon-pink, black and yellow, the still-sweet Sweet Clover racemes of blossoms flickering with many Sulfur Butterflies.
Other residents are out that I’d rather see with more distance between … as I barge through the tall grass to get a wheel line moved, I nearly step on top a skunk, who takes the surprise good naturedly though the canopy of entwined grass stems might be what keeps it from being able to raise a tail well enough to add even more interest to the afternoon. Then something else moves itself, parting that grass in a long line as it comes towards me. Must be a snake, I think, and then its diamond pattern can be seen through openings in the blades, and the head, and the rattle-ended tail of a fella who’s all business and thoroughly p.o.’d. I tear off. It keeps up, just behind and for longer than I want. A Mojave Rattlesnake would be the first conclusion out here that would be come to, though Wikipedia says, “Although they have a reputation for being aggressive towards people, such behavior is not described in the scientific literature,” meaning, I suppose, that not enough scientists have moved wheel line irrigators.
The afternoon brings 100 degrees, the humidity builds and builds to a swelter. Monsoon is fixing to let loose on us one last blow.