April 2, 2013

The Lucy’s Warblers and Bell’s Vireos are still way too thin in the mesquite branches, but a few were singing this morning, lightening the heart. Those mesquite they love are now barely sprouted out, but soon the air above the lanes of the pastures will be suffused in a pale green light, when the sun slants through the half-unfurled and still tiny leaflets there is then a holy and shimmering space, one lit by old stained glass windows.

In the uppermost grazing pasture, a plant native to all the sweep of our Great Southwest from Chihuahua and Sonora and Baja, north to the Trans Pecos and across to the Mojave–Desert Evening Primrose (Oenothera primiveris)–have a flower or two above their beautifully scalloped leaves spotted with deep purple. Another native though considerably more weedy, Horse Nettle (Silver-leaf Nightshade) is germinating, the plants still tiny. They won’t stay that way long.

For the last couple of weeks the swallows have been appearing sporadically, in numbers barely increasing, but suddenly today the air was alive with Rough-wingeds over the southmost pasture we call “#1”. In that same lush and deep winter grass of barley, oats, wheat and rye, a visitor, Katy, today caught a glimpse of one of the mystery wrens that pop up and give a tantalizing seconds-long view and then drop into the dense blades. This time one of the pretty little birds stayed for a moment in the open at the edge, only about ten feet away from Katy, and she saw without binoculars that its upper parts were spotted with white. I walked through the area widely late in the afternoon, but my footfalls didn’t make a single wren rise, flit, drop out of sight–did they all leave for the north suddenly?