The new day brings an utterly different world: 25 degrees on the ridges, and in the valley below sparkling chips of frost fall from mesquite tips. The bermudagrass pasture stretching out from the window of the Cowboy Caravan all the way to the huge saguaros on the far hill are white, icy, the Rincon above us dusted with snow. Yet the air warms enough even in the El Potrero bottomland for Sulphur Butterflies to come to life, and an azure grasshopper.
Still-green and fresh leaves of the big Hackberries at The Stockpond start falling off their twigs by mid-morning–they never had a chance to turn color before the coming on of a night that was surely in the teens. On the water swim a brace of fine Mallards, their wariness telling they are true wildlings. A Wilson’s Snipe is there, too, and a large sandpiper with a long bill, also extremely wary: a Long-billed Dowitcher. It takes off with a pained, “Pitty peet peet!”, showing a white slash of rump as it vanishes across the fields.