Crescent Moon looks like an illustration in a children’s book, distracts me from the dream I’ve just awakened from in which a Screech Owl was in her bare, spare tree-hollow, reaching up, being fed by her mate a Bewick’s Wren. One is a Rancher, one an Environmentalist. Will they be fertile? The offspring from this pairing coming to fledge is the only hope The West may have as a place to be authentically occupied.
Broad-billed Hummingbirds are sipping at the nectar feeders of El Potrero, Cottonwoods are now a glowing green that equals the glitter of the little birds.
A pair of what must be Mexican Mallards are there when I reach Mason Pastures, and around the edges of The Stockpond in the mesquite branches are Ruby-crowned Kinglets, now appearing in greater numbers with the movement of the birds north out of Mexico. The sprouts of Toloache are a few inches high, there near the bank, and out on the Cascabel Road.
At lunchtime–another pair of the Mallards joins the first, each set of birds perfectly matches the other: in both, one of the partners has a bill of lovely olive green with black nostrils and a black hook on the end, the other an orange bill saddled across in black. These look to be ducks very much devoted to their mates, as if they are true male/female sets but since none of them look at all like a male Northern Mallard should at this time of year, I wonder if these bill colors can’t be found along an intergrade between the two forms that formerly were considered separate species. I’ll let the canard illuminati continue their squabble over that, and their endless lumping and splitting of the two mallards, Mexican and Northern. The legs of all of these are bright coral-colored, drawing the eye sharply to them.