Chipping Sparrows, lots of Chipping Sparrows, at The Stockpond, as bright of eye and wing and life as a flock of tropical finches. Gambel’s Quail drift in and out nervously for water, Abert’s Towhees though own it all, arrive, chase each other off, come back, squabble and squeal their notes, bomb back and forth at each other low-profiled and fast like brown-feathered torpedoes.
Javelinas, now with babies, mow and mow the winter pasture, but after all, they must be allowed their pound of greens. I and the cattle are growing impatient, though, for the time when the crop has outgrown this constant porcine pruning and the pastures can also be a bovine buffet.
Still I haven’t found a way to catch a Polka Dot Beetle to have a close look–they know well how to evade a predator, fly off faster if you just stare at them, seem to fold wings and drop to the ground if you make a move to scoop one in the air, then they scramble off quickly in the thatch or scurry along the underside of a leaf and vanish.
Pillbugs are active, I turn up numbers of them in the course of digging out mesquites large and small in front of, behind, and beyond the fence of The Stockpond in anticipation of the return of Purple Martins in a few months. Those charismatic birds need a wide, clear approach and runway as they come to drink, as do the various swallows of summer, swifts, and bats, and if the mesquites are left in place it will be not much time before their crowns have grown across into a wall that would be a menace to the flying creatures’ navigation and swing.
A Gray Flycatcher has been at the water’s edge all day, and is joined after sunset by one Mexican Mallard who comes in for the night.