Spadefoots pipe in the murky water of the seasonal dirt stocktank, and at the main pond that Summer Tanager sings away purely in the madrugada as if it is still Spring, one Great Horned Owl hoots as if it is still night. Song Sparrows are also in song, which hasn’t been heard for a while, and the tune and lyrics of the local subspecies gives me to remember that the melodies of the ones that were such a part of the arrival of my childhood’s Springs on the Eastern Seaboard do differ, not by much, but enough to be interesting. They also look different, enough that it took me a while to decide that what I was seeing here was the same species. For those really advanced birders, the many regional forms were outlined in my first field guide’s appendix, but mostly it seemed people in those days were only concerned with the general species–such as “Song Sparrow”–much in the way that nobody in the era would have found a need to know how much the temperature one neighborhood over varied at the moment from their own, as is presented now in all television weather coverage.
A young Western Kingbird has grown to become talented enough to catch a hairstreak butterfly, though has some challenges getting it down. There is a flash of red from its bill lining when it opens wide and tries something else … the first returning, rare early Tree Swallows appear in those pastures, and many Lark Sparrows are back in view. Abert’s Towhees are doing a lot of singing, sounding not quite like robins, not quite like sparrows. White-winged Doves are also cooing as if it is still Spring, another cuckoo I haven’t heard much of calls from the riverside bosque towards the old Lancaster Ranch, and the cuckoo at the pond also declares its territory.
Coulter’s Spiderling (Boerhavia coulteri) is the next herb coming up strongly and abundantly, rushing quickly to blooming stage everywhere there had been nearly bare soil; there are acres of it.
It’s been a couple of weeks since The Stockpond was much visited in the evening by the martins, but tonight they buzz in five or six at a time, with many more circling in holding patterns waiting for an open slot to approach the water.