July 30, 2013

Kingbirds, Western and Cassin’s, are aplenty along most of the wheel lines, which are a favorite perch, the young birds among the spokes quivering their wings when the parents are near, and the air is full of their calls, “Che-bbeeeEEERrr! ChebeEEERr!” Among them today yet another single Yellow-headed Blackbird, this one an alpha male of large size, darkest black, and a head that is not just yellow, but shaded to an orange bright as any oriole’s.

Bewick’s Wrens are lately singing a lot, and widely … who isn’t made happier by the presence of wrens? Our Bewick’s have very individual songs, some sound a bit like the “Happy Wren” (Thryothorus felix) I heard and saw in the Alamos deciduous forests in Sonora. With how global warming is allowing Mexican species to move north, I keep an ear out for the recently arrived “Miserable Wren” (Thryothorus quelastima), whose alarm note is untellable from that of the Addams Family butler, Lurch.

The recolonization of #3 Pasture by a variety of native Sonoran Desert grass species continues apace, the Sand Dropseed especially impressive in its increase and vigor. Several gramas have appeared on their own, too, and bristlegrasses and three-awns, and we think lovegrass too. This is also the pasture with the largest number of widlflowers and forbs. There are pretty pale blue composites, Machaeranthera in bloom (that genus name is probably obsolete now …) and Camphorweed in bud, and deep magenta Spiderlings. An alfalfa plant has also appeared, and is even in flower! Where’d that come from?