June 10, 2013

I’m buzzed by the summer’s first brown and yellow, large wasp, which I call a¬†“Brown Man”, the Jamaican name for a similar species. They will have to be watched for now every time a covering on the wheel line tractors is lifted: from the ceiling of those covers these wasps love to suspend a nest, and they don’t like it much when the lid is rudely yanked up and banged over on its side when the engine needs to be started. Another smaller, all-yellow wasp lands on an irrigation puddle, and floats on the water’s surface film while taking a drink.

Caribbean Horseweed, as I call it, (Conyza bonariensis, or less flatteringly, Asthmaweed) is coming into bloom; it is not as sought after a graze as is its northern cousin, the Canadian Horseweed (Conyza canadensis) that is also shooting up abundantly but flowers much later atop neck-high stalks. The beautiful deep magenta-maroon tiny carnations of Scarlet Spiderling (Boerhavia coccinea) hover in a mist of the thinnest of stems over bare patches of ground in #3 Pasture. The handsome Malvella (Malvella lepidota), which has the not so handsome common name of Scurfy Mallow, holds hibiscus-like, chaste white cups of flowers on plants sprawling through the low places at the top end of #2 Pasture. It deserves being brought into Arizona gardens, should be in hanging baskets in the Tucson nurseries.

The temperature¬†the narrowest slice off 107 degrees … cowbirds, buntings that for some reason are still here, various flycatchers, warblers, all crowd into the shade of the wheel line wheel rims, sitting out the heat of the day perched on the upper spokes. At The Stockpond, Martins that appear black in the midday glare swing in to skim the green water where it’s open among the drifts of red algae, all this a pattern of colors of jewels and precious stone … jet … peridot … carnelian. Now the female hummers come in numbers to point their bills into that open water, driven so by thirst I guess as to risk the usual male divebombing. Black-throated Sparrows, rarely seen in this spot, also come to the water’s edge, and Cardinals too, and many Yellow Warblers, one of which has a crown and face with a glow of orange.