September 23, 2013

Wind blowing through the night had me closing windows and shivering, the thermometer at 52 … news out of Phoenix just before sunrise announces it has dropped below 70 there (69 degrees! they must be celebrating), and that Flagstaff sits at 32, with a “freeze warning” in effect. Our pearly dawn sounds with the notes of Phoebes, the whispering of Vesper Sparrows, Raven chortles.

I walk through the weedy parts of the pastures, through patches of dried lanterns of Husk Tomatoes, my nose running now not from pollen but from cold, or at least what we can come to think of as that. The big ants scattered over their circles stand there in suspended animation. Mexican General grasshoppers clasp hard to the tips of amaranths, they are so cold and in their own suspended animation that they give no reaction if poinked with a finger. Summer birds, of which there are still a number around, are lying low til the warmth comes in and the temperature is raised almost another forty degrees in midafternoon. House Wrens are out, though, and a pair call from their own amaranth tops.

Sparrows are arriving, still more birds that need time to identify than can’t be spared by a work day. I check the Burroweed in #3 Pasture for things more easily nailed down, and there I find that fluttering jewel, a Great Purple Hairstreak butterfly. Scattered through that pasture now are the blooms of a pretty Composite, its flowers tiny, bright blue. A Western Wood Peewee is on the fence, the same bird of the day before yesterday at The Stockpond, or another one passing on south–way, way south–and another flycatcher relative, the Ash-throated, flashes out of the larger mesquites. That bird should’ve been long gone by now, maybe it is the last?