Monday, May 12, 2014

What May Brings

The irrigation water is flowing across the ranch. Starting it is always a big chore. And then once it’s on, the tending is constant.  It’s a good feeling knowing the ground is getting wet. It’s been trying to rain but all we’ve gotten is damp.

We've been pummeled by high winds day after day this spring. It blew from the north yesterday, which meant the tumbleweeds that had lodged from the usual southerly winds became unlodged and traveled in the opposite direction. They like to roll into our ditches and cause havoc by clogging the pipes and headgates. Mark and I spent part of yesterday pitching weeds to avert disaster.

On the rare calm evening we like to sit on the terrace and listen to the birds. Their call is constant with all the trees on our place.

I had fun one morning when I stopped to listen to a common starling in a willow along the drive. A sound I’ve heard many, many times, but finally took the time to look up and locate the singer. What I thought was coming from a tree full of birds was coming from a single individual. What a fuss he made! He was ruffling his wings, pumping his breast, croaking like a frog, grunting like a puppy, “screeing” like a hawk, and in general making a royal fuss. And to think he comes up with that whether any human is around to enjoy it or not.

We keep the binoculars on the kitchen island with the bird book handy. We counted 25 cedar waxwings in one bunch and they’ve hung around for a few days. I hope they stay, but I’m guessing they’re only stopping over. During a stiff wind they were hunkered on the lilac right outside our dining room window. Their little top knots stood straight up if they turned towards us with the wind to their back. What creamy feathers they have - and so dignified with their masked features and unruffled demeanor.

We identified a few yellow-rumped warblers making use of the chokecherry blossoms. They would fly out periodically to catch insects mid-flight. I thought the behavior would help to identify them. Sure enough, when I went to the website, allabout, the text said, “you’ll often see them sally out to catch insects in midair.” Sally? I haven't heard that for awhile. I looked it up - “to rush out suddenly.” I think I’ll sally out to tend the dogs from now on.

just past "the hornet's nest," site of water wars

cedar waxwings in the locust

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