June 5th, 2009


Ornithology Post

Kitty and I have been enjoying the lovely Spring evenings out on the patio. Every free moment I have where I can relax is usually done outside, watching the wildlife activity up on the mesa. I've had some nice birdwatching encounters over the past few weeks.

Last night we noticed a couple of finches gorging themselves at the bird feeder. They then flew off to the "Mesa-proof fence" where there were 3 other finches perching. The 2 finches began shoving food down the throats of the other 3. Ah! Mama, daddy, and fledglings! The youngins looked so cute through binos with their downy heads.

The hummingbirds have been buzzing the yard for a few weeks. I suppose I should put up the feeder this weekend.

There have been a pair of barn swallows hanging out in the yard. I have never noticed them before. They must have set up a nest nearby. They are such fast fliers that it's a treat to have them actually land and sing a song in the yard before continuing their insect eating.

Squawky the Gambels Quail is back again this year. It looks like he brought friends this year. This is driving Kitty up the wall since he starts squawking at 5 in the morning. I can sleep through it, but she can't. I have noticed a shift over the past few years which is said to be common throughout the region. The scaled quail are on a decline. I remember days of 20-30 of them around the bird feeder in Winter. That hasn't been the case lately. Also, my garden wasn't attacked like it usually has been. While the scaled numbers are down I have noticed an increase in the Gambels. While we were having dinner at scritchwuff's place the other day a Gambels flew into his yard. Here I had only seen one or 2 in the past 9 years and now I'm seeing them more and more.

For the 3rd year in a row we have had an oriole pay us a visit. I'm pretty sure he was just a migrant heading north, but it was such a pleasure to see a bright orange bird hopping around our tree looking for bugs. In a few minutes he was gone. I think Kitty is starting to pick up on the different calls. She sees me freeze and start scanning the area when there is an unusual bird call. I know the regular performers. It's the guest stars that I'm interested in!

Hmmmm. I need a birdwatching icon.