Sunday, February 15, 2009

Last Weekend's Post Which I Didn't Get to Until Now

We had one of our amazingly wonderful bird walks Sunday. We spent the first couple of hours dodging raindrops from some light showers so I guess our tempting of fate didn't bite us too hard. We were well prepared, and other than a distinct lack of waterproofness in the boot area, we didn't get too damp. We ended up seeing 30 different species of birds, which was a record for us. No, it's not all about counting the numbers but since we log it all onto the ebird website, which is a joint venture by the Cornell department of ornithology and Audubon, we do strive to identify as many species as possible. Plus, it's just fun. There's a little bit of strategy to it, as we have come to know where some of the birds tend to hang out - meadowlarks and blackbird types here, jays there, the ravens could show up anywhere. We saw two Cooper's hawks which we hope are the pair that nested on our place last year.

These flowers are the blooms of one of the shrubs that are common. Dino reminded me that they smell like corpses. So of course, being the literal minded person that I am, I stuck my nose in and took a big whiff. Yes! Quite a lot like rotting flesh.

In past years we have had two group of Indian Warrior wildflowers. At the start of our walk, we found one group of the Indian Warrior wildflowers, I got some photos but the flowers weren't fully in bloom so I'll go back next week and see how they look. The other group was in an area that the wild pigs had rooted up. Grrrr!

Now that there's been some rain, the profusion of fungi continues. I don't know why I am so enthralled this year with them, but I am. I don't like to eat mushrooms much so I'm not interested in picking them, just looking at them. There was one kind I'd never seen before growing in a pile of horse poop (no photos lucky you, but the photographer thought twice about getting on the wet ground around piles of the aforementioned poo) that had these weird spiny hooks growing down from the cap - those mushrooms were perhaps two inches tall at their biggest.
This photo is of one of the more common and attractive fungi, and it's bird-related too! Turkey tails.

On the four legged front, over the weekend we saw deer, a bobcat, ground squirrels, smelled some skunky presence and heard a lovely coyote choir.

And this little guy or gal, only about an inch long:

As we were leaving the ranch last night a thunderstorm started up, and it rained off and on for the entire journey. Probably we could have found chores to do around the ranch that were useful, maybe even important, but spending the day on foot watching that world was joyful.


Tom Hurley said...

Love your photos! I’ll have to look around here for the corpse-y stinking plant. Do you have any idea what it is?

Praying Horse said...

It's one of the common bigger non-manzanita shrubs. I can't really recommend lots of sniff testing though.

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