Thursday, May 29, 2008

The wildflowers are still glorious - if you know what kind this one is, let us know as we haven't figured it out yet.

We got some lovely rain this past weekend – we measured 1.49 inches by Monday night when we left and our neighbor measured an additional .94 the next day! Normally we don’t get rain this late in the season, so this was very welcome, although may only be good for encouraging the tarweed to grow more. Lots of weeding in the upper garden got done, how well the weeds do grow! I was amazed at the huge heaps that my husband had gathered at the end of his weeding bouts.

In spite of the rain, we got out for some nature walks and spent some good time watching a wood duck family on the river. This mama had five ducklings (we think it may be the same family that used to have seven ducklings a couple of weeks ago, yikes.) A friend observed that it is just impossible to be angry or upset when watching ducklings, and that is so true. Good thing we’re vegetarians, or we might feel hungry though, poor things have so many things that want to eat them, the mama duck must be anxious at all times. This is a shot of the Chowchilla River, near our favorite spot by an Oregon Ash tree and where we have been seeing the wood ducklings. This shot is looking upstream.

We also spent some time getting distracted by a hole in an oak tree wherein, based on the amount of peeping noises emanating from it, were lodged a brood of acorn woodpecker babies. We sat on a log some distance away and saw an adult come to the tree, but we believe we were still too close for comfort so no one entered the hole. We gave up on watching and waiting because we didn’t want to disturb anybody to the point of not being able to visit their nest.

In other bird news, the ash-throated flycatchers have returned and are very busy catching things. Hopefully whatever grasshoppers may be around. We also saw a killdeer just off the road on our way out of the ranch as we were heading back to the Bay Area. This is the first killdeer we’ve seen around here, so it was exciting to be able to add a new name to our ranch list!
Killdeer photograph in the public domain US Fish and Wildlife Service.

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