Monday, July 14, 2008

Luckily It Had Cooled Off by the Time We Got There

Unfortunately, yours truly was unable to attend the frolics at Dryad Ranch this past weekend, having other social obligations - talk about divided loyalties! However, one of us (The Dinosaur) was able to make the journey if for no other reason than to provide the sucrose solution as fuel for the aerial war games put on by the hummers. All the other bird feeders were appropriately filled with no hope at all that the offerings would last through the week. The Dinosaur noted that the minimum/maximum indicating thermometer had reached 46 C sometime during the week, but was relieved that he didn't have to sweat through that over the weekend, when it only got to 39.5 C. (Translating: the high was 114.8 F and it had cooled down to 103.1)

In addition, rubber drip tubing was freshly provided for the epicures among the rodent population - apparently the ground squirrels and rabbits find this stuff not only palatable but scrumptious. We have a suspicion that some other critter may be attending the banquet, specifically a pack rat, as there is evidence of nest building using iris and oak leaves. We took steps to discourage additional construction, an activity only one of us thinks may actually work.

A coyote hopped the fence into the upper garden, feasting on the berries left behind from the recent manzanita massacre. The ants were busy the next day removing the evidence said coyote had left behind. Ew, poop-eating ants!

The Cooper's Hawks and a Sharp-Shinned Hawk have obviously been busy killing and eating a goodly number of the other birds at Dryad Ranch, based on feathers left behind and what appears to be a healthy juvenile population of the hawks. We have consistently been seeing the group of Cooper's youngsters on the approach to Upper Spring.

A young alligator lizard snuck around the side of the house and took off, among a springing horde of grasshoppers, as if running for cover from the hopping crew. The little guy measured at most 5 inches, head to tail.

1 comment:

Tom Hurley said...

I was about to ask the Dinosaur what his secret was regarding a successful drip irrigation system. About 20 years ago, I put in an extensive (1,000 feet plus) system only to see it brought to its knees by squirrels. It seems they regarded all the emitters as eternal sources of water. So they bit into them and reduced the system to a leaky mess. I guess we have to use titanium or at least stainless steel in order to keep the system going.

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