Friday, June 26, 2009

Teenager Hair-Dos

We have two small lanterns under the front porch that the house finches have adopted the last several years as nesting spots. The other night, while eating dinner and simultanteously doing some bird watching, this perfect photo op:

There are three babies in this tiny lantern (yes, it's in the shape of an open owl's mouth.) We think this is the second brood in this lantern for the year; the other lantern just has the second batch started. Hmm, maybe it's the third. At any rate, we are certain that there will be no shortage of house finches around here anytime soon.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Weeding Could Be Dangerous

As I'm sure has been noticed before, the task of weeding is never over, especially in a garden that is more wild than not. The other day, I set myself to the task of a bout of weeding, attacking a particular rose bed where Dino has planted all the miniature roses. He's also seeded a good number of California poppies, which were completely spent and needed cleaning up. One wouldn't think that weeding would occasion excitement, but I was startled while picking up a pile of weeds to put in the wheelbarrow by a wiggling scurry of Something across my foot. Since I could tell it wasn't a rattlesnake, the only thing that might be found around that area to worry about, I wasn't scared, but in true girly-girl style, I shrieked anyway because I wasn't expecting it. Dino said later that he thought the scream was a coyote in the spring area making a weird noise - I'm not sure if I should feel insulted or complimented by the comparison. My curiosity about what sort of Something made the dash across my foot was answered some time later by finding a Gilbert's Skink under another pile of detritus. These critters are about 5 inches long, excluding the tail, and are relatively heavy-bodied which explains why I really felt it. The breeding adults have that reddish color to the head - so I guess this one fits into that category. I certainly hope I didn't disturb a nest but the reptile book says they lay eggs in midsummer, which I take to mean in July or thereabouts.

Gilbert's Skink - Eumeces gilberti

Monday, June 8, 2009

Activities of the Ravens

In case anyone was wondering where the ravens get to when they are not visiting our uphill neighbors, they come down to our place to snarfle the corn intended for turkeys. Evidently, this year's brood are still still not "weaned" from being fed by Mom and Dad, as we observed several delightful moments of gullet-stuffing where the parent had to stand on tippy-toes to reach the eager beaks.

Dino took this shot; he's undoubtedly appalled that it's being posted as he's not much for the abstract blurred look, but I think it's a lively interpretation of the scene.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Wild Turkeys

As we were reluctantly preparing to leave on Sunday to return to our workaday world, we stopped to watch this youngster (with a buddy not pictured) finding the cracked corn Dino put out:

Monday, June 1, 2009

An Odd Find

All in all, an exciting weekend on the nature watching front.

On our walkabout yesterday, we found an abandoned egg. From the size of it, it has to be turkey. Must have been a dud; it was just lying to one side of the road, intact. No other turkey sign around.

We spotted bird species #81 yesterday! A beautiful Violet-green Swallow, which landed on the fence enclosing our front garden area and stayed there long enough for both of us to take a good long gander with the binoculars. They are a beautiful bird! What a treat that was.

It is fence lizard mating season, evidently, if activities on our front porch (!) are any indication. And damselflies seem to be liking each other right around this time of year. These are Vivid Dancers (the male is the blue one).
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