Monday, July 22, 2013

Birds of Summer Part Deux

We're having a great time watching the birds this summer. The orange halves (see have been a great success.

They can get very acrobatic, like this young goldfinch.

That's orange pulp on the window; they're also very messy eaters.
We have orioles again this summer and I've spotted at least one youngster a few times but haven't got any new pictures yet. Also a black-headed grosbeak and a bronzed cowbird. In the light that first day the cowbird looked completely glossy black, with bright red eyes, like some kind of avian demon. I hope I can get a picture soon; he was at the feeder again this morning.

        Our backyard habitat changed rather dramatically a couple of weeks ago during the first big monsoon of the season. The rain is often preceded by heavy winds, and this time it uprooted our smaller mesquite tree, a favorite spot for the birds as it's near the tube feeder and birdbaths and a favorite of ours as it was just off the patio and visible from the kitchen window (the one that's currently splattered with orange pulp).

It looks like it also took out that nice patch of rosemary by the roots, but I think we may be able to save it. We also thought, or at least hoped that we might be able to save the tree, that if we took off all the branches and left just the trunk, maybe 5 feet tall, that it might resprout. We've seen that happen with other mesquites, and since there were still some roots in the ground, and since for two weeks the leaves stayed as green and healthy as before, it didn't seem impossible. But once Joe got the limbs off and we tried propping it up we realized it wouldn't work, so now it's firewood. The same thing happened to the same tree about 10 years ago, when it was much smaller, and we were able to rescue it, but not this time.
     I was rather heartbroken about losing it, but I think it will be all right. It was a beautiful tree but the slope looks nice without it too, and some of the plants may like having more sun. There are tall oleanders all along the back fence and the neighbor's trees are right up against it on the other side, so the birds still have plenty of places to perch, including the fence itself. Meanwhile, other plants are doing very nicely, like this little cactus.

The non-cactus leaves at the bottom and in the top right corner are volunteer wild poinsettias. I bought one a few years ago at a plant sale and now they just pop up all over. We like them very much even though sometimes we have to pull them out.

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