Wild flowers are blossoming everywhere and with blooms come the bees. I can barely look at a flower without finding a bee crawling greedily over it. They seem frantic in their search for pollen and not one iota interested in me. I am glad to see and hear the bees, even though I know most of these are probably Africanized. I keep my distance as I walk along with the hum of their spring song in my ears.
Brittlebush 3-20-09 by Kathiesbirds
Vesper Sparrow on Mesquite with Creosote bush 3-20-09
I wander slowly down the winding trail past plants I know and some I don’t. So many things are in bloom right now, and the wolf berries are already fruiting! I find one strange plant with tube-like stems and buds emerging like grains of wheat!
Its overall size is about 2 feet high and scraggly. I marvel at the shape and texture of the buds and wonder what it’s called.
These trails are marked and maintained by the HOA for use by residence and others.
From here I can see the new Fire Station with its silver roof blending into the soft gray sky. It’s not the prettiest place in town, but I am glad that they have done the whole building with solar power.
I feel like I am walking down the bunny trail when a little Desert Cottontail comes hopping along. It doesn’t see me at first, but stops dead in its tracks when it does. It pauses on the path and we stare at each other for a few seconds before it hops off into the surrounding scrub. I am about to continue down the trail when three more little bunnies come racing towards me. They spot me even sooner and veer off sharply not knowing that I would never hurt them.
I must have stood here for over a half an hour trying to figure out all the birds I am seeing, but the heat of the day urges me onwards and I finally continue down the path. Suddenly the scrub grows silent and I wonder why. They say the birds are down by ten, and it must be after that time. Did they all simultaneously decide to sleep? I spot a male cardinal fighting with a thrasher in a tree a few paces on. I pause to try to coax it up by “pishing.” As I purse my lips and force the air between them the birds actually dive for cover and then a Cooper’s hawk rises slow and irritated from a nearby tree. Of course! I should know by now. If all the birds become suddenly silent, a hawk is usually lurking somewhere nearby. If I had just looked a little farther down the path I might have seen it sitting on its lookout perch.
I can feel the heat on my back now and I fear I am starting to burn. I quicken my pace as I finish the trail and emerge on the street once again. In the last few paces of the desert wash another thrasher waits atop a saguaro, a Gila woodpecker laughs at me and three mourning doves fly up on whistling wings from beneath the shelter of a creosote bush beside the path I walk on. Though this trail wasn’t as remote as I wanted, still, the sights and sounds of the desert soothed my soul. I feel more peaceful now. I walk home in the heat of a midday sun with a happy feeling of fatigue. It’s a satisfied tiredness. I think it is time for a nap!
In all I saw 23 species of birds today, March 20, 2009. Here is the list:
- Gambel's Quail
- Turkey Vulture
- Cooper's hawk
- Costa's Hummingbird
- Mourning dove
- Gilded Flicker
- Gila woodpecker
- Curve-billed thrasher
- Cactus Wren
- Canyon towhee
- Brewer's sparrow
- White-crowned sparrow
- Rufous-winged sparrow
- Northern Cardinal
- Pine siskin
- Lesser Goldfinch
- House finch
- House sparrow
- Vesper sparrow