Saturday, July 20, 2013

Hot Winds Blow

A Surprise
New Duck Bed
Lady Mergansers
Robin Grab a Grasshopper!
Osprey Feathers
Sticky Geranium for Sore Feet
Blue Heron Island
Dusty Horses
Morning Pond Report:

Another sunny day, low humidity and the air feels crisp. No wonder forest fires are so precarious this time of year out west. Day by day, little by little, moisture dries up like crackled dirt that was once a mud puddle. A hot wind blows.

Drinking a glass of cool well water, I see something like a clod of dirt on the grass I watered last night. A new gopher hole? It moves, untucking a broad bill from  a wing. It's a mallard hen. The morning sun is just now touching her brown mottled feathers, illuminating the green grass around her. She has an eye stripe and a sweet face.

This is the first time a pond guest has come so close to the house. Maybe the wet grass felt cool to her last night or it seemed like a safe spot to bed down. My daughter told me that water would bring in the birds, but I thought it a redundant offering, being so close to a pond. But perhaps she is right. Now I am thinking of watering as part of birding.

Down on the pond, it even feels warm under the apple tree. My clothes are damp and drying fast, having watered my garden and picked more raspberries. The three Lady Mergansers are floating near an emerging island of aquatic plants. The more I look at their tails, the more I think they look like the back ends of turkey tails. Not much activity, just languid floating like raspberries in lemonade, which sounds good right about now.

Blue Heron is preening still, but within the reeds of his island. I watch his white head bobble around on the end of his neck like a vacuum cleaner hose, sucking out stray feathers. A robin hops from fence post to fence post. Usually the robins flit around with insects in beak. It sounds as if the new symphony in town is of the grasshopper order. Hopefully hoppers go on the pond menu soon, before my garden is discovered.

Almost hidden by the canopy of leaves, I see something flying low. It's an osprey. With wings and tail splayed he flies over the pond slowly as if scoping out a section of fast food joints. He continues on, passing on a pond snack. He seems to land in the trees across the pasture south, but I can't see him even in the binoculars.

In front of me not 25 yards, something is blooming pink. I try to scope them out with the binos, but the flowers are too close. I suppose that means I can actually walk over and look. They are tiny pink stars clustered like the milky-way in the grass. Sticky geranium, if my comparisons are correct. According the the US Forest Service, they have medicinal properties including a cure for sore feet. Interesting.

Seems the horses are curious as to what prompted me from my chair. I rub their foreheads at the fence-line and shoo away a horse-fly or two. Both horses are dusty. We all need a dip in cool waters, relief from this western summer wind.

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