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Snake in the kitchen

Not much more to say about this one. Everybody else in the house was away somewhere—Abby at the Oregon Country Fair, Sally at Far View Ranch, Nell still in France, Amy visiting Rick and Tweedy. I checked on the web to make sure it was not venomous, and indeed it was a regular ? snake. Then I swept it out with a broom. I have been working on the algebra book, and enjoying the life of one living alone. Nice for a week, not much longer.

Purple Martins

I’ve seen these birds before but have failed to identify them, thinking they were some type of swallow. But the description in Sibley, particularly of the Western female, is conclusive. They make a gurgling chirp as the fly or, as in this case, bicker. I think these are the birds I saw last summer hanging around a saguaro, and that the birds I thought were starlings then were just the males. Nice to have that cleared up.

The Harris’s Hawk was there again today, also a beautiful Pyrrhuloxia.

Finches on Saguaro

The one on the left has a bright red piece of fruit in his mouth. I was noticing flight patterns this morning: one woodpecker flew by close and it seemed he was folding his wings to his body in each downward part of his up-and-down trajectory, whereas doves fly more the way you would think birds fly if you never looked at them: straight path with mechanically flapping wings (or the kid-in-the-playground stiff winged banking bomber glide). It would be interesting to understand the mechanics. Finches, like woodpeckers, have an up-and-down flight, beating their wings on the upward part and gliding down, but they seem to keep their wings open on the glide. Also, if you look closely at the doves they are moving slightly up and down with each wing beat.

The Catclaw Acacias are covered with their beautiful twisty green-red pods.

Harris’s Hawk taking off

Some White-thorn Acacia’s are still bloom in the shadier parts of the wash, but most of the acacias, mesquites, and paloverdes are past it, putting out their pods. The brittlebushes are all looking dead again, preparing for survival of the summer. I heard a Lucy’s Warbler again … don’t think I’ve actually seen one all spring, but I’ve been traveling a lot. The Harris’s Hawk was making his usual complaint, a sharp whining cry, before I got too close and he took off for the next telephone pole.