Spring is always an interesting time here in the Pacific Northwest. It is so different from North Carolina. Back there, a lot of the trees, bushes, and flowers will have already been in bloom for quite some time. Out here, we are just now getting some of them to bloom and a lot still have not bloomed. Our Catalpa tree just started getting leaf buds this past week. The lilac bush has a few buds on it but none of them are open yet. I think this year that bush is going to have far fewer blossoms than it has in the past because it got burnt by the 115 degree heat we had last summer.
The temperatures fluctuate so much around here in the Spring. One day it will be in the mid-70’s, and the next day it will be in the high 50’s, and then the next day it will go back up to 75. It is hard to know how to dress in the morning because by mid-afternoon you will be peeling off layers. At least the sun is coming out more and more each day, and soon I hope the temps settle down to the nice, warm 70’s or 80’s, at least for a month or so.
On May 7th, I took some pictures and video of the birds in our front yard. We have been seeing California Quail almost every day, pecking around underneath the feeder. We have anywhere from one to three couples come up, sometimes all of them at the same time. I love how there is always one male Quail who is the designated lookout (DL). He usually perches himself somewhere high up and keeps watch over the others while they eat. The DL in the picture above stood on top of a large rock that is near the feeder and kept a watchful eye.
The American Goldfinches seem to be especially beautiful this year. They look like little flying balls of yarn out there. You can’t tell from the pictures or video, but they are much smaller than the other finches and sparrows that we have. The same day that we had the Quail and Goldfinches, we also had a visit from four male Golden Crowned Sparrows. We have never had that many come to visit at one time, the most I have seen before was two. Their golden crowns were very bright so I guess they were cruising the neighborhood feeders, looking to attract mates.
At the tail end of this video below is some footage I took on May 13th of my latest hummingbird visitor. I have been seeing a couple of Rufous Hummingbirds for the past several weeks, off and on. In the video, I have inserted a freeze frame for a couple of seconds so you can check out the rusty underside of the hummingbird. This is what tells me she is a Rufous.
This past Sunday as I was watching the hummingbird feeder, I noticed some very strange behavior from the little female that has been coming around. She would quickly fly back and forth from the feeder to the tree, repeatedly. She didn’t perch or eat anything, she just flew back and forth, back and forth. The next day, I saw another somewhat smaller hummer, with a very small dark spot on the throat, go to the feeder and sip the nectar but it did not perch. I saw it come a couple of times. I think that was the Mama hummer I saw on Sunday showing the baby where to go to get food, and I think the next day it was the baby coming to the feeder. I didn’t see any hummers at all on Tuesday, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t show up. This morning (Wednesday) I saw one twice at the feeder, sitting on it. Not sure if it was the possible baby. And that may be a totally wrong assessment of the behavior, but it would be so nice if it were true.
A SURPRISE PRESENT
A friend of mine back in North Carolina sent me an email a couple of weeks ago and asked me what my favorite color is. I told her “Carolina Blue“, which is a light blue, what we used to call Baby Blue. Most people in North Carolina call this particular color Carolina Blue because that is the color of the University of North Carolina Tar Heels. Anyway, yesterday I received a package from my friend and it was the most beautiful crocheted throw that I have ever seen! Below is a picture of it on the big bed. I do think that the lighter grayish-looking color in the picture is a pretty close match in person to Carolina Blue. I can’t imagine how long it takes to make something like this because I have never done it myself, but I am very envious of those who possess this particular talent. I am very grateful to my friend for such a beautiful gift!
Summer Girl has been enjoying being outside more, and I can’t tell you how much we’ve been enjoying having her out there instead of inside whining at us.
Join me every Wednesday (barring any unforeseen circumstances) for more from the Southerner in the Northwest.