Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Flicker Family

There have always been red-headed flickers up here but last year and this year have seen a population explosion of them. Last year, I kept seeing 5 of them at a time, all grouped together, and this year, I have seen as many as 8 together in a group. I had a drippy faucet last year, and they would hang out around it to get drinks. One would sit on the faucet and bend over to catch drips. Another would be hanging onto the side of the riser, waiting his turn. The rest would be swooping from the nearby tree, trying to chivvy the ones on the faucet to hurry up. Sometimes, one of the tree birds would manage to drive off a faucet bird and then take his place. All this would be done with much screeching and raucous chittering. The faucet was replaced last winter so this year's family do not hang out there now. I see them a lot on the electric pole outside the back door. They will be clinging to the side of it, sitting on the cross beam up above the transformer, and flying about from here to there. Eight of them are a lot nosier then five of them. It is rather like a group of teen age boys, each showing off to the others. And shouting non-stop. If this group is like last year's, I'll be enjoying their antics well into the fall.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Raven Family

For the past weeks, I have had company every morning while I feed the horses. A raven family appears every day and hangs around while I toss hay. The two juveniles are only a bit smaller then the parents in height but more noticeably smaller in fullness and girth. However, it is their behavior that gives them away as being youngsters. They spend most of their time bothering their parents for food with their open mouths right in the parents' faces while they make raucous loud noises. The parents try to ignore them but always end up giving in and stuffing their caws with regurgitated, yummy food. Watching this daily morning performance, I have learned that the inside of young ravens' mouths is bright red, likely making it a better target for the parents. The youngsters are absolutely tireless, and never ever give up. They are capable of finding their own food and can do so, but prefer to badger the parents and get the partially digested food from them. Being ravens, they are smart and fearless. They know the horses are no threat and walk around them at will. They are slightly wary of me, having learned that I am no threat to them but since I am a strange being, they retain some wariness and will move if I get to about 3 feet away from them. One of them is starting to figure out that sitting real near a bucket of senior feed while a horse eats, just may garner a reward of spilled good stuff as the horse dribbles some feed about. This could prove to be an interesting development to watch.

They add enjoyment to my early mornings.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


I have a grand view of the professional firework display put on by the city of Temecula. From my place up in the hills, I can see it just fine. I have enjoyed the display for many years now. Last night, I got to see two displays. There is a new one east of the Temecula display. It was fun to see two going at once. The fireworks are so bright, that even at the distance of 15 miles or so, it is nearly too bright for my eyes. I could never be close and watch them. In a fine display of how sound travels slower then light, the boom of the fireworks arrived after the lights were visible. I could hear the fireworks from the north, over at the Soboba Indian casino, but the high ridge nearby blocked the view.
Without the hassle of being with a crowd or putting up with traffic, I was able to enjoy the displays.