Saturday, July 30, 2011

Birds, Butterflies and Blueberries

All those California Quail that hung around here last winter getting a handout seem to have paired up and produced more little mouths to feed. We have at least two and probably many more quail families... mostly in the driveway. They seem to love to dust bathe and peck at who-knows-what in the gravel. I gave Johnny and grandson Ian, when he visited, the job of creating a sign to put at the head of our driveway to make sure visitors drive slowly and watch for the wee birds. I think it has helped. At least, I haven't seen any squished quail.

These little guys are about twice as big as when I first saw them. But they are also fewer. The original fourteen fluff balls in one group and eleven in another are now, apparently, nine and six, all feathered.

A pair of Eurasian-collared Doves, those invaders from across the Atlantic that are increasing rapidly and have reached the west coast... and our farm, have taken up residence in the barnyard and seem very tame. A pair of Mourning Doves hang around, too, but are not nearly so fearless. Yesterday, only one EC Dove appeared in front of the barn for the daily grain handout... and it was followed, literally, all over the lawn, by one Mourning Dove... an odd couple indeed. Note the size difference. The Eurasian Collared Dove has a black collar. The trailing Mourning Dove has a longer, pointed tail and black spots on the wings.

Today a pair of EC Doves came without the Mourning Dove. Maybe one of these days we'll have baby doves, of one kind or another... or both, joining the throng in front of the barn each morning.

Besides birds, we have butterflies. This one landed on a daylily today while I was mowing, giving me an excuse to stop and grab the camera.

I had another mowing break that was not planned. My mower grabbed the netting I have over a blueberry plant to keep birds and deer away. Alas, the blueberries came flying off with the netting. Other than losing nearly all its blueberries, ripe and otherwise, the plant survived without much damage. In the spirit of making lemonade out of a lemon, I ate all the ripe blueberries that had been ripped off. Delicious. I don't suppose the unripe ones will ripen off the bush, but I brought them into the house just in case they do.

Maybe I should have Johnny make a sign to put in the blueberry patch: Caution! Netting on Blueberry Plants!

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