I started blogging a couple of years ago as a way of keeping up with what was going on in our yard. I'm not keeping up.
The blog seemed like a good idea. A lazy birder, I seldom wandered out of the yard, but I spent a lot of time wandering around in it. And wondering. I wondered what birds were nesting here and when they were nesting. I wondered if the birds that showed up this year kept to last year's schedule or if they were weeks early or late.
I wondered what butterflies flittered through and if the number of bird species in this Rio Grande Valley yard was actually greater than I knew--if I could just start keeping a list in one findable location, I could answer those questions.
So I bought a relatively simple automatic camera with a built-in zoom lens, found out how to stumble through the mechanics of posting to Blogger--and the Arroyo Colorado River Blog was born.
At first I kept up pretty well, posting at least every week, then every two, then once a month (usually on the last day of the month). Now three months have passed by without a word from me. Three months--that's a whole season of yard happenings. (If posts appear below for late winter and spring migration, it's because I plan to cheat and post-date them if that's possible. I have a couple of drafts that I will finish up and slip into the spots I would have posted them if I had been posting. My last update was actually just before February's Great Backyard Bird Count and it was little more than a photo of a huddled clump of Inca Doves. I had planned posts about January hummers and even a couple of birding trips away from the yard--but was already getting recalcitrant and lazy. Not blogger's block exactly but just resistance to the computer. At night I'd rather sleep or take in the night view from the windows; during the day I'd rather sit out in the yard. )
Looking at photographs from the last three or four months, I can recreate details from my lost blog.
Hordes of Red-winged Blackbirds that crowded feeders and baths all winter and into the spring have come and gone. (Individuals stay, of course, especially in the sorghum fields across the road, but the invading army has retreated -- or rather advanced.)
Kiskadees built their messy nest again in the Ebony tree and are now catching lizards and insects for hungry nestlings.
Eastern Screech-owls decided against last year's nest box beside the sandy driveway and opted instead for an old woodpecker hole in the dead cottonwood. I'm glad our former neighbors left that 15-foot stump between our houses. When the tree (once the tallest in the neighborhood) died, we lost a convenient look-out for Great Horned Owls who who-who-whooed from the branches, but after a busy few years of excavating by Golden-fronted Woodpeckers, the branchless trunk has plenty of cavities for titmice, starlings, wrens and woodpeckers (the latter have thankfully left the eaves of the house alone since they found such a perfect place to construct their condos). I wouldn't have thought the hole in the picture above was large enough for a screech-owl, but the little guy seems satisfied. That disgruntled look (Angry Bird) is probably due to my taking a photo from the bedroom window a few feet away rather than its being unhappy with the nest. The young are not yet fledged but we expect them any day. Clumsy baby Great Horned Owls fledged a couple of months ago from their nest three yards upriver. Their awkward flight and voice has entertained us already.
(The lovely ripening berries in the owl photo are on an Anacua tree that has grown up around the old cottonwood.)
Though we did not host nearly as many species of warblers this spring as we did last year, it was still exciting to see such colorful species as Canada Warblers, Yellow Warblers, Magnolia Warblers, American Redstarts, Swainson's Warblers, Prothonatory Warblers, Ovenbirds, and Worm-eating Warblers, among others. (I'll update my side-bar species list and get it posted soon.)
(A day of watching so many birders crowd around a small water feature is anything but relaxing -- but it is entertaining. And there are days that I like the excitement and social aspect of that kind of birding.)
I like these two shots of Yellow and Prothonatary Warblers. They show that any side of a spring warbler is a good view.
Nothing beats the view of nature we have here on the Arroyo Colorado. When I stepped outside with the dogs this morning, I heard young coyotes and chachalacas across the river and the whistling of Whistling Ducks above me. Perfect sound track for a perfect view.
So that's the news from the Baughman Yard. Lots of details are left out of my account, but at least I'm back to the Riverblog. Life of the yard goes on even if blogging doesn't.