Sunday, October 28, 2012

More corvine craziness

Heading home along the lake, I espied yet another episode of bizarre crow behavior.  A large specimen was perched in the croft of a flowering crab tree, with something clenched tightly in its claws.  It looked like a lollipop stick.  The bird pecked rapidly and madly at the end of the stick, where there was a diminishing wad of something bright orange.  Evidently it had snatched up a Halloween treat from the ground, probably dropped by some child, and was intent on getting at...the gooey Tootsie Roll center?  A chewy reward at the heart of a Blow Pop?  This is more predictive of the approaching winter's severity than any woolly caterpillar, I fear.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The stoned crows

Whilst walking back from the supermarket, I heard the sound of many crows cawing.  As I drew closer to the source of the sound, I found about four dozen, maybe more, glossy black birds swarmed and perched around a particular tree.  They covered the telephone lines, and weighed down nearby shrubs.  The tree they were focused on has sort of dogwood-looking leaves, and is hung with many fruits which resemble miniature red soccer balls.  Several of the crows had these fruits clenched in their claws, and were tearing at them, gobbling them up.  More crows were swooping in and pulling the fruits off the tree.  The whole murder of them would be relatively quiet, then unpredictably break out in what became unison cawing.  I stood a ways away, transfixed by this behavior. Maybe I was imagining this, but it seemed they grew more raucous and crazy-sounding the longer they kept grabbing the fruits and eating them; perhaps a drunken corvine happy hour?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Who knows where it goes?

Time has flown by; we now face the true end of summer and the start of the wet season, predicted tomorrow.  It's chilly in the morning, and stays dim until late afternoon.  A bright spot this noontime was the vision of a young hummingbird - I say "young", as it looked small and its plumage seemed undefined, maybe that means it was female - perching on a patch of St. John's Wort, which was dew-decked from a sprinkler system, as we've had no rain - in a kind of ecstasy, drinking the water drops with its long tongue and rolling its tiny body in them, a combination bath and beverage session; I stood stock still and watched for about five minutes, then tried to sneak away without frightening the little creature.
I've never seen anything quite like it, except for the hummingbirds which dive-bombed us from their wild honeysuckle patch while we hiked past them on the PCT.  Or the nesting grouse that chased us down a trail; these small sparks of life are fierce.