I’m working from the porch today.
Well, in theory I’m working but the black-headed grosbeaks and Bewick’s wrens are having such a boisterous sing-off I can’t think. Oblivious, white-crowned sparrows splash in the bird bath, scrub jays drink at the pond, and every winged creature vies for a turn at the feeder. Pecking beneath it are California towhees, thrashers, and quail. Beyond the feeder, turkey vultures soar over the canyon. A raven gurgles from behind the house. Titmice and house finches grab sunflower seeds and fly to their nests. And here comes a roadrunner, strolling up from the canyon for a sip at the pond. I don’t usually see them until later in the year when all the water has dried up below. The dusky-throated flycatcher announces his raspy presence and a western tanager flashes like feathered fire.
The sun is almost overhead and as the birds begin to settle into their afternoon naps I hear the falling ping-pong ball song of wrentits across the canyon. An Anna’s hummingbird buzzes in the sage by the steps and one of the red koi breaches in the pond like a bloody, mini-Moby Dick. The scrub jays have moved out and a pair of tanagers take their place. I’ve never seen a female here and hope they’re a breeding pair. They’re timid and a flock of goldfinches (lesser and American) easily displace them from the water’s edge. I can’t see it but from high in the eucalyptus tree comes the chatter of a Bullock’s oriole. A spotted towhee screes from the thick cover of chaparral.
Then, for a moment, there is only a shushing wind. It comes cool, up from the canyon, bringing hints of buckbrush and wild lilac. “Shhh,” it tells the birds. “Go take a nap.” The birds listen. Maybe now I can get some work done. Or take a nap, too…