Posted by: atowhee | June 1, 2008

Narrow fellow, faded shade of blue and dualling quail

A narrow Fellow in the Grass

    A NARROW Fellow in the Grass
    Occaisionally rides–
    You may have met Him–did you not
    His notice sudden is–  
    The Grass divides as with a Comb–
    A spotted shaft is seen–
    And then it closes at your feet
    And opens further on–  
    He likes a Boggy Acre
    A Floor too cool for Corn–
    Yet when a Boy, and Barefoot–
    I more than once at noon
    Have passed, I thought, a Whip lash,
    Unbraiding in the Sun
    When stooping to secure it
    It wrinkled, and was gone–  
    Several of Nature’s People
    I know, and they know me–
    I feel for them a transpoRt
    Of cordiality–  
    But never met this Fellow,
    Attended or alone
    Without a tighter breathing
    And Zero at the Bone. 
    Emily Dickinson (1866) first published as The Snake
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    This narrow fellow was on the rocks, not the grass.  But grass is his metier.  This is a gopher snake cruising the garden at Grace’s ranch west of Jacksonville.  He’s a specialist in small mammal consumption.  Though he’s but three feet long now, should he survive he (or she) can aspire to a length of six feet or more.  Though there are no gophers about Grace’s, there are plenty of voles, and ground squireels abound.  You can watch them cavort through the grass and along the less wooded hillsides.

    This particular hunter washeaded toward Grace’s birdfood storage area.  I expect that attracts a few rodentia from nearby brush, and this guy was hping for a meal.  Grace’s Norman also tells me a nearby planter houses a large colony of fence lizards.  A veritable gopher snake smorgasbord.

    BIRDS

    Both Mountain and California Quail were calling, my dual quails.  I still haven’t laid an eye on the Mountain Quail that call from the regrowing burned-over hillsides along the edge of Grace’s ranch.  Maybe some day….  It’s a modern version of the siren’s song, could lead a hopeful birder ot weander miesl over steep terrain, with just that single note sounding somewhere out further along the trail….

    There was a lone male Lazuli Bunting hunting in the dense shade beneath the oaks.  He was alongside a couple Robins and a pair of Brewer’s Blackbirds.  They were all easily seen, but the little Lazuli became shadow-gray, his color almost completely invisible in the lowered light.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    A Killdeer scrambled around the sparse weeds in the horse pasture and pretended to be hurt, obviously the nest was nearby. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     Up in the woods just below the fire scarred zone, a House Wren was singing, darting about.  The bird eyed me with curiosity, perhaps wrenfull ferocity though I felt not endangered or even threatened, just obvious and clumsy.  He’s about five inches long. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    And perhaps the exact living opposite of that gopher snake along the gravel drive, this Turkey Vulture, a creature that seems to only exist in flight, wobbling along an updraft, coasting across a clouded mountain rim, lifting ever higher on a proper wind.

     

     

     

    But sometimes even the Vulture must come to earth, grounded by appetite and opportunity, this tim eit was a roadkill deer carcass near Emigrant Lake some weeks ago.

     

     

     

     

    Location:     Sterling Creek Road
    Observation date:     6/1/08
    Notes:     neither of the quail were seen, of course, a hummingbird zapped through the garden but I couldn’t ID the little streak in flight
    Number of species:     26

    Mountain Quail     1
    California Quail     1
    Killdeer     1
    Mourning Dove     2
    Hairy Woodpecker     1
    Western Wood-Pewee     1
    Western Kingbird     1
    Cassin’s Vireo     1
    Steller’s Jay     2
    Western Scrub-Jay     1
    Common Raven     2
    Tree Swallow     1
    House Wren     1
    American Robin     3
    MacGillivray’s Warbler     1
    Western Tanager     4
    Spotted Towhee     1
    Chipping Sparrow     3
    Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon)     1
    Black-headed Grosbeak     6
    Lazuli Bunting     4
    Brewer’s Blackbird     2
    Brown-headed Cowbird     2
    Bullock’s Oriole     4
    Purple Finch     2
    Lesser Goldfinch     8

    This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org/Klamath-Siskiyou)


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