Posted by: atowhee | December 1, 2020

DECEMBER COMES IN LIKE A FLOCK OF FINCHES

Our calendar claims it is a new month. Outside today is much like yesterday. A few of the more stubborn trees still cling to their colored leaves. The same flock of siskins is about. They cover feeders and spread across the seed I spread across the ground. When disturbed while dining they will fly into nearby bare treetops, into rose and laurel thickets, some even swirl up into the air and pretend to leave the vicinity. I am sure they will be back. The juncos are less numerous are far less imperious. When frightened they vanish into low thickets of rose, blackberry, ceanothus, boxwood. Not for their sparrow personality the prominent perch atop the world. In their breeding range siskins are a comfortable bird of the canopy–up there with ravens and Hermit Warblers and Band-tailed Pigeons. To be sixty feet up is just another ho-hum perch for these tiny finches. It would be rare to see a junco that high and it would start me staring if the junco’s cousin, a Spotted Towhee, were that far off the ground. I know they can actually fly because I have seen a towhee as much as 25 feet off the ground. Along with Wrentit and California Quail and other towhees, I think of our Spotteds as ground dwellers, only slightly more aerial than the dog or me.

Yesterday when the sun pretended to warm the earth I saw small circling groups of a pale flying insect. I have not seen a living spider in weeks. The only other arthropods I seen these days are the house flies and ants that come inside the house. I have begun to hear chorus frogs when I am in the right habitat, and I know they sometimes sing in daytime when it is as cold as 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Here is the only Brown Creeper I have seen in our garden so far:

Flickers–male with moustache, female on the roof:

Those final pictures show out pied scrub-jay. It is one of the quartet that is always around–peanut ready, as it were. His junco-like tail is unique among our locals.

Life around Fairview Wetlands–those birds in the bare trees are some of a flicker flock.


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