Leading Edge of Spring

Costa's in creosote shrub

Costa’s in creosote shrub

Costa's at the garden chuparosa

Costa’s at the garden chuparosa

A covey of quail hops the fence and busies themselves under the shrubs and on the lawn, pecking and scratching for insects. The sleek feathers on their round bodies gleam in the afternoon sun and their top knots bob.

The chuparosa shrub in the corner of the garden is resplendent with red trumpet-shaped flowers that taste like cucumbers. The slender blooms hold nectar that is a magnet for hummingbirds from sunup to sundown. Anna’s hummingbirds and the smaller Costa’s hummingbirds fly into the garden like the shiny points on arrows, and hover at the luscious display to sip the sweet nutrients.

A Costa’s roosts on a low branch of creosote bush nearby and watches for invaders to her closely guarded food source. She tolerates the tiny green verdin that browse the chuparosa for insects and perhap nectar as well. But if another hummer approaches she rushes the intruder and away they chase.

Last night I dreamed I was hiking a rocky trail and a large lizard materialized before me, shimmering in hues of green and blue. Our desert lizards may shimmer in certain light, but their colors match their rocky habitat. Lizards and snakes too, will soon venture short distances from their burrows to soak up the early spring warmth.

I walk slowly in the desert, examining the small plants sprouting underfoot. These dabs of green in the landscape’s brown palette won’t wait long to unfurl flowers – colorful tapestries of saffron and blue. The Sonoran spring wildflower show is coming to brighten our landscape soon.

Sitting on a rocky outcrop, I’m looking south across an open expanse of basin and range topography, when five mourning doves come out of nowhere. They careen low overhead on clattering wings. The dog and I both duck and startle in surprise. A moment later the predator appears, a silent Cooper’s hawk soaring on glistening white wings. Ascending on the chilly breeze, he circles once and disappears.

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One response to “Leading Edge of Spring

  1. Just beautiful…..a spring harbinger…and we did have two days of winter…didn’t we?

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