Thursday, September 6, 2007

outdoorsy observations

* The squirrels love the makeshift birdbath/drinking receptacle I put in the yard. It's just one of those plastic pans that go under large flowerpots, and I clean it and fill it back up every morning. I got the idea (not that it's anything unusual) from a neighbor's yard. That yard has a few large pools made from things like round litter pans and other types of tubs, and I saw a magpie taking a bath in one of them and just having a grand old time. So I picked up this little pan and made a lot of birds and squirrels happier. There are often ten or twelve little birds from the flock perched on the edges, drinking up. Then the squirrels go over and drink, and wash their faces (really). I feel a little bad that I didn't have a tub of water at my condo in San Jose. I guess I thought since the ducks were in the pond, the birds and squirrels would use it too. Thinking back, I don't ever think I saw a bird or squirrel using the pond. Guess they didn't have the gene that allows them to process dyed and soapy water used in man-made ponds.

* Quail are aggressive. The quail flock that comes by the yard three times daily (morning, noon, and night, like clockwork) has grown in number (and in the size of the little ones). They run around chasing each other and chasing the small non-quail birds. The quail are not as easily spooked by noise (or wind) like the small birds, probably because they're so much bigger. But when the quail decide to fly away, en masse, it's quite a sight. It's not as...graceful? as when the flock of small birds all decide to run off into the trees. The quail leave the yard in a purposeful sort of way, as if they're off to conquer the next feeder on the block.