Daily Archives: November 14, 2006

BIRDING HEAVEN!!! …and a day of “school”

I looked out the window, and saw a loggerheaded shrike!  I’ve never seen one close to any houses — only out in the scrub.  So, Ethan, Wes & I went outside to see him more closely, and we see TWO male Costa’s hummingbirds, which I’ve never ID’ed before.  The Costa’s were literally two feet away from us, completely not scared.  They’d rest on our little ironwood tree in the front yard, then go perch on the next-door-neighbor’s ocotillo.  Then, they’d swoop in to sip from our two chuparosa bushes, which are in full bloom.  Oh my goodness.  The boys are out there now, still looking at the Costa’s.  Also, there are a pair of rock wrens outside, and a northern mockingbird.  ~sigh~  This makes me ridiculously happy.  I want to take pics, but the batteries on my camera need recharging.  Drat!

Edited to add…  When we saw the loggerheaded shrike, I said, “Wow.  I’ve never heard a shrike sing before.  He sounds an awful lot like a verdin.”  Well, when we went out to the front yard, we saw the voice-throwing verdin.  I got some regular AA batts, and used them up (plus another set, too), shooting pics.

Here’s the Costa’s, sipping from a chuparosa bush:
Male Costa's Hummingbird, sipping chuparosa blooms

In real life, the purple on his head & gorget was just amazing, even in the cloudy morning.  Here he is, on a pole that’s holding up our ironwood tree:
Male Costa's Hummer

Here he is again, looking the other way:
Male Costa's Hummer

I couldn’t get a great pic of the verdin.  My camera kept focusing on the leaves in front of him.  I must get out my manual and figure out how to manually focus.  Here’s the verdin:
Verdin (female?)

The boys normally aren’t all that interested in birding, but when there’s a lot of birds, and they’re up close, and they’re strikingly beautiful… well, their interest was piqued.  They stayed outside w/ me a long time. 

Here is Grant, “camoflaged.”  The pic is a little out of focus, but his expression is a hoot:

And Audrey, who happily chewed rocks and chuparosa while mama snapped pics.  (Chuparosa is edible, by the way — you can add the blooms to salad;  they taste like cucumber.)
Audrey chomps some chuparosa

So, our day was spent

  • recovering from being sick
  • birding
  • watching the 1958 Ingrid Bergman movie “The Inn of the Sixth Happiness,” comparing it to the biography of the life of Gladys Aylward that we just read.
  • having tradesmen in and out of our home all day, doing one-year customer service issues on our new home.
  • from 10-11:00 a.m., my stepdad came over in our fourth weekly installment of “music class.”  He is a semi-retired public school music teacher, and probably the staunchest supporter of me homeschooling.  I keep meaning to blog about their music class, but keep forgetting. 

IOW, not a whole lot of real school.  But, a very good day nonetheless.  (Now, Martin, the only one so far who hasn’t been sick, is home in bed w/ a 101* fever.  😦 ) 

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