Saturday, November 22, 2014

Autumn Leaves

Temperatures continue to cool as the days get shorter. Highs have been in the 70's, while the overnight lows have dropped into the upper 40's a couple of times already.

Here in the desert we don't get the dramatic seasonal changes that other parts of the country experience. Cacti and palm trees look pretty much the same year-round. Many of our native desert trees are winter deciduous, but they drop their leaves without the brilliant color change of trees like maples, oaks and many others.

In our yard, our fruit trees are one of the few exceptions with fall-colored leaves,

These are from our nectarine tree.

"The autumn leaves drift by my window,
The autumn leaves of red and gold..."

~ "Autumn Leaves", English lyrics by Johnny Mercer

Friday, November 21, 2014

Hawk Watching

We have been seeing a number of hawks recently, on our morning walks.

Normally there is at least one Red-Tailed Hawk perched on a telephone pole or soaring overhead. Last week we stopped to watch two Red-tails following and chasing each other between eucalyptus trees and date palms on the nearby golf course.

Cooper's Hawks make a regular appearance, too. We usually see them either sitting quietly on a telephone pole, or swooping dramatically between houses and trees. They are very agile and almost acrobatic at times. They often buzz through our yard, hunting the birds eating at our feeders.

Red-shouldered Hawks are some of the more easily noticed on our walks. We hear them calling from the tops of the tall eucalyptus trees nearby, or vocalizing as they soar high overhead.

One Red-shouldered has been keeping an eye on our mesquite trees, either hanging out on the wall or perched on the telephone lines. Probably hoping to nab a Mourning Dove or lizard for a meal.

For more about hawks and other native birds in your area:

This excellent web resource is run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and includes photos, recordings, range maps, life histories, conservation news, hints for improving your backyard habitat, and LOTS more.