The Big Yard: Birdwatching in a Time of Quarantine
Or: The Evolution of a Pajama Lister
Day 502 of the Pandemic (August 2, 2021)
The grape harvest is a bust at just three clusters of purple globes. No sun-dried raisins this year. But I pick buckets of peaches from a sagging tree and fat Roma’s from the vines. Sun-dry or sauce? Probably both...as I indulge myself and take them warm to the tongue...
The long tongues of nectar-feeding bats have begun draining the feeders, both species—Leptos and Choeros—swirling around my head in the darkness on soft fluttering wings. And the fall warbler migration is underway. Black-throated grays and Wilson’s examine the apple leaves for caterpillars while warbling vireos dance in the chokecherry tree. No one comes to the fountain for water.
And so it begins. Quiet mornings when I never know what to expect in the yard. Like the weather. This year’s monsoon has already filled the gauges to levels greater than all of last year.
And the mosquitoes—female mosquitoes!—relish my precious B+. My DNA spreads like a virus across the neighborhood, carried in the swollen abdomens of insects, nourishing eggs and larvae, strengthening the flying masses of the next generation. This time of year, the woods glow in blacklight with my genetic fingerprints.
But the best part, despite the mosquitoes, are the snakes. Including my favorite mountain kingsnakes and ring-necked snakes, which grace me with their presence while I walk the old mule road to the Divide.
Thanks for your indulgence…more sweetness to come…