Posts Tagged ‘california’

Oak Titmouse

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I saw the oak titmouse on my morning walk! A pair of them were playing at sunrise as the clouds in the sky turned pink, then yellow, then white. They were hopping about in the bushes that grow through the chain-link fences around Amber Ridge. The call of one of them was distinct — confirmed by listening at the Cornell Online Birding Lab — presumably the male. The other, presumably the female, was quiet.

Songs & Calls of the Oak Titmouse

Later, I saw a white crowned sparrow fly down from the branches of an oak tree and a black Phoebe circling low through the air for insects … I could hear the hummingbirds, already awake, and the mockingbirds. I saw a black crow. This is just an ordinary day here!


Least Bittern

I was so happy to see a female Least Bittern hunting along the edge of Puddingstone Reservoir this morning! I also saw her in flight. Later, I was able to compare, while still in the field, the Least Bittern to a larger Green Heron. Extraordinary! the pictures here are of both male and female least bitterns. They are a bit different …

Yellow Socks

Benicia, CA

“A Scrub Jay Watches a Dancing Girl” by Jane Beal

A scrub jay on the balcony
looked in through the window
as I was dancing:

he cocked his head
when I came forward
and became still more curious
when I spun in place,
dress swirling –

and I watched him
watching me, his movements
matching mine until

the music suddenly stopped
and he flew away.



The Hummingbird Angel

I stood at the glass doors,
looking out at a gray day.

The white Christmas lights
were twinkling on the other side
when a bright hummingbird
suddenly appeared!

He hovered there, in mid-air,
looking in at me in my living-room.

In the space between you and me –
a prayer in the cold,
a dream of blue and gold,
the memory of a song,
a yearning

like a kiss
in a dream –

a lost dream.




A Squirrel, Some Turkey Vultures, and Two Blue Jays

Last week, I was walking in the green-space in between North and South El Macero streets in Davis, California with my little dog, Joyful. We came to a place where I heard an odd chittering, and I looked up:  it was a squirrel, acorn between its two paws, carrying on. High above it were more than twenty turkey-vultures in a tall tree.

One sat on a branch, stretching out its wings in sunlight, so that its whole body became a black silhouette.

At that moment, two blue jays swooped between the vultures and the squirrel — blue wings flashing, raucous voices jabbering. Hard to say if they were playing or fighting, there, mid-air! But they landed in a green tree and continued talking.

Joy and I walked on.

Two Things I Like

One thing I like about California in December: the hummingbirds are still flitting about!


Another thing I like: When I was on a boat, sailing merrily down the River Nile in Uganda earlier this summer, the kingfishers flying straight up in the air and then diving down into the water were absolutely amazing!



Sometimes bird memories just come to me out of the blue … If the winged messengers of heaven come to mind, there is probably a reason. It’s good to ask why.