Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A Couple of Spring Firsts ... And Addendum

It's great to see those first flowers on plants you selected only from a picture and description.

Last week the plant we initially called a pencil plant, but discovered is locally referred to as a ladyslipper from the odd shape of its blooms, finally developed a half dozen blossoms. It's been in the ground for three and a half years now, and I've taken yearly cuttings and spread them along the mini wall where the first one grows, in hopes of a whole wall of them. The blossoms are supposed to attract hummingbirds, but I can't see for the life of me where it might be hiding nectar.

Today while I sat eating supper on the patio I happened to look over at the San Marcos hibiscus. After fencing the branches up vertically to keep them safe from rabbits, I found out that it is meant to be a low spreading bush. So occasionally my eyes wander over that way and I again entertain the question of whether to let it spread and hope the rabbits aren't hungry, or keep it mostly vertical and ensure we actually have a bush. It's first blossom was about half open, a delightful light yellow with deep orange/red accents inside the center.

While I was finishing my chicken, I wondered why I hadn't seen any baby quail yet this spring. It seemed like it was getting late in the season for them. Movement off to my left caught my eye, and I caught a pair of quail running through the yard to my east side. Was I seeing things? Was there more movement?

There was! A single tiny baby, plain light brown blending into their brown rocks, just bigger than a hummingbird, running upright between its parents, keeping up with them as they raced through all the yards surrounding our back yard without ever stopping at the seed block we put out a month ago in the back corner to attract quail.


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That was yesterday. Today when I got home from an errand I checked the back yard near the seed block. This time it was a quail family with 5 babies! Needless to say, the camera wasn't nearby. But I sat and watched them for several minutes. While the parents peckat at the block, the babies pecked at the ground next to it. When sparrows got too close, the babies actually took the lead in chasing them away. The parents saved their energy for cardinals and pigeons

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