Western and Mountain Blues

The power of water in the desert! We put in a ground bath that is fed by a small, high birdbath called a Misty. The slow drip, drip of the water attracts types of birds unlikely to come to a feeder. Our rewards have been mixed flocks of bluebirds (both Western and Mountain), and Cedar Waxwings.

west meets mountain blues

We also get our feeder birds in the bath; lots of Pine Siskins, Dark-eyed Juncos (Oregon and Grey-headed, with a stray Slate-colored now and then), our resident Canyon Towhees, and a pair of Eurasian Collared Doves. A small flock of Scaled Quail ran through our yard , but that seems to have been a one-time event, darn it! We also have a flock of Pinyon Jays in the area, and it seems to have been a good year for them due to the bumper crop of Pinon nuts. The identification of this little bird stymied me for a bit, I am ashamed to say, because it was a rather common Yellow-rumped Warbler. She had such a pretty blush of apricot that I was sure she was something much more exotic!

yellow rumped female

New Mexico is known for its lovely sunrises, but since the Sandia mountains are east of us, these are often blocked. However, we do get some lovely sunsets! I took this during the same time frame as the other shots.



A Change of Pace

I have random trip to share, to Philadelphia in November, where I spent some time with my 90 year old Grandpop. There was a lot of cooking and cleaning to do, and I took him on a couple of “field trips”, including the grocery store, the dollar store (his favorite!), and out to the Delaware River to feed the “ducks”. I use ducks in quotation marks, because many of them were greedy seagulls, but I don’t begrudge them the stale crackers! The pictures were taken in the Fall.

waiting for the next cracker

It was pretty amazing, to see someone almost blind from macular degeneration and using a walker, yet insisting on climbing a ladder to check the furnace in the basement, unscrewing stripped screws, and digging a hole in the back yard to bury some old grease (I couldn’t get him to just toss it in the garbage!). The thing that most impressed me is his calm acceptance of his disabilities. He understands he needs to use the walker. When I would leave him a moment in the grocery store, he would wait calmly until I returned, even though he couldn’t pick me out of the crowd until I spoke.

Grandpop feeds the ducks

No one is perfect, but we need to do the best with what we have. Here is a man who was always so physically strong, and now he opens an unknown can (because he can’t read the label), eats whatever he finds, and is satisfied with that. He take joy in a friend’s call or someone taking the time to drop off a home cooked meal. My Grandpop hasn’t always been the most perfect person in the world, but when you love someone, you love them despite what you know about them. And those are some important lessons to take away.