Wednesday February 27 2008
It seemed to officially start yesterday.
The starlings arrived to inspect their usual nesting spot on the front porch, behind the light fixture by the door.
The killdeer and nighthawks have arrived and are busy zipping around and calling out to each other. The nighthawk doesn't build a nest, just lays egg on (preferably) sand, or a tree stump, or old robin nests. The killdeer lay eggs on the ground in the open, on soft ground offering camouflaged stones. We had a killdeer nest near the finish of last May's ride, and we changed the finish line to leave the bird alone. But this year, good luck to any killdeer or nighthawk trying to maintain eggs or babies anywhere within a mile of Girlie the cowdog. She chases everything.
Two Ravens were hanging out together in our tallest tree this morning - could one have been Hoss?
Some owl - must be a long-eared owl - has taken up a post in a tree right on the creek out the back door, and hoots incessantly all night for a mate.
New green grass is just starting to poke out of the ground, giving the horses a busy challenge of trying to nibble the tiny blades for some fresh greens.
Then of course the Raven is ready for spring, and was out visiting with Diego today, hopping on his back for a quick ride. (Diego was quite excited about it.) You can just see the new spring sheen on the Raven's velour coat if you look very closely.
Meanwhile, I rode the 4-wheeler 2 miles up the canyon to check the far gate, to make sure I could turn the horses out. Lard-butt Austin had to follow me, as did Girlie, and they ran enthusiastically all the way up the canyon after me. I slowed down for Austin, who I thought might have a heart attack since he's done nothing but lay around for 5 weeks, but he insisted on running the whole way - and back.
Far up the canyon, I found in the soft sand 2 different cat scratches where they buried their poo! Alas, it was just bobcats (small buried piles, small cat tracks) and not a cougar. I had to then return up the canyon with my camera to get a picture of the cat scratches. In the picture you can see a little cat track at the bottom right. All 3 dogs followed me this time. They were definitely slower this time around, and tongues were almost dragging the ground.
And speaking of cougars, I did get a belated report of a likely cougar kill - up our canyon! - in late December. I wonder if that was the night Austin was scratching at the front door to come in in the middle of the night - he never does that at night. Three nights ago I dreamed an old decrepit cougar walked into the yard and I had to go out and touch it. I think I did touch it just before the dream ended. And late last night, all three dogs were going absolutely bonkers on the porch, barking, yipping, howling (and normally Quincy never joins in). It was so frantic I stepped outside, but couldn't see anything. Our dogs were yipping and panting so loud I couldn't hear anything over them, but I suspect it was a pack of coyotes in the yard. But... you never know. : )
And now, the dogs are absolutely passed out in the warm spring sunshine. A quick 4 to 8 mile dog run in one day - nothing like working the extra pounds off all at once.