Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sunday stroll: flowers and birds

A few things are starting to flower. Last week, it was crocuses. This week, it's the teeny little irises planted in with the crocuses:

The irises, the crocuses, and the tulips (which have come up, but which haven't bloomed yet) are all drought-tolerant bulbs that I ordered from High Country Gardens down in New Mexico. (I ogle their catalog a lot, but it's taken me a long time to adjust to the rainfall and the soil here, so I order things rarely and experiment to see what survives. Meanwhile, I've got a non-lawn made of cheat grass.) As far as I know, none of the bulbs are native to this area, though these flowers are doing better than most of the stuff I've planted.

They're the only things flowering yet, unless those brown things on the tips of the Gamble oak branches were flowers. (They may have been. They were dusty, as if they had a brownish pollen on them.) The native shrubs are still working at leafing out, and the prickly pear is looking rather squashed from its burial beneath the snow.

Meanwhile, the birds were making a racket. My son had a bird-sounds book (complete with recordings), and some the birds in it are found locally. We had seen the chickadees, and robins, and we could hear both of them. (We also heard a red-winged blackbird, which surprised me - I thought they liked wetlands. I hope it didn't mistake our sewage lagoon for a wetland. Ewww.) We also pulled out my grownup bird book, and discovered that none of those birds migrates around here. (I knew that chickadees could handle winter - they overwintered in Maine - but I had always thought that robins migrated further south than Colorado. Maybe they change elevation.) So the noise may have been a sign of spring, but the birds themselves probably aren't.

I noticed that one of our local birds was missing: the hummingbird. It's probably a good thing that the native plants aren't flowering yet - the hummingbird is the most obvious local pollinator.

There's a storm blowing in, and March still ought to be winter here. I don't think it's going to snow down here, but I'm still glad that the littlest birds aren't around yet.

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