Return of the Cedar Waxwings

They're back!

It's been two years since they last turned the trees in front of our home into their temporary mess hall. They have a way of dropping-diving-gliding that's mesmerizingly graceful, and they're a lot more cautious and quick than the rowdy house sparrows that live all around us. More welcome, too.


Backyard Biodiversity

The term backyard biodiversity came up in a conversation recently, and it made me think of all of the life (much of it not welcome, but all the same) that our small raised-bed garden attracts in the heart of this megalopolis: enormous beetle larvae, cabbage moths, earwigs, pillbugs, ladybugs, mantises, cutworms, aphids, squirrels, a nocturnal raccoon now and then, cats, rodents I'd prefer to leave unnamed, crows, hummingbirds, phoebes, an occasional hawk, jays, and a raucous, destructive troupe of house sparrows that mowed down every new seedling I planted before the bird netting went up.

Then there's this little bird in the photo. (Bad photo, I realize, but I wasn't willing to sacrifice my gear in the rain.) This is a Yellow-Rumped Warbler, as far as I can tell. She only visits us during the rain. I've never, ever, seen her on sunny days. The aforementioned gang of delinquent sparrows who live nearby make a shrill racket on a typical day, but disappear entirely when the rain starts falling. I don't know where they go, but I wish they'd stay there.

I also don't know what this little warbler scavenges among the straw in our soaked yard, but it's always a pleasure to see her, the only bird who visits on rainy days like today.



My weeks also have seven days in them, but I have an overabundance of tree photos now, and this seems like a good place to put them.

I hadn't shot any photos of ficus trees for a few years, until just a couple of weeks ago. Then I started, and now it's hard to stop. Once you start seeing something you had previously failed to notice, you really see it. These trees are everywhere in the L.A. area. So, Ficus Week is over, but I'll post some more pictures of these goofy trees as work and baking permit.