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Monday, February 27, 2017

Did the mountain in spite of myself

I woke up feeling puny. The weather was cool and windy, but not to be cheated, I climbed the mountain. Even carried the Canon. Was not worth the considerable effort. Might be a long time before I do that again. Maybe if Brian goes up and assures me there are lifers up there for me, then I guess I would do it. I took some photos just so my burdensome camera wouldn't go up the mountain for naught. First is a big oak tree growing in a gully up on top.

And here's some leaves from some smaller thickets of oaks. I think oaks hybridize so much that they're a nightmare to ID. If I was to guess, I'd say the big tree above is a Gray or Mexican Blue Oak hybrid, and the thickets might be Emory Oaks. All expertise welcome.

Soaring above the mountain top was this Peregrine Falcon.

It's not unusual this time of year to see a Greater Roadrunner running around with a lizard in its beak, hoping to attract a mate. But this roadrunner seems a bit embarrassed about the size of his "lizard," and just skulks inside a tree, perhaps hoping a female will take pity on him.

Flowers from the mountain, but I forgot what species.The purple flower was really teensy.

I was so intent on photographing this metalmark (Apodemia duryi) that I didn't even see the flowers. Wish I had noticed them. I might have been able to ID them.

Here's a picture of my husband from his fishing trip Feb 16-19 at Black Gap WMA.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Lucifer Hummingbirds are back

Around noon today I had a sprinkler going when I heard a hummingbird. Got all excited thinking it was a record early Lucifer. Then when, through binoculars, I located it preening deep inside some bushes, I didn't see a curve to the bill and saw lots of rufous on what I took to be the wing or tail. Before I could really study it (as in still and dry), it flew way up to the top of a distant tree. Nevertheless, I figured any picture I could get would be better than none so I shot away. And as fast as it arrived, it departed. By then, I had dejectedly decided it was a female Rufous.

Then, after downloading the photos, poor as they were, I could tell it was a Lucifer. Got re-excited. I believed it was an early record by two days. But Kelly Bryan, (what would I do without him?) informed me that it isn't an early record. I had observed a male and female on February 23, 2013, and on the 26th he caught the previously-banded male.

At any rate, for me, spring is officially here! I'm almost totally recovered from my flu. Gonna go up the mountain tomorrow, as it's supposed to be another lovely day.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Finally went up the mountain

It was difficult, and I'm on the verge of collapsing into bed now, but wanted to blog while things are fresh in my mind. My sister and I went up with Patricia Manning and a couple of her colleagues. Knowing I would be real slow, and knowing I have my best energy early morning, I went up ahead of them. Timing was off a bit because Patty's group was running late. I sat up there and waited for them for about an hour, then spent about half an hour with them, came back down, and to town. I think I'll be OK after a nap. But it was fun and I'm glad I did it.

It wasn't as windy as I expected. I think the worst of the wind was in the afternoon. (There's a wildfire in Presidio County this evening.) The best flower of the day was a Fringed Puccoon. I probably had seen it before but never knew what it was.

 Most interesting insect of the day was this unknown grasshopper. Wish I had gotten a better photo of it, but I wasn't up to carrying my big Canon. Maybe some kind of dactylotum.

Here's another little flower, probably a nama or something common. Too tired to ID it today.

The Ocotillo are budding out so that means they'll bloom soon, and be done by the time all the Lucifer Hummingbird seeking birders and photographers will be arriving. That means hummers will be plentiful at feeders.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

A nice little rain at CMO

Just one-third inch but enough to make glorious wildflowers and lots of butterflies.

Got to town today and did a little research. I just couldn't believe I would get the flu. I never get it. I've been taking such good care of myself.

My husband's hot sauce recipe calls for 12 tablespoons of Accent (MSG). Then when I googled online to see if MSG could weaken the immune system, bingo!

This popular additive can be found in…well, pretty much everything. It “enhances flavor” to make the cheapest ingredients seem delicious.  MSG can increase the production of histamines (an allergic/immune response) and also increases inflammation. Not everyone is allergic to MSG, but on varying levels, most people are sensitive to it. There’s a direct link between histamine production, inflammation, and a weakened immune system.

Gotta stay vigilant. The day before I ate that hot sauce I was feeling super wonderful. Couldn't wait to climb the mountain. And I'll never know for sure that the hot sauce was the culprit, but I know for sure it was loaded with MSG. And MSG weakens the immune system.

Just hoping now that I'll be better in a day or so. With no pneumonia. Spring is calling to me!


My husband returned from his fishing jaunt and said he didn't put Accent in his last batch of salsa. So I'll just assume I came down with the flu for no reason.

Today I felt  almost normal after taking some aspirin for a headache, but by 6 PM all symptoms had returned. Hopefully, tomorrow I'll be good all the way through. Today is day 5 and flu is supposed to last 5-7 days. Probably won't climb the mountain this week though. Bummer.

Still sickly

Guess I've got a mild case of flu. Maybe not bad because I get flu shots, but not well enough to tackle the mountain for sure. Determined to do it Wednesday and Thursday though. On Thursday a group from the West Texas Native Seed initiative is coming to scout out the mountain and I'd like to be well enough to join them.

Yesterday I forced myself to water the oasis. It set me back, but needed to be done. I felt I had a little discretionary water so lavished a bit on this patch of wildflowers (Verbena & Havard Penstemmon).


Friday, February 17, 2017

A few puny days

I had to cancel my climb up the mountain yesterday morning due to what I believed was an MSG headache. It's been a couple years since I had one, as I'm very careful what I eat. However, my husband buys Accent spice (MSG), as well as various processed foods containing MSG (which I easily avoid eating). Last year he made some homemade hot sauce which is usually too spicy for me, so I don't eat it. A couple of days ago I ran out of my hot sauce and he assured me his wasn't hot, so I tried it. After years of no headaches it's easy to let down my guard. The sauce wasn't too hot, so I ate it, totally without thinking that he may have put Accent in it. I probably observed him doing that at the time but forgot after a year, and he didn't think to mention it. So, I got a headache night before last. Since I didn't eat a lot of the sauce it wasn't a killer headache, but definitely not up to hiking yesterday. Then last night I got feverish and achy, so not sure if an MSG headache ran down my resistance, making me susceptible to a virus, or if there was no MSG in the sauce, and I just got a virus. Hubby's on a fishing trip so I can't ask him. Either way, I took it easy today. Since it was cool and windy I didn't mind too much. Probably won't go up the mountain this trip. For sure will when the weather gets warmer. I puttered around doing some overdue jobs. Here's a female Black Swallowtail.

The Mexican Redbud buds are coming along at the same time they do every year.