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Thursday, January 12, 2017

More work-play

Every spring before birders start arriving I restore my dike/arroyo trail. But I got a head start on it today. Of course, if a big rain comes down the arroyo and fills my tanks I'll have to go back and pick the rocks out of it and rake it level again, but it'll be worth it to have the tanks topped off. The pruning won't need to be redone. And pruning needs to be done in January before the deciduous stuff starts leafing out.

The whole circuit is about half-mile long. When birding, especially morning time when the sun is to your back, it's best to walk the dike overlooking the arroyo, then walk back down the arroyo to the oasis. Lots of migrants seem to follow arroyo vegetation on their way north, so it's a popular little trail. Last spring I was so busy making trails up the mountain that I never reworked the arroyo trail, so it was impenetrable in places. It's also a good place to look for our native desert species. Last year Black-tailed Gnatcatchers nested way up the arroyo so I ended up sending a lot of birders that wanted to see that species up the dike trail to see them. Most of  CMO's Virginia's Warbler sightings have been along the dike trail also.

After lunch and a quick nap I pruned the lower dam trail. It didn't get used last year. Only use it when ocotillo are blooming and Lucifers aren't at the feeders. Then a male is defending his territory below the dam and if birders are desperate to see one, I send them, or take them, there.

The mountain trails (Blue Oak Trail on west side, and Saddle Trail on east side) shouldn't need any work. There's also a very short trail in the arroyo alongside the oasis (between the upper dam and middle dam) that I keep maintained and use a lot. It's where my stand of Soapberry trees are. I manicured and pruned it a bit today too. Can't stand to squander this wonderful weather. The last 3 days have been great, considering no lush vegetation or good odes, butterflies, or birds. But I felt good, everything is in working order, and I got a lot done. No leaks and plenty of water. Even got my oasis computer working.* I have my laptop here, but hate to process photos on it.

Several species of flowers are blooming. What used to be called Wright's Verbena is now called Glandularia Wrightii. It's hard enough learning the flowers without all the name changes, but what's not to love about a flower blooming in 12° weather. Of course, it's 80° today.

This Dalea frutescens is blooming too.

Also several species of yellow daisy-type flowers are blooming, but I haven't gotten the yellow ones sorted out yet. Back to town tomorrow. Vacation is over.

* I installed the old mouse and keyboard from my non-working town computer. When I bought a new one for town it came with a new keyboard and mouse. So nice to have the computer working down here. It's my first computer, 13 yrs old. Very slow but OK. My son is going to put a new hard-drive in the broken one (5 yrs old). Since it's fast, I'll bring it down here and retire this old one. But son is so busy, who knows when he'll get around to it. 

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