Roadrunner Run-In

Great shot of a juvenile roadrunner by Bill Hubick of

Hydra and I saw the strangest pair of little birds just off the fire road on our morning hike today.  Very small, but somehow they ran like roadrunners.

“What are those little birds?” I asked, “And why are they doing a roadrunner immitation?”

Then they stopped and looked around and flipped their tails around just like grown-up roadrunners do, but without the crest on the back of the head rising.  Babies!

We watched them for a little bit, but didn’t have a good camera with us. I found this shot online and the photographer, Bill Hubick, was kind enough to give me permission to use it. (Thanks, Bill!)  There are a lot of great bird photos on his site. You should check them out.

Here’s a shot I took a while ago of an adult roadrunner actually running.

And another adult on our back deck.


Go Outside!


First harvest of my Paul Robeson tomatoes.  I love this variety. Paul Robeson was a hero of mine from the first time I heard of him when I was in high school.  He stood up for his beliefs and his career suffered for it. The tomatoes can take the heat just like he did.


Juliet grape tomatoes.  Coy but delicious!


The mint likes its home in the old whiskey barrel.


Luckily, we were outside when the neighbor kid– he was twelve when they moved in next door, so he must be (gasp!) twenty-seven now!–found a snake in his back yard. He said they freak him out, but he doesn’t have the heart to kill anything, so Hydra went over and snagged this beauty with a rake and dropped her into our yard.  Here, she’s beating a hasty retreat into the rosemary.

Found out from Jonathan N. of the Devils Punchbowl that this is a gopher snake. They eat ground squirrels and other small rodents…always welcome in our yard.


A butterfly popped out of the rosemary, startling the guys.  It must have just emerged from its crysalis as its wings were heavy and damp seeming.  I hope she found a good place to hang to dry. We didn’t want to mess with her. I read later online that it takes up to six hours for their wings to harden and dry.

Encounter with a Shape-Shifter



The other day Hydra met up with a young man sitting on one of the cairns Hydra built on “my” mountain.  The man sat very straight in lotus position. He had a cola and a beer with him at 7 a.m.  They spoke and Hydra moved on.

A few days later, Hydra approached the hill and saw the young man sitting there, looking to the east as the sun rose before him.  As Hydra approached, young man rose, spread his wings, and flew away.

Either that, or it was this Golden Eagle.

Sorry the photo is not better, but it was taken from our driveway, at quite a distance.


Hydra near the cairn, to give you some perspective.


The eagle in flight. I didn’t get a shot of it rising because I was distracted by some other pretty little birds.


This finch, for example.


And then these finches. Trying to share.


I realized that the eagle had taken flight only when the ravens took off, complaining.


Hummer in the morning light.  There’s a lot to think about.

Having a Quail of a Time


Baby quail on our back patio with its mom.  Dad hung out on the roof of the garage to keep a look out, and these two poked around for about twenty minutes.  Surprising to see only one young ‘un trailing along behind.  This is the smallest we’ve ever seen in our yard.


Resting for a moment in the sun.  See the little tuft on her/his forehead where the top knot will develop?   This one is learning to scratch the ground.  S/he  accidentally scooted backward a couple of times instead of scratching.



Mom  got a couple of feet away while s/he wasn’t looking.  “Hey, Mom!”

Hydra scattered some seeds around the back of the shed so they don’t have to be quite so exposed.  Sure love seeing these critters.