Tuesday, March 18, 2008

They're Here!

I finally snagged some pics of the grosbeaks.  Today was probably the most bird-diverse day we've ever had.  The grosbeaks mingled with juncos, varied thrushes, house finches, chickadees, robins, stellar jays, scrub jays and our lone nuthatch.  All at once.  Unfortunately it was raining when they all came so I could only sneak out once during a dry spell when the grosbeaks had chased the juncos out of the feeder.  By looking at our feeder it appears that we have only a slightly heavy sunflower seed mix, but looks are deceiving with this mix from Costco.  It includes quite a few shelled sunflower seeds.  It also has peanut pieces, but I don't know if the grosbeaks like those.  They're really picky about what they want as far as feeder food.  If you don't have enough sunflower seeds, they'll move on.  Our flock today was about ten individuals, mostly male but a few females.  I've seen as many as a dozen and maybe this year we'll see even more.  They tend to return to the same feeders on their migratory paths so there's an opportunity to get more and more each year as the chicks accompany their parents.
Also new today, hyacinths.  I'm sure they've been around for quite some time in the valley, but seeing them in full bloom here for the first time gave me one of those yay moments.  The low-growing tulips are stretching their necks, and all the early daffodils are open now.  The daylilies are tall enough that the fish don't look silly.  Roses are sending out their first leaves.  The tree peonies are opening their first flush of purple leaves and the regular peonies have buds peeking out.  Primroses are going crazy.  Hostas have their noses poking out.  Pansies have got their faces painted on.  The daphnes are getting ready to pop open while the lenten roses have been open for a good month and are wondering what everyone else is waiting for.  The place is starting to look up.  Maybe someday I'll have a garden that looks good year-round, but for now I have to wait until spring for my show and I'm so glad the opening act has started.
We had just enough sunshine that I managed to dash out and get our Christmas tree from this year planted, and I yanked more baby blackberries and put out slug food.  I know every year I lose quite a bit to slugs and most of the time I shrug it off, but this year I was very disappointed to see that slugs had destroyed several of those kewl tulips.  I don't know what's more heartbreaking--seeing a bud eaten down to just a little color showing or having the stem chewed through and the blossom laying in the mud.  The stub, I guess.  At least I can bring the blossom in.  Die slugs die!  I need to encourage more snakes, although this time of year the snakes are still napping most of the time and won't be eating much in slugs.  

The equinox is the day after tomorrow.  I don't know if I'll be doing anything special except welcoming the day.  I have to work, drat-0.  Maybe I'll celebrate by coming home to a clean house.  That means lots of work tomorrow.  Cleaning out the house is a semi-tradition here at the household on the equinox, not exactly a party, but really rewarding.  The mini-cleans I've done over the past weeks will help set the stage for a great spring cleaning, I hope.  Yay clean house, yay birds, yay spring!  Even when it rains, when the flowers are blooming it's a beautiful day.

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