Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Wednesday Vignette: In their natural elements

Yesterday morning, I interrupted my husband as he was ready to go out the back door when I noticed an unexpected visitor, just hanging out in the mimosa tree, staring at the harbor.  I went out through the front door, my camera in hand, and crept up on him very slowly.  He paid me no mind until I got a little too close, when he abruptly took off.

I can't be sure as I couldn't see all his plumage but this is probably a red-tailed hawk, the most common variety in our area

He gave me a good hard look before moving to another branch and subsequently took off


Meanwhile, my cat Pipig (the name is Swedish for "squeaky") is enjoying her own natural surroundings.

Pipig loves the Christmas tree and now spends the majority of her time sleeping under it or in the chair next to it

After two unusually warm, dry, and windy weeks, it's deliciously cool this morning with the return of the marine layer.  (I'd say it was cold but those of you in more wintry climates would laugh at what I consider cold.)  There's even a small chance of a trace of rain this afternoon.  I'm trying not to get my hopes up, especially as another Santa Ana wind event is expected to start this evening and the Thomas Fire is still burning in the Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, now classified as the second largest fire in California's history and on its way to the #1 slot.

For more Wednesday Vignettes, visit Anna at Flutter & Hum.


All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

23 comments:

  1. We had a bit of rain last night for the first time in a few weeks-I was getting concerned about the dry weather and actually had to water some containers last weekend.The rain was short lived and we are back to frost for the next few days and expecting a drop into the high 20's tomorrow night. Pipig is my favorite present under your tree.

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    1. We got 0.03/inch of rain (more on the order of a heavy misting) this evening. The extended forecasts are maddening - one week they show rain at the end of December, the next nothing until February, and currently nothing in December but rain the 2nd week in January. What does seem apparent is that it's going to be another tough year for SoCal. I hope Northern California fares better, Kathy.

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  2. My calico is named Squeaky - I guess a lot of cats do earn this name. Pipig is a nature lover, I see. :)
    Your hawk may be a Cooper's or Sharp-shinned. It looks too thin for a red-tail. From AAB: 'The rule of thumb is that a Cooper’s Hawk is about the size of an American Crow and the Sharp-shinned Hawk is more the size of a jay.'

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    1. Oh, Pipig does like to wander outside but she isn't generally permitted out any longer that it takes me to clean up her screened porch area every morning. In addition to the danger posed by cars, the coyotes are a major issue here, even during daylight hours. You're probably right about the hawk ID. He had his back to me throughout our encounter, only turning his head in my direction, but he did look smaller even than the juvenile red-tailed hawks I've seen before. I know Cooper's Hawks have been sighted here and my Sibley Field Guide indicates that both the Cooper's and the Sharp-shinned's may travel through here during the winter months.

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  3. Very nice shots of the hawk. My cats used to love sleeping under our Christmas tree, when I used to put one up. I haven't tried that with our current kitty. He likes chewing on plants, so I'm not sure how he'd react to a tree, even a fake one, inside the house.

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    1. Pipig chews house plants (and cut flowers) periodically but she's never chewed a Christmas tree. However, she likes to drink out of the tree's water well and occasionally "removes" decorations...

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  4. We've had so many for, a part from one day, has been a quick light shower that the strong winds have dried almost immediately.

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    1. I expect the teeny tiny amount of rain we got last night (0.03/inch) was dried up immediately by the winds that followed here too, Christina. Our humidity levels are back to low levels this morning, although not quite as bad as the single-digit readings we had earlier.

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  5. A handsome visitor. Pipig looks very content and sweet hanging out under the tree. Keep warm.

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    1. Despite the return of the Santa Ana winds last night, it's even colder here today, Peter. We finally turned on our heater.

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  6. Wow, what a view you have out your sunroom/porch windows! If I were your kitty, I'd be there, too! That does appear to be a red-tailed hawk; it's one of our more common ones here, too. They're so regal! You got some great shots!

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    1. That's actually our living room. The house is a vintage mid-century modern design intended to take advantage of the view. The hawk (or one of his friends) just now paid another visit but I still couldn't get close enough to see his plumage to determine whether he's Red-tailed or, as Eliza suggested, Cooper's or Sharp-shinned.

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  8. That picture of the hawk is really impressive, are hawks common visitors in your garden? I often see them flying here but they never perch on my trees. Pipig looks so happy by the christmas tree, cute cat and as I said before I love her name ¿are you swedish Kris? I'm glad the days are cooler in your area, here summer began with 95 F and rain all day (it's raining as I type here)it feels like being inside a giant sauna...

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    1. I frequently see hawks soaring over the canyon areas below us but they don't often land in our trees. I'm of Swedish and Finnish descent but was born and raised in California. Regrettably, my Finnish vocabulary consists mainly of insults and swear words and my Swedish is even more limited. As to saunas, I never developed much affection for them either ;)

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  9. I think it's Lindsey hawk... No, wait, definitely a Cooper's (Accipiter cooperii).

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  10. Zoe is experimenting with the straw stars on the window. Thankfully the tree, doesn't appeal.

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    1. In past years, Pipig had taken out ornaments but, at 10 years old, she's more mellow - she's restricted herself to the ribbons this year.

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  11. We had a Cooper's (given its size I think that's what it was) on our front porch a couple weeks ago! She (probably) was looking for birds. A lot of birds feed in the garden and the lawn. I'd never gotten such a good look at a Cooper's before, and for a long time too!

    Many of my animals love hanging out under the Christmas tree too. lol Luckily none of the cats were interested in climbing it or playing with the ornaments.

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    1. It's funny that my cat loves to climb shrubs in the garden but has never once shown any inclination to climb the Christmas tree - I guess I should just count myself lucky. Merry Christmas sweetbay!

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  12. Fingers crossed for some rain for you, it must be difficult with such a prolonged drought. We have finally got some rain here in London although far from enough....where does all the rain go??
    Loved your view, including the Christmas tree and the kitty :-)

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    1. Sadly, it's beginning to appear that last year's heavier-than-usual rainfall was an anomaly rather than a shift from the drought-ward trend of the prior several years. The ridge of high pressure keeping us dry is pushing the rain off course but I don't know where.

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