Last Wednesday we had an unexpected visitor. We'd heard him, or one of his kin, kicking up a fuss, several days before but we didn't see him and, when he was silent for several days, we figured he'd moved on or run afoul of one of the self-appointed vigilantes that patrol our area every night. I thought I heard his tell-tale squawk Wednesday morning but dismissed it as a figment of my imagination. But, as I headed out the door to collect my car for a pet supply run, there he was, standing in front of the open garage door.
Peacocks can be found all over the peninsula
we live on but they're seldom seen in our immediate area due to the aforementioned vigilantes, aka coyotes. Peacocks were brought here around 100 years ago, reportedly as a gift to a wealthy landowner. They thrived, much to the chagrin of some present-day homeowners. They have their advocates and their detractors. I periodically come across one on our main road but I've only seen them in our neighborhood twice in nearly 10 years. Both those birds were juvenile males, presumably tossed out of their family compounds as they matured. They were generally gone within a day. This is the first time I've ever seen a mature male here. It's peacock mating season and apparently he was looking a little further afield to find his peahen. I grabbed my camera and followed him through my garden, observing proper social distancing of course.
|He spent no time at all in my cutting garden, heading toward the patio on the north side of the house (Yes, if you noticed the doorstop tucked to the side of the path on the left, it IS missing its head. I'm not sure how it came off but I still have the head too. I'm debating whether to glue it back in place or toss it out. The doorstop was the last birthday present my mother gave me, saying it reminded her of me as I was always reading as a child. I'd been using it to hold the gate open when it's windy.|
|Neither the spa nor the north side garden were of interest to the peacock. Meanwhile, I focused on that loose feather he was trailing, thinking that my cat Pipig would appreciate a new one to play with but he stayed just beyond my reach.|
|He's crossing the back patio here|
|and here he's headed down the walkway in the direction of the south side patio|
|I got too close for his comfort and he crossed the bed to take the flagstone path to get away from me, still heading south. Despite his prior cries seeking female attention, he remained utterly silent through his entire visit to our garden.|
|He rounded the curve into the succulent area on the south side|
|But then he hustled down the moderate front slope to the area in which my lath shade house sits, moving at a good clip|
|He paused here along the property line before deciding he'd had enough of me|
When he moved onto my neighbor's property, I gave up my paparazzi assignment and got back to my pet supply run. That took about an hour. When I returned home, I asked my husband if the peacock had returned while I was out. He said he expected it was long gone, just as I looked out our kitchen window and spotted him on the back patio looking in our direction. Scooping up my camera, I followed him once more.
|He paused under the Arbutus 'Marina', considering his options|
|He jumped onto the narrow dirt path used when trimming the Xylosma hedge, preparing to head south but I circled around on the other side and he chose to turn around|
|He headed back to the garden on the north side, which he'd passed through on his first tour of the garden|
|Here he is underneath the Kool-aid bush (Psoralea pinnata), evaluating his route once again|
|He took the gravel path through the dry garden area, looking back as if thinking "Is she STILL following me?"|
|He scooted around the corner and down the concrete stairway through the back slope|
|He crossed the property line, landing on the neighbors' stairs looking down into the canyon|
He hugged the wall of the neighbor's house, moving behind the flowering Centranthus ruber
, headed in the direction of the canyon. If he was lucky, he found himself a mate. If he was unlucky, he found himself facing a coyote. In any case, we haven't heard plaintive cries of any sort in the past week. Our only surprise this week was rain, which is unusual in May to say the least and, for me, even more exciting than a visit by a peacock.
|We got over 1/3rd of an inch of rain when the forecast was for little or nothing. My 50-gallon tank, which was empty, is now full. The 160-gallon tank shown above, which was down to 20 gallons is now just short of full, and amazingly, my 265-gallon tank (which started out partly full) is now also full.|
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All material © 2012-2020 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party