Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Wednesday Vignette: A bird's eye view of the garden

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.


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


All material © 2012-2020 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

28 comments:

  1. Wow - what a fun visitor! Somehow I have a feeling he will come back to stay, and you will have a whole new pet to contend with - maybe even two, depending on his amorous successes. I mean, if I were a budding, young peacock, I would totally pick your garden as my new territory!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Although I think it might to amusing to have a resident peacock, my friends that have to deal with them tell me they rapidly wear out their welcome. The males are VERY noisy when in mating mode; they poop all over; and they eat a lot of garden plants. My neighbors would probably object too - the rooster that one neighbor had was ousted by popular demand.

      Delete
  2. That peacock was beautiful, even if he didn't display his feathers for you! I would certainly repair the doorstop, since it has sentimental value to you. If you use construction adhesive, it will stay glued in any weather! No need for a big tube, you can get a small squeezable tube at the big box stores. Any excess that squeezes out of the repair can be trimmed with a razor blade when it's dry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the doorstop supports memories so it deserves repair. I'd frankly forgotten about it until I saw it in that peacock photo.

      Delete
  3. He's just gorgeous! The closest I ever came to one was the hotel in Albuquerque where they lived all around.
    We are having three straight days of real rain: very nice but, on top of the virus isolation, really makes me realize how important the garden and being outside are...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our rain usually comes to an abrupt end in March or early May so this was a big surprise for us, Libby. Three straight days of rain isn't usually something that happens here, even at the peak of our rainy season.

      Delete
  4. Love it, I see peacocks here - a silent film star had a flock at her waterfront home..they are still around. Congrats on full rain barrels.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess peacocks were very popular in the 1920s, Amelia! There'es a real dichotomy of opinion on them here. As one of my friends said, they're great in someone else's garden!

      Delete
  5. Handsome dude. It is fun to see him sashaying around your garden. I would still be leary of those big feet scratching around in flower beds. I hope he moves on. He seems to have been a magnet for rain. That is great.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If peacocks really were a rain magnet, I'd create a palace for them to live in here, Lisa!

      Delete
  6. Glad you got some unexpected but very welcome rain - that's the best kind. Your visitor probably couldn't believe his eyes - he was in paradise. My memory is that they are quite raucous so it might be best if he moves on. I would glue the head back on too, especially since there is a use for the figure. You can always change your mind at a later date but once it's gone, it's gone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Peacocks are known for being extremely loud, Barbara. I've had limited exposure to them but I recall visiting my hairdresser at a salon in peacock central and nearly jumping out of my skin every time one shrieked. I don't know if that's just during the mating season, or year round. This one was very quiet while he stalked our property. Apparently, I didn't look anything like a peahen.

      Delete
  7. How wonderful to have such a beautiful and exotic visitor– I love the thought of you following him about, paparazzi-style!
    The rain barrel replenishment is such a boon– yay!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I couldn't believe it when the rain, though light, just kept coming, Eliza. I was frankly shocked to have all 3 of my rain barrels, one of which was empty and another that was near that point, topped off in such a short period.

      Delete
  8. Wow! A Peacock. What a fun surprise. I saw a bunch in an outdoors setting when I visited Turkey, years ago. They are LOUD, but when the tail is open its the most spectacular colorful show. I'd keep the gate stop of course. Even if you don't glue it back together, you can keep the head on river rocks a few feet away, and exclaim: I don't know where my head is at today! :-D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They're very loud, especially when there's a group of males competing for females. I heard another tell-tale cry in the wee hours this morning but haven't received another visit (that I know of). Re the doorstop, it did occur to me that its headless condition might be a sign of the times.

      Delete
  9. I love the mental picture I had of you behind him in each of these shots. We had our first LA-area peacock sighting years ago when we visited the California Cactus Center prior to a trip to the Huntington. It was crazy to see them walking through neighborhoods. Now I know it's not that odd...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm a peacock stalker! There are scads of peacocks at the LA County Arboretum. Nearby South Coast Botanic Garden where I am/was a docent supposedly has some but I've never seen one there. People here on the peninsula who live with them as a regular presence seem to either love or hate them.

      Delete
  10. You did great on rainwater collection. I'm inspired by your success to add more downspout diverters and barrels for next winter.

    Fun peacock stalking pictures. They are beautiful birds but loud, After a while I guess some people can tune them out. My MIL in the SGV had one take up residence in her garden for a couple of years. He never did find a lady friend.

    The neighbors down the road had a rooster for a while, and I tuned out the 3 am crowing pretty quickly. A coyote finally silenced him, to no one's regret.

    ReplyDelete
  11. It's amazing how much rain one can collect from a roof in even a relatively light rainstorm, HB. I was surprised at how quiet (silent) the peacock was when he was here as opposed to the ruckus he made when he was hiding in the foliage thicket along the perimeter of the neighborhood. Our community actually has a "no roosters" ordinance, which was invoked by one neighbor to remove another's bird. Peacocks, on the other hand, are semi-protected. Killing them is treated as a crime, although some peninsula communities (not mine, to my knowledge) allow trapping and relocation.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I love your visiting peacock! What a delight and joy to see something so exotic right in your back yard. Thank you for sharing him with us.
    Also glad you received some much needed rain and your rain barrels are full. That is a good feeling. We had over 4" of rain on Monday and Tuesday, and it has been raining since then. I don't know what the accumulation is now. But the weatherman said on Wednesday morning that if all the rain that fell in the TV viewing area was collected and put inside the beltway, it would be 19 feet deep. It is still dreary today, but hopefully that tropical storm off the Atlantic will move on and allow this system to move on too. I've seen my share of rain for awhile. Everything, especially the grass, has grown in proportion to the rain, and the grass is ankle deep, but too wet to cut. Historical amounts of rain always lead to flooding and all the rivers are over their banks and doing much damage. I so often wish I could send the rain backwards to you and those who need it so much more than we do. It doesn't seem fair that some get so much while others are in desperate need.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I could swear I heard another peacock squawk yesterday during the wee hours of the morning but it might have been a dream - there have been no sighting in our neighborhood for over a week now.

      Mother Nature certainly does have an uneven distribution system, at least when it comes to rain! I imagine you're feeling quite soggy, Cindy. Rain, especially in early summer, is viewed as a novelty here. We're expecting a comfortably cool weekend but it's supposed to get much warmer again next week.

      Delete
  13. How fun! Your photos are great - I’m so surprised you were able to get that close.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the peacocks in the area are very used to humans, Diana, and perhaps not as wary as they should be. Even though they're protected by local ordinances, there are people that bear them ill will.

      Delete
  14. What great fun! I love his pose under the arbutus. I must admit, though, that I have water tank envy. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd have more rain tanks if I could but they aren't very pretty and they're hard to hide! My biggest tank is actually attached to the smallest roof, our garage, because the back of the garage was the only place it wouldn't stand out like a sore thumb.

      Delete
  15. That was a lovely post, not only about the peacock but also with views of the garden, Kris. As for your gate stop, do stick its head back on. I have a statue that had its head glued on and I am so pleased I kept it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Noelle. I'll be fixing the doorstop - I just have to get the glue.

      Delete

I enjoy receiving your comments and suggestions!