As a true aficionado of the high desert southwest, my favorite season is fall. The harsh heat of summer is over, the humidity goes back down and it's just a terrific time to get outdoors and enjoy everything! With that in mind, about this time of year I start looking for those first subtle clues that the seasons are getting ready to change. As long ago as when I was a teenager, I recognized what I called the first-day-of-fall. It came somewhere between m id to late August and early to mid September and was marked by a certain feel to the wind, a dryness in the air, and a delicate touch of coolness. It might be far from the last gasp of summer but it was an omen and a promise. That day I would get restless and want to ride or walk all day long--get out on a high hill where I could survey a vast stretch of countryside and revel in the blue skies and maybe just a few little scraps of cloud over the higher terrain. Such a day made me feel so blessed to live where I have spent the greater part of my life!
And, along in the same general time frame, there is a period I call hummingbird summer. Although I do not recall seeing these tiny birds in the Verde Valley in central Arizona where I grew up, I became acquainted with them a bit when I moved down to Cochise County after I finished college and began my civil service career but I really came to know them when we returned to the area from California in 1984. I hung feeders then and became an avid watcher and fan of the flying jewels. Cochise County is called the hummingbird capital of the USA as more species visit there than anywhere else. Here is a hummingbird summer picture at my old home in southeastern Arizona. This is very typical!
Along a bit before Labor Day they began to grow more numerous. I had some that came early in the spring and others that hung around all summer but all at once the population doubled and doubled again until no matter how many feeders I put up, at least a half dozen busy little birds were squabbling around them from daybreak to dusk. For two or three weeks there were constant aerobatics and you could hardly go outside without getting buzzed. Then slowly they began to depart. The area was just a favored rest spot along their incredible migration routes from far to the north to the equatorial tropics.
Last year here I noticed some increase in the numbers about a week or two later than this. It was noticeable but not as exciting as in Arizona. The last few days I have begun to see a few more. At least two pairs have been here since late spring and I think raised their customary two chicks but now an extra two or more are around. I've glimpsed a Rufous, the only species that appears in North America that has no green but instead sports rusty red plumage in its place.I'm not sure what the others are but I am guessing Black Chins which were the most plentiful species I had in Arizona and perhaps some Allan's or Anna's. My two feeders hang by the garage since we were invaded by bees last summer when I had them along the patio. Not many bees this year so maybe I can move them back.... Anyway I cannot see the subtle colors enough for positive identification given the distance and they are not as tame or bold as my long time visitors were in Arizona where I could stand right by the feeder and they would ignore me!
Welcome to my World
Welcome to the domain different--to paraphrase from New Mexico's capital city of Santa Fe which bills itself "The City Different." Perhaps this space is not completely unique but my world shapes what I write as well as many other facets of my life. The four Ds figure prominently but there are many other things as well. Here you will learn what makes me tick, what thrills and inspires me, experiences that impact my life and many other antidotes, vignettes and journal notes that set the paradigm for Dierdre O'Dare and her alter ego Gwynn Morgan and the fiction and poetry they write. I sell nothing here--just share with friends and others who may wander in. There will be pictures, poems, observations, rants on occasion and sometimes even jokes. Welcome to our world!