Before my long-running RosinaWilson.com site was swallowed by the blogosphere
Believe it or not, I planted this colorful mix of Iceland poppies and Violas (the larger pansies & little Johnny-jump-ups) in dark, chilly mid-January. (That’s a dormant bougainvillea behind the blossoms. Hope it makes it through the winter ~ I’ll let you know.)
in December, I would post frequently about some of my non-culinary interests and adventures. (Yes, Virginia, there *is* life beyond eats and drinks!)
Soooo, I thought I’d start a semi-regular “Monday Mix” theme (to join “Tuesday Tastings,” “Friday Fish Feed,” and the upcoming “Wednesday Wine Webinars”), which *doesn’t* involve food and wine.
I’ve always been interested in nature (since long before attending that infamous science high school in NYC). I like to garden (just planted tomatoes on March 1st!) and make crafty things like jewelry, mosaics and collages.
I also collect ukuleles. (I don’t play all that well, but I love the unique, cheery, “plinky-plinky” sound. And I write the occasional song ~ mostly, but not always, Hawaiian-themed. Join me in a hula some time, ok?)
Though I live less than 15 miles from the Golden Gate Bridge
A Great Egret stalks a sunset dinner at the “Bird Ponds.” That’s Marin County’s emblematic Mt. Tamalpais in the background.
, my little pocket of Marin County seems almost rural.
There’s a dairy ranch a half-mile away, and a wildlife sanctuary (which I call the “Bird Ponds”), bordering on San Francisco Bay, just beyond that.
But as much as I love my bird walks at the ponds (see some of my recent pics, below)
Heeeeere’s Jenny! This little dove chick decided to stick around with Mom and Dad last fall, instead of flying off to find a new home of its own…
, those aren’t the only avian characters in my life. If you were following my blog previously, you’ll no doubt remember “Jenny” and “Jack,” the Mourning Doves who show up every spring, commandeer the hanging plant outside my front door as their nesting site, and proceed to make one pair of babies after another ~ all summer long.
Remember my name for the chicks? (And are you ready for some goofy wordplay?)
They’re “The Bets.” (As in “Jenny and The Bets.” Think Elton John.) And after they’ve grown up, aced their flying lessons and left the nest for good, “all Bets are off.” (Yes, I’m an unrepentant punster. I *did* warn you!)
Jenny showed up today (!), and settled into “her” planter. I’ve also been hearing Jack, and seeing both of them, in my backyard ginkgo tree (which is just starting to leaf out), and on my neighbors’ tile roofs. (There’s also been a third mourning dove with them. I’m not sure, but it’s possible that it’s their final chick from last year ~ see pic above ~ that just didn’t want to leave.
“Jenny” and “Jack” spiff up my “String of Pearls” (Senecio rowleyanus) planter with twigs, straw, seed pods, and other “found treasures” for their kids…
The chick on the right hatched the previous day; the one on the left is still partly covered by its eggshell. How cool is that!
As promised, here are a few shots I’ve taken recently at the “Bird Ponds.” The many different habitats (open water, marsh, meadow, tidal streams, brush, tall trees, etc.) host scores of bird species ~ plus four-legged critters such as deer, coyotes, rabbits, adorable river otters and more ~ in an ever-changing seasonal parade.
Most of these pix capture something spring-ish. You’ll see what I mean…
This Song Sparrow has a touch of spring fever. He’s in the parking lot, attacking his reflection in a car mirror, thinking it’s a rival male.
A male Red-winged Blackbird, belting out his spring song. Just a few weeks ago he could only manage a note or two.
Mr. Northern Shoveler in amorous pursuit of Ms. Northern Shoveler. (She wasn’t in the mood.)
Mr. Mallard, after catching up with Ms. Mallard. (Guess she *was* in the mood. She’s underwater. ;)
This Western Bluebird, perched atop a pine tree, shows off his gorgeous blue-and-red feathers in the afternoon sun.
Not necessarily spring behavior, but this rare California Clapper Rail, usually shy and elusive, has been strutting his stuff almost every day.
Several male Great-tailed Grackles take turns vying (with beak, talons and lots of posing) for the attention of one female.
Ms. Great-tailed Grackle watches the sparring, but she’s not ready to make any choices yet…
Well, my friends, I hope you’ve enjoyed these early signs of spring in my little corner of the planet. The actual equinox is mere days away, and at least here in the US, Daylight Savings Time starts this weekend…
Cheers and best wishes ~