[Tweeters] Currant Events

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Sun Feb 1 13:01:28 PST 2015

Well, it sure has been a balmy January. I was mildly surprised at seeing a turtle at the Fill on January 13th - mildly, because it was so mild out. While often on sunny winter days around here, the breeze has a bit of winter bite, that day even the breeze was mild.
Since then, it's been even warmer. Back on January 17th, I commented on our subtle seasons, and noted how it wouldn't be long before the Pacific Chorus Frogs were croaking here (latitude Port Townsend), and sure enough the next day I heard two loudly croaking during the day on a Ford Worden walk. How many voices does it take to qualify for a chorus? Maybe these two guys were just Pacific Conversation Frogs. I don't know what they were talking about, but the conversation sure was ribbeting.
Moving right along, on that same day at Fort Worden, I noted the continual swelling of Indian Plum buds - even leaves unfolding, and on a nearby patch of wet clay bank, a Coltsfoot bud, the size of a brussel sprout, emanated from the ground.Later in the week I saw more of these sort of charismatic perennials , sprouting up out of wet spots on the drift cliffs at North Beach - a bit early.
Back where I'm camping at my parents house, there is a big 'ol Red -Flowering Currant just outside my bedroom window, and there always seems to be some kind of birdy thing going on in it, and it's a well known hummingbird attractant. About ten days ago, I noted several Anna's Hummingbirds attending this shrub: they were sort of poking at the yet unopened flower buds - repeatedly, over several days.
Now, the Anna's Hummingbird is not known for it's great patience - it ain't no heron. How could they be patient, jacked up on their main winter diet of white sugar from feeders? Anyway, I did wonder what was going on. Can hummingbirds smell?Did they just have a visual sense of flowers about to unfold? Just plain impatience, like watching the microwave numbers click down for your coffee re-heat?
"What do think yer gonna' accomplish with all this fussing?" I asked one morning, "get the thing to bloom early? Kinda pushing the river, don't you think?" I guess hummers are bigger drinkers than thinkers, because I didn't get any response.However, the Currant did start blooming the other day - a full month earlier than last year. How about that.
Currently, my favorite bird juxtaposition is watching my parents "pet duck" (really a big Glaucous-winged Gull) stand on the deck rail, begging, with remarkable intensity, for food through the window. As it does, the Anna's slurp at the feeder, also mounted on the deck rail -just two feet behind the big gull. If the Gull was a hummingbird trojan horse, how many of the little trojans could you fit in it? Quite a few I imagine.
So that's some currant events around here.
Jeff GibsoninPort Townsend Wa

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