Sunday, February 19, 2012

Walking Along the Rio Grande

It was an interesting day today, starting with an early morning balloon launch. The balloons took off from a park down the street. At one point, it appeared as if they were being blasted by some strong gusts of wind, which would make sense as we had a fierce storm move in later in the afternoon. I counted nine balloons, but a few were already on their way north toward Corrales before I noticed them outside.

The little birds ate ferociously this morning. They always do when a storm is coming. They are mini barometers. I go through twice as much bird seed when storms are moving in. Then, they fluff their feathers so they look like little feather balls.

As the storm moved in this afternoon, we took a walk along the Rio Grande. We came to a farm with some funny looking birds. They look like a cross between a pheasant and a chicken, but they have clown faces. I counted 29 of them sitting on the wooden fences, watching us walk by.

There was also a beautiful black horse in the field. He walked over to the fence and let me pet his face. He was gentle and sweet, and when I took his picture, I would swear he was smiling.

The Rio Grande was stunning. It seems to be running a bit low. I watched the ducks and geese as they swam through the water, but occasionally, one would stop and stand up--a fairly good indication that water levels are low. After awhile, though, it started to rain, which is always a good sign. I'm surprised by how many dead trees I'm seeing in this area, though. I'm not sure if it's due to last year's drought or a pine disease. Either way, it's very sad.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Prayer for the Horses

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for hearing our prayer.

We acknowledge that our horses are constantly embraced and protected by Your Divine Love.

As You have given us dominion over our thoughts, we pray that our thoughts are in line with Your Thoughts, that all of mankind see our horses the way You see them, as a unique expression of Your Creation, living purely, freely, in safety and abundance, and in perfect Peace and Harmony with all that surrounds them.

We praise You and thank You, our Good and Loving Father, and have faith that You are right here, right now, dwelling in the midst of us, governing all that is seen and unseen according to Your Divine Principle.

In Christ Jesus we pray.


Prayer by Vivian, Tuesday's Horse, who reminds us that "we can easily substitute all our animals for horses. I was inspired to write this prayer, and did so for the horses, because they are who we happen to work on behalf of."

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Yesterday's Newcomers--Yellow Birds

Yesterday, I noticed a little yellow bird on the side of the house. The bird seemed to be digging something out of the sand. It has a beautiful singing voice. I photographed the bird from over the fence and its body appeared to be yellow, then I walked around the outside of the house to the side of the wall and left some seed on the wall. It wasn't really interested on the seed, but not particularly intimidate by me. However, in the photographs from the front of the house, the bird appeared to be orange, or red.

Today, I realized the "newcomer" is actually two birds. The female is yellow, the male is a reddish/orange. I watched them for nearly an hour. I believe they are building a nest near or under the children's playhouse. They are digging in the sand for grubs and sticks and grass for the nest.

They only appear at sunset, and as they work, they pause and lift their faces to the sun and their bodies pick up the sunset colors, then they suddenly dart to the ground and pull a bug out of the ground. It's as if they sense the movement in the sand. Their nest must be either in the playhouse attic or underneath. I am hoping they build the nest in the attack. I have no doubt that this area has snakes, and ground nests are always more vulnerable. They are beautiful little birds, so delicate, with a sweet voice.

Early Morning Balloon Launch, Crows, and Romantic Birds

It was a warm, breezy morning and the skies over Rio Rancho were filled with wispy clouds, chattering birds, and hot air balloons. I counted forty, but there were quite a few moving north toward Corrales and hidden by the trees. The clouds seemed to be playing with the balloons, reaching out for them, whisking them from mountain top to mountain top, pushing them from one side of the sky to the other. Two of the balloons turned to the west, then headed south again, landing somewhere in our neighborhood.

While I watched the balloons, I noticed a crow flying overhead. Crows are very noisy when they fly through the neighborhood. You can hear them from a long way off and the sound tells you if they're coming toward you or moving further away, but this one was flying in circles through the neighborhood. The crows like to sit in the tall evergreens on the opposite side of the arroyo that runs behind our house. They also like to sit on the lamp post where the hawks sometimes land. They have a better view of the neighborhood this way.

Crows are opportunistic eaters, like Road Runners. They will eat anything they can find. I put some seed out on the wall near the road where they like to fly, but the crow caught something instead. It appeared to be a mouse. I don't like watching animals eat live food, but it's part of nature, and so much better than seeing creatures hit by cars--it's the circle of life. The crow actually carried its prey to the top of the lamp post to eat it.

As I watched the balloons, I also photographed the birds behind me. They are more comfortable with me now and allow me to stand much closer. It's been an interesting bird-watching week. Each day, I have spotted a new species of bird. This morning's new bird appears to be a type of finch. It has a silver beak and tangerine stripes on its head. It likes the swinging bird feeder. There was a female finch sitting in the bird feeder and the male with the striped head kept hopping comfortably around her so it's possible they're a mated pair. It's that time of year--romance is in the air, even in the swinging bird feeders!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Beautiful Little Birds

My garden is filled with birds--sparrows, finches, thrashes, white winged doves, dark-eyed juncos, crows and robins. Sometimes I see boat-tailed grackles in the trees. A few days ago, a Swainson's Hawk flew overhead, circling and watching.

The robins appear late in the afternoon. They start on the garden wall. They don't visit the seed dishes, they sit on the wall and watch me as I photograph the mountains, then they hop down into the arroyo and dig in the sand for worms and bugs. I would think it would be a bit early for bugs, but I photographed one yesterday, so I know they are available!

There are three dark-eyed juncos, mysteriously dark gray birds that quietly appear on the wall by my side when I'm looking in another direction. When I realize they are nearby, I slowly turn to face them, but they do not leave. They hold very still, staring off toward the mountains as if they do not see me. Sometimes in the afternoon I see them hopping beneath the patio table, picking up seeds that the doves have knocked to the ground.

The doves are rather bold. They will flock to the table and watch me through the window as I work in the kitchen. Sometimes they fly onto the wall when I open the door, and sometimes they fly to the roof of my grandchildren's playhouse or to the roof of the garden shed. They are noisy birds, chittering as they fly away as if chastising me for disturbing their meal.

I rarely see the crows. I hear them as they fly over the houses as I hear the Canadian geese, but I rarely see them. They land in the tall evergreens in my neighbor's yard and talk to me, sounding off to let me know they are there.

Mr. and Mrs. Thrasher, of course, are always in the shrub. I think it is Mrs. Thrasher who sits on the wall in the corner, watching me fill the seed dishes. Mr. Thrasher leaves sometimes, but later in the evening, he poses majestically at the top of the shrub, listening, watching.

The little birds, the finches and sparrows, are the ones that bring me the most joy. They are so tiny, delicate, and sweet, and they never stop singing. From the minute they wake up until they flock to the nearby trees for cover at sunset I can hear them singing in my yard. They are also kind and cooperative when it comes to my photography, primping and posing, waiting for me to focus. They are patient little birds, sitting in the shrub like Christmas tree bulbs, fluffing their feathers on cold days to create pockets of warm air that warm their bodies, fluttering to the seed dishes to stock up on seed. I am so blessed by my precious little friends.