This morning I planned to rake avocado leaves for the last lasagna bed. I brought my camera to snap a few pictures of our impressive and prolific avocado trees. There are two trees that sometimes shed avocados for us to gather, while other times we have the challenge of picking them from a ladder.
Notice the tree shades our compost bins. We often scoop a handful of leaves to toss on top of the fresh kitchen waste. The leaves have been great for us, and our dirt-making.
I quickly noticed that it would be hard to sweep the driveway, as our cars were in the way.
How good are your avocado spotting skills? I feel like mine are pretty good, and I only saw one when I took this picture (by the forked branches slightly left of center) but now I see another one! These are within reach with the ladder. These trees have a lot more avocados hiding about 45 feet up.
As I took this picture, I heard a bird chirping at me and turned at saw this:
It’s about 8 feet off the ground and it’s hanging next to our precious avocados! I quickly called David over and we grabbed a ladder for closer inspection. (Later I wondered if we’d be able to continue harvesting avocados, as we’re finishing up the ones we grabbed two weeks ago. This question is still to be determined.)
A closeup of the nest made of fiber from palm trees, red bits from a Bottlebrush tree, straw from our garden and bits of fiber from our laundry on the line??
This past Thursday I noticed that there was a tiny grey bird on the power lines, and it was making alarm calls. It sat on the line like Black Phoebe does, and chipped angrily like a mockingbird. Rosie and I listened to it’s chatter, and quickly moved away from the tree and the power lines, as we finished up watering the backyard garden.
Today, upon spotting this nest, we thought we saw a flitter of birds around it. I decided to stick around and try to find out what was going on. I quietly waited next to the cars, and saw two birds fly into the next, noticed the nest pulsating from activity, and then saw them fly off again. Mom and Dad are building their home! I snapped a few pictures of the happy couple as they hopped around outside of their nest, and then went inside to confirm the species.
Hopping around on the branch with a piece of nesting material in it’s mouth. Anyone know if this is the male or female?
A closer shot of the same individual getting ready to go into the nest.
Bringing a bigger piece to the nest.
During all of these photos, Rosie patiently waited for me to throw the ball.
Here’s a view of where I can safely stand to watch the nest. Notice that our little area is quite small. Shadow doesn’t seem to realize that he’s disturbing the nest, which is located in the cluster of leaves above him. Also check out the leaves I was going to rake. We just raked up the avocado leaves a month ago, and there looks like there’s enough for our last lasagna garden… if only I could rake them up.
After spending some time inside, and then running back out to listen to the bird’s calls, I am 98% sure that we have a nesting pair of bushtits! The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a great bird site, with lots of calls. I also was excited to see that I went to summer camp, and then later worked with, the photographer who took the identification photo. It’s a great feeling to have a connection to both my past and to the natural world.
More nesting updates will follow as we watch them, and try to stay out of their way. We’re excited for them to eat our grubs and caterpillars!!