Re: [gardeners] Early onset to fall in an L.A. Garden

penny x stamm (
Thu, 12 Oct 2000 01:32:48 -0400

Hi, David and Ron and all -- in spite of the 39* nights, we have not 
had our first freeze as yet -- and we are several hours north of 
you, David!  

This morning as I stared out the kitchen window, I nearly broke my 
nose on the window ---- there were 6 enormous birds, positively
larger than a turkey, slowly ambling across the rear lawn, and 
stopping here and there for a peck at some hidden insect below...

I yelled for Jimmie, and he yelled for the camera, so I did attempt
to photograph them. My film speed of 100 was not adequate, 
however, since a flash was called for and my flash would never have
reached them, but we'll see. When I opened the back door to get
a better picture, they looked up at me, stood stock still, and then
went back to their slow amble.  Totally nonchalant. 

They were dark brown in coloration -- I think the wings (which were
folded back) were darker than the body, not sure. But HUGE . . . . 
There was something white about each head, but I am confused as 
to just where it was. 

A month or so ago, we saw a parade of a mother bird and her six
progeny crossing our front lawn.  She was definitely leading them. 
When they reached the curb, she stepped off and they kinda
jumped off, and then the little ones scampered like bats out of
Hades to reach the other side, as if she had told them to beware of
cars. It was very funny!  The truth probably was that they did not 
like the feel of the road surface ...  We suspect that they have been 
nesting inside the shell of a house which has been abandoned
for 4 months in the midst of a reconstruction, and not one of us
knows the story...     

The whole covey walked slowly from left to right across my 
rather large lawn, and then 5 of them took the stone path thru
the bushes, turned left around the tall spruce, and disappeared. 
They should have gotten rather locked in back there, but they never
came out.  The 6th one finally decided to follow them, and walked
right smack thru the large impatiens bed, smash, smash, then 
tangled with the low fencing I keep behind the bed to deter the 
small varmints from unnecessary trampling. Funny thing -- I had
looked out the window in the first place to see if that impatiens 
bed had been hit by a frost yet, and noticed that the flowers were
definitely shrinking down -- so I didn't come after that monster 
bird with a carving knife . .     

Penny, NY  zone 6

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