On Saturday morning, I ventured out into the field after more than a month away, eager to see how the summer was treating the avian denizens of the creek area.
I drove to the Rincon Del Diablo just as the sun was clearing the trees, a blazing, white-hot orb in the pale blue summer sky.
It wasn’t even 8:30 yet, but the air was already hot, with the promise of even more heat to come later in the day.
The vegetation in the Rincon was a mix of greens and tans, the leaves of the pecans and mesquites and long carrizo fronds contrasting with the wheat-blond tan of the sunburned grasses.
Members of a flock of Lesser Goldfinches chipped and whistled as they foraged in the overgrown meadow, their feet clinging to the stalks as they deftly stripped seeds from the drooping grass heads.
The goldfinches fell silent as a pair of Cooper’s Hawks streaked by just above the meadow, but as soon as the hawks were out of sight, the morning feast resumed.
A family of Vermilion Flycatchers, a male, female and two fledged juveniles, hung out around the city lift station, perching on the barbed wire at the top of the fence and sallying out to snatch tiny flying insects.
In the row of hackberry trees just past the lift station, another family, this one of Bewick’s Wrens, foraged along the knobby trunks of the trees and out along their branches.
In the air Chimney Swifts and Barn Swallows dipped and dove.
Even this early in the morning, the whining whirr of cicadas, hidden in the trees and bushes throughout the Rincon, filled the morning air. To me, the song of the cicadas is the melody of the south Texas summer.
I don’t walk very far.
The heat, even this early in the morning, is oppressive, and I am grateful for the breeze that has sprung up.
I walked past the lift station and left the flycatchers and the wrens to their morning hunting.
I heard an Olive Sparrow singing from a thicket at the base of a venerable mesquite, and although I waited for a time, he didn’t show himself, and I moved on.
I saw several flocks of House Finches, both groups containing several fledged juveniles still begging food from their parents and a female Hooded Oriole with a nearly-grown juvenile following her every move.
Elsewhere in the meadow, I saw a female Blue Grosbeak shepherding an almost-adult youngster of her own.
My visit was over all too soon, as I still had moving-in duties that at my new apartment, but I’m definitely looking forward to coming back next week.