Amy HelmThe lineup of entertainers for the sixth annual Pickin' in the Park Free Summer Concert Series has now been set. Every Thursday evening in Paonia Town Park starting at 6 p.m. and going until dark, concert-goers are going to have a fantastic musical experience for the entire family.More
Carol Clawson and Tell did their best to make these yearling ewes follow the course at the 10th annual Hotchkiss Sheep Camp Stock Dog Trials over the weekend. Gordon Hebenstreit, president and general manager of the stock dog trials said, “We feel it was a very successful competition … It was a real challenge for the dogs.” Vice president Cheryl Hebenstreit noted, “The sheep were a little tough this year.” And that’s how the competitors like it.It had rained in Hotchkiss all week long. Not a good sign for the big outdoor events scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.More
It's overcast today and rain threatens. And I wonder about the birds and creatures of the high country.
When it gets cold up there, some of them come down into our valley, so I'm watching.
And here's our first wintering bird, a scrub jay, all dressed in blues and grays: a handsome bird indeed. He's checking out our new Pyracantha shrub that replaced our aspen when it was obviously sickening. Nothing to eat there . . . now over to the trumpet vine and nothing edible there either. He hops up on the two-foot tall "mock rock" that we put over the septic tank connections. Nothing to eat, but a great place to display ... first to the east side of the rock, now over to the west side. Flutter and fluff the feathers, hop about and begin to preen.
What a show-off!
The tail and wings are bright blue, the belly is nearly white, the bill and legs are dark. There's a blue band from the back of the neck and around the breast that contrasts the brown back. The chin is white, and there's a dark gray-brown area around the eye with a thin white eyebrow.
Early on I attempted to make clues to try to remember the birds. To me, this jay looked as if he'd had his breast scrubbed. Now I've learned that "scrub" is a noun coming from Middle English meaning a "shrub." This led back to Old Norse "skroppa" referring to a stunted tree or shrub. So our birds' common name is from the habitat, Scrub Oak, rather than his pale breast. The scientific name is Aphelocoma californica and this gives me a clue: "coma" means hair and "alphelo" turns out to be "smooth" or "plain." So this jay has "smooth hair" or no crest as we see in Steller's Jay or the Eastern Blue Jay.blog comments powered by Disqus