Saturday, July 07, 2007

Fire and Rain

Oh, I've seen fire and I've seen rain...
- James Taylor

It's been a fire-and-rain week, with some wind thrown in for good measure. On Thursday, I noticed a couple of good-sized burned areas by the highway that runs parallel to the Huachuca Mountains. Cigarette, I thought, Damned smoking litterbugs. But no, it looks like another case of alcohol + testosterone = insanity. Seems that a couple of idiots, described by witnesses as one young and one middle-aged male, were cruising down the highway tossing lit fireworks out of their car every few yards. No structures were lost despite at least seven different sources of ignition, and the wildlife habitat will be the better for it, but I shudder to think of all the what-ifs.

And rain and wind, too. We're in the middle of a storm right now, and Tom's standing by our electronic rain monitor calling out the upward-creeping increments: "Eight hundredths...twelve hundredths...." A little storm yesterday dropped a trace of rain at our house (while we were gone, dammit!), but fearsome downbursts from far bigger tormentas put an early end to Friday's hummingbird banding session and almost kept us from getting into the theater to see Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (after seeing it, we wish it had - we'd have saved $13).

Today may be retroactively declared the first official day of the monsoon. Meterologists backdate to the first of three consecutive days when the dew point is 55° F. or higher. We're running a few days behind average, but it'll be okay if the storms don't fizzle out again, as they often have in recent years.

We're still riding pretty high off last summer's and winter's moisture. Most of the hummingbirds we caught at our two banding stations this week were juvies, and several showed good "baby fat," suggesting that they were well fed in the nest. But these babes and the southbound migrants already beginning to arrive will need more food, and that's going to take rain and plenty of it. Think wet thoughts...

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