Pivoting Into Spring

Rio Grande, Albuquerque, March 13, 2010I noticed the lilacs starting to leaf out in our backyard this afternoon. We moved the weather station last week, so I’m not sure what 65F (18C) means, but that’s what the thermometer says. (Anthony Watts would no doubt disapprove of its current location in the corner by the back wall, but my old cotton region shelter is more garden art than science.) More meaningful than the number is the fact that I was sitting in the back yard wearing shorts.

Lissa and I spent the morning down by the river (see photo at right). The Rio Grande is beginning its spring rise. It’s up near 900 cubic feet per second right now through town. At the Rio Grande Nature Center, a great gathering place for water birds, we saw our first cinnamon teal of the year, a lovely duck that is a frequent spring visitor. We ran into one of my bird friends, who told us about a great horned owl out by the river – “Stand on the bridge over the minnow channel looking north, it’s in a cottonwood on the west bank, living in a cooper’s hawk’s nest.” I was a little worried about whether we’d be able to find it, but the clump of birders standing beneath the next looking up made it easy.

Another of my bird friends, Judy, was in the clump, and after we gawked at the gorgeous owl for a while, we wandered out to the river bank and listened to the water slipping quietly by. The Rio Grande is a modest affair, but Some wigeons and gadwalls picked in the shallows for their brunch, and it was about as lovely as an Albuquerque spring morning could be.