This fall the hackberry bushes are covered with fruit, probably because of all the rains we’ve had. They are everywhere … this bush is the one just north of Camino a Los Vientos on the east side (around 6:30 this morning). Later in the walk, on the way back, I saw a glossy black Phainopepla with bright red eye atop the orange berries and glossy green leaves of a hackberry … perfect. Also a Cooper’s Hawk, with the red-brown edge of its shoulder feathers glowing nicely in the morning sun. Autumn is in the air in a slight cooling in the morning and most especially in the different angle of the sun’s rays.
Leaf-cutter ants have been busy. I don’t remember seeing them so active at this time of year, but perhaps that is also a result of the rains. The trails have a different color when they are the dark green leaves of the creosote bush, or the funny black shriveled buds of I don’t know what, instead of the yellow and pale green of the paloverde in spring.
The Devil’s Claw of a couple of weeks ago have now shriveled to the dry black claws that given them their name.