Mockingbird Bath

3 Apr

It’s very dry here in Central Florida, and I have a broken sprinkler in the back yard (Zone 3) that needs to be fixed.  Before I took myself out to the hardware store, though, I needed to run my semi-annual irrigation system check.

One of the rotor sprinklers in Zone 1 was not getting full coverage, and it took me an hour to reset it.  I still don’t know exactly what I did to reset the arc, but the grass along the sidewalk is now getting water.

Zone 4 was fine with no problems, but Zone 2!  Every single sprinkler head was clogged with mud and debris.  I had to take off the spray nozzle and extract the compacted filter from six pop up sprinklers and three stationary ones.  What a mess!  I had to do each one while the water was running, or else I couldn’t access the stupid thing (when I turned the water off, the head disappeared below the level of the grass, and even the dirt).  So I would detach the nozzle and filter, get a gusher 3 feet high, and have to fight the gusher to insert a new filter and screw the nozzle head back on.  I was thoroughly soaked, as I think you can imagine, by the time the fighting ended.

While I was cooling down on my backyard porch, I heart two mockingbirds screaming at each other and looked to see what they were fighting over.   One was sitting on the fence looking down at the other, who was flitting and fluttering in and out of the Confederate jasmine climbing the fence.

At first I wondered if this was a mating ritual with the male indicating a good nesting spot and showing off his plumage at the same time.  When the one sitting on the fence flew off, the one in the jasmine didn’t seem to notice, and finally “he” hopped up on the top of the fence, too.  He was still fluttering and flapping his wings, and suddenly I knew what was really going on.  He was taking a bath!

Part of Zone 2 is in the backyard (the South side) and the jasmine got a thorough wet-down while I was wrestling with the clogged heads in the front yard.  Since there was no water in the pedestal bird bath, this enterprising mockingbird was taking advantage of the water still dripping from the Confederate jasmine’s leaves.  He preened a bit as he sat on the fence after his bath, and then flew after the one that had already left.

This little vision of nature in action made the tedious mess of flushing the irrigation system well worth the effort!

This is a little olive-backed Sunbird taking her bath among some wet leaves:

Olive-backed-Sunbird-bath-female-4a Olive-backed-Sunbird-bath-female-1a

How cute is that?!fairybathsign

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