Monday, June 06, 2005

Downtown San Jose

Even in downtown San Jose there are elements of wildness, proving that if the habitat is there, the creatures it serves can survive. Early this afternoon I discovered scrub jays nesting on the rafter of a dilapidated shed behind a Victorian house just a few blocks from San Jose State University. It struck me as a clever place to nest, fairly secure from predators, in a part of the backyard rarely seen or used.

A little later in the afternoon I was delighted to find rough-winged swallows flying quite close to me in the downtown park on Market Street. There were many people about besides myself, but the swallows seemed heedless of them, intent on seeking their insect prey. They were swooping as low as about a foot from the ground over the turfgrass. I suppose the fountain area, and the linear nature of the park with its large trees, echoes the typically riparian habitats they commonly frequent. The many native coast live oaks in the park probably also help produce some insects for them. I suppose the park is a secondary foraging ground, with the riparian habitat along the river their primary foraging and nesting territory. I had never been so close to the species as this afternoon in the downtown park -- repeatedly they flew within a few feet of me, and even between people on the broad walkways!

Yesterday on the driveway here I came upon mourning doves -- they seemed rather fat -- lots of weed seeds in this neighborhood. Like the swallows of today, they seemed more habituated than usual to human presence and I got much closer to them than one typically ever can get to birds in wilder habitats.

It delights me to be able to more closely observe such beautiful creatures!

8 Comments:

At 12:57 PM, Blogger Silvianne said...

I just came across a great gardening website called AtlGardening.com*. Not only does it feature articles for the gardening enthusiast, but has become a great meteor garden
resource for me in my landscaping effort. The webmaster of this site has recently added a book section that seemed to expand everytime I go there.
What I like about it is that I get instant access to the book and don't have to wait for the book(s) to arrive which of course saves me money.....no shipping charges.... in some cases. Great idea. I love it. You must check it out today. Let me know what you think.

 
At 1:30 PM, Blogger kirsten said...

Great website! I've always been really interested in keeping a yard that provides habitat - even though I rent, I help my landlords out with our yard to provide habitat for squirrels (unfortunately, the introduced sort), birds, and other wild things. Keep up the good work.

 
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At 8:39 PM, Blogger Rody Bee said...

Just saw your comment about the fat mourning doves. I live in Golden Gate Heights, SF, and for years there has been a pair of mourning doves hanging around, some times 3 or 4. One day several years ago at least 15 doves showed up to feast on seeds from some weeds that had gone to seed. My question--how did they all know this was the place to be?

 
At 2:56 PM, Blogger Debbie Ballentine said...

Hey Jeffrey,

What a great post on San Jose. Guadalupe River is a wonderful corridor through San Jose and provides food, shelter and water for birds and other wildlife.

Thanks so much for your consultation on butterflies for my garden. It helped a lot. FYI, there are two waterways near my home. One is Guadalupe River and I don't know the name of the other, but it's north east of me. It's pretty cool to know that I'm likely to get A LOT of butterflies if I do my job right.

Get blog. I'd like to subscribe but don't see an option for that.

Debbie Ballentine
www.NativeHeartLandscapes.com

 
At 2:56 PM, Blogger Debbie Ballentine said...

Hey Jeffrey,

What a great post on San Jose. Guadalupe River is a wonderful corridor through San Jose and provides food, shelter and water for birds and other wildlife.

Thanks so much for your consultation on butterflies for my garden. It helped a lot. FYI, there are two waterways near my home. One is Guadalupe River and I don't know the name of the other, but it's north east of me. It's pretty cool to know that I'm likely to get A LOT of butterflies if I do my job right.

Get blog. I'd like to subscribe but don't see an option for that.

Debbie Ballentine
www.NativeHeartLandscapes.com

 
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