I noticed him first in the bird bath several months ago. He was hard to miss. He has a nose like a steam shovel. I called my sister who knows a lot about birds and we decided he was a Thrasher, either Le Conte or California.
But he was not. I saw him more frequently. Turns out he wasn't just digging up my roots, he was putting them down as well. So to speak.
I saw him digging a few days ago for bugs in the back lawn. And he was tossing up more divots than a bad golfer. Fortunately, the back garden isn't as formal as the front, and as it sits adjacent to the vegetable garden I'm happy to have Mr. Thrasher trashing the grub colony.
My friend from childhood, Leslie, a nature lover, says the Thrasher usually lives in chaparral, and my property must be just close enough to the foothills to make him think he's in his zone.
He's a curious fellow. When you approach him, he hops, rather than flies away. Leslie reports that Thrashers like to stay near the ground and thus are known to be very alarmed at the approach of cats.
Since Mr. Thrasher loves to dig, I began to worry about the front garden. You remember what it looked like when my resident 'possum, and his friend the skunk had a sort of mud wrestling event and took some of my lawn out in the process.
Fun with sod at Fort Chapman, earlier this season.
We found the marsupial and his stinky friend recalcitrant and recidivist, and elected to have them "relocated" by the Creature Capture company. We asked them no questions. Then we replanted the sod.
Thanks to a neighbor with a landscaping company we were able to get the damage repaired.
The lawn is now growing back nicely and the front garden is looking lovely after the rain.
We've had an abundance of rain this spring, always a blessing in California with its dry summers.
I did see the Mr. Thrasher attack the new sod in the front garden about a week ago, and after I chased him away, I place screens there in order to discourage him. In the meantime, my pyracantha, golden current, and Toyon berries are all out and he's found them a distraction from the lawn. Praise be.
It's a good thing. If he even looks sideways at that front sod, I'll have a big surprise in store for him.
I'll get myself a cat.
Don't look at me that way. You're the one who decided Fort Chapman was in the chaparral!
MORE ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA THRASHER
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