It's still going to be winter for quite a while yet. Perhaps less so in California than other parts of the world, I admit, but it seems almost spring like this morning.
The local red-shouldered hawk, (Buteo lineatus), population seems to be out in full force today. A pair has spent the morning hunting in our vineyard, hopefully successful in partaking of a fresh, juicy breakfast of Pocket Gopher. Others flew overhead, their voices loud in warning, for whatever reason, to the ever circling Turkey Vultures, (Cathartes aura). These super ugly birds, by the way, drive the Vinodogs crazy. Not hawks, not crows, just vultures.
Gophers are responsible for the death of many a vine in the vineyard. They nibble their way through the roots which eventually causes the vine to die. Then they move on to the next vine!!! In her day V1 used to do a pretty good job of keeping the rodent inhabitants of our little part of Napa in check. In her prime she was very adept at dispatching the little devils in two quick chomps. However she has slowed up of late and Vinomaker and I have had to employ other means of 'pest management'.
Owl boxes are one approach, so we have several strategically dotted around the property. Alas, as of yet we have no occupants. I don't understand why, they are really nice boxes made by a friend, the view is fabulous and the rent is free...meals included.