I saw a lovely flock of swallows this evening out on the grounds of our ashram in Crow Canyon. It's a really beautiful spot, and the swallows' dips and soarings were spectacular against the evening sky, the live oaks and buckeyes and the grassy hills.
The other day, in Oakland near the live oak pictured in the previous post, I watched a tiny green hummingbird take a birdbath at a garden fountain. The fountain was shaped like an umbrella with two little tykes holding the handle underneath, and it was made of some sort of faux-copper. The water burbled up almost invisibly from the top of the stem of the umbrella and then spread out over the surface of the parapluie, dripping off the rim of the umbrella into a basin below, making a very small tinkling sound. The little hummer took its miniscule bath up on top of the umbrella in the shallow film of water spreading out from the center. A first-time experience for me as a witness. Very sweet!
On the same day, I spotted a Lesser Goldfinch taking a prolonged drink and a sort of hover-bath at another garden fountain. Another first. I'd never seen a bird like it before and did my best to get a good look. Took me a while to identify it later from my birding book at home. This one had the dark cap and a greenish upper breast, quite large white wing patches on dark wings, slender body-shape, black beak distinguishing it from the rounder, yellow-beaked American Goldfinch or the rounder yellower Narcissus Flycatcher. Not rare, but a less common bird in our area.