Lo and behold, the clouds did not drip at 6 a.m., so my walking shoes hit the wet asphalt on Magnolia Street. The neighborhood appeared to sleep still.
The birds, however, had awakened. Bushtits twittered in the trees but remained invisible. American Crows silently glided from tree to telephone wire to tree.
A Northern Mockingbird sat on a telephone wire and appeared to have woken up with a bad-hair day on the wrong side of the roost. The bird preened by repeatedly rubbing its head under its wings and shaking out its tail, grumbling intermittently.
The wild parrots (Red-masked Parakeets?) took off from their palm-tree roosts near Costa Mesa Street. Their distinctive squawks and rapid wingbeats made the 14 birds stand out quite well as they flew southwest in the gray sky.
Black Phoebes called from white picket fences and zipped across the street. I had hoped to see some sunshine in the form of a Cassin's Kingbird's yellow belly but failed to see or hear any of those flycatchers.
The birds, however, hadn't failed to set an uplifting tone for a dismal-looking morning. In fact, they never fail to add color -- via their sounds and movements -- to an apparently lifeless scene.
Bushtit courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.