Eventually, i gave up. I received a nice ID this morning via a group on Flickr, and find it is a member of a family with seven species (an eighth identified in the Middle Eocene). Only two of the species are in the US. I feel satisfied with my failure to complete the ID.
I had spent a great deal of time earlier struggling with the ID of a flower that is in the Mallow family. I had, thanks to the year's practice, taken photos that captured all the features i needed. I kept keying out the plant to a rare species of the Channel Islands, and trying again. Eventually, i realized that the plant is available in nurseries and, it turns out, is widely cultivated.
Most of these IDs were made sitting on the deck. Hummingbirds are visiting the feeder i bought this weekend, finches and chickadees at the seed feeders, and a towhee keeps perching on the rail to see if the coast is clear to feed on the spilt seed. The California towhee's call is a single high pitched chirp with about two seconds between them. The bird is unceasing. Chirp.
It's just enough time to hope the bird has flown off to drive someone else mad. Then there's Greycie Loo chittering back. Chirp. Chitter. Chirp. Chitter. The call has qualities much like a dripping faucet, but louder and higher pitched.
Today will be hot.
This is also posted at http://elainegrey.dreamwidth.org/457782.html .