Winter, to Summer, just like that:)
From near frost to 88° flintstone scale, 32°Celcius for us…that’s warm. The horses and donkeys have not even shed out their Winter coats completely…it is a time to sweat! and speaking of sweat, did you know there is a bright Green Bee called a Sweat Bee! They were clamoring all over the very first chive blossom that dared to open!
Life is exploding all around us! The grass needs to be mown! Yikes, all this work to do! ha! Wonderful outdoors battling the legions of black flies and mosquitos…ah, Canada:) It is cacophony of sounds and smells we have missed all Winter. Did I mention the Hummingbirds are back:) I think I was doing a little happy dance, good thing the neighbours weren’t about…”Who is that crazed person leaping up and down?”
The young lad he has decided all the feeders are his and flies back and forth over the roof from front to back, guarding from the phone line in the back, to a low tree branch in the front. He is quite bold as well. I was watering a newly acquired rose (thank you Jennifer) when he sat in the puddle beside the plant cheerfully flapping his wings as I sprinkled him with the watering can. When it was empty he looked up at me as if to say “That’s all? I was just getting started!” I think we are going to have a wonderful friendship! The lady is quite shy, she comes to the feeder in the shade and quickly zips off towards the maples, her beak had some cobwebs on it one morning so nest building she is doing! Yeah! Not right overhead in the large maple like last year but somewhere not too far away!
Out on the rocks under the Junipers the eastern Towhee’s are foraging and looking for love! You can hear them rustling in the leaf litter and occasionally they climb to a branch and belt out quite the tune! “The classic Eastern Towhee song, given by males, is a loud drink-your-tea! lasting about 1 second. The first note (drink) is sharp and metallic, and the final note (tea) is a musical trill. Sometimes the song will start with more than one drink” Thanks Cornell Birds! I didn’t catch the female, she is a lovely rust colour all over but I know where to go back to look now! Mosquito hat net and full body armour ready;) hahahahaha! And there are brighter splashes of colour at the feeders!
The Rose Breasted Grosbeaks are back as well! The handsome male with his bright pink/red chest and the beautifully streaked brown female. They are vying at the feeders with the cowbirds. I learned that the Brown-headed Cowbird is North America’s most common “brood parasite.” A female cowbird makes no nest of her own, but instead lays her eggs in the nests of other bird species, who then raise the young cowbirds. It seems Rose Breasted Grosbeaks are often target nests, she will push out a few of their eggs and lay her own, what would you rather do all Summer? Raise babies or eat and fly around…hhhmmmm….she’s a slacker! Recent genetic analyses have shown that most individual females specialize on one particular host species…Look out Mrs. Rose Breasted Grosbeak! Mr. Brown Headed cowbird says he has no say in what the lady does;) The Rose Breasted Grosbeaks build such flimsy nests that eggs are often visible from below through the nest bottom. Maybe a good way to tip out those Cowbird eggs;) The male Rose-breasted Grosbeak takes a turn incubating the eggs for several hours during the day, while the female incubates the rest of the day and all night long. Both sexes sing quietly to each other when they exchange places. The male sometimes sings his normal song at full volume from inside the nest! Just so happy to have that splash of beautiful colour back!
and not just Grosbeaks…last year, the orioles were so shy I never saw them except for brief glimpses in the bush…not NOW! Seems we have an Baltimore Oriole Fan Club! Males, juveniles and a lady!
I was scratching my head on how to make a jelly feeder after I saw him, and after some online searching came up with this. A small masons jar with the ring, some fishing line, why fishing line you might ask? Ants don’t like to climb down it ( I use it for my hummingbird feeders as well) and squirrels don’t either! bread twisty ties to keep the three strands in place for now:)
These Hairy and Red Bellied Woodpeckers have an air of discontent and disgust for the latest arrivals. Here they are, having spent the entire Winter fighting it out to survive, and who shows up, the snow birds, Grosbeaks and Orioles, sporting an orange tan, or pink sunburn from their times in the tropics! I’d be irritated too;) ha!
So, it’s pretty busy and loud around the house right now. The Oriole gets mouthy if I’m too close to the feeder and is not shy about telling me so;) You’d think I was a birder;) I just love all the life that that passes through where we live and the surrounding countryside. We had a beautiful Ruffed Grouse saunter across the Long Lake Road the other day, usually all I ever see is a backside and whir of wings as they leave me thinking, I’ll never get a picture of one of those…she stopped and posed on the rail fence like a runway model!
Things are slithering around as well! Down at the water we heard a rustling on the waters edge, a snake was shedding it’s skin I think, couldn’t quite make it out, but someone else had. A Fisher Marten was standing 15′ away, also staring at the snake, back at us, then at the snake as if to say…”That is mine, back off!” As we had the cats on the leashes we decided to retreat and leave him/her to it’s meal was the best course of action, when I dashed back a few minutes later, both snake, and Marten were gone. It was beautiful! Smaller than some we have seen but that amazing tail! Those are probably the footprints I saw on the stairs in the snow.
Back in the woods as I followed the Towhee song I had a few other encounters:) “What did I do to deserve the raspberry?” I asked the beautiful doe that kept me company while I was looking for the Eastern Towhees. She nibbled away quietly as I wandered about. They often take off running but her, nope, dohdeedoh…my forest:) Several Garter snakes crossed my path and I nearly stepped on the fellow enjoying the tree frog for lunch…always good to look down as well as up for wildlife! Herpetologists rarely get bitten by rattlesnakes our friend Bob once told me, ornithologist, yup….ha! Then there are all the flying things! Dragonflies, moths and butterflies, but that will have to wait for a few days! Dinner will not make itself tonight so I shall sign off and send abrazos your way. Keep enjoying the amazing diversity of wildlife returning to our neck of the woods (not talking about the drunk guy on the jet ski here, or the other forms of humanity that are not quite sure how to coexist with the rest of the world, other humans included..;)
Saludos amigos! Stay safe, get vaccinated, we may just survive after all:)