Young birds were the highlight in the garden this week. The only birds that nest in our yard are sparrows and American Robbins. However, once baby birds leave their nests, other bird families visit our yard. It’s been quite hot and humid, so there’s been lots of activity at the stream too.
Bees visiting New Jersey Tea flowers (June 25, 2021)
My New Jersey Tea shrubs are starting to flower, but it’s been too hot or too rainy to stay outside and take photos. I took these pictures last summer.
A couple of years ago, I bought New Jersey Tea seedlings from onplants.ca. They’ve grown and flowered very well, despite the fact that they’re not planted in ideal conditions. Lucky for me and the bees, these shrubs bloom on new wood, so I end up with lots of flowers despite the fact that rabbits eat them to the ground each winter.
A different crowd at the Golden Alexanders (June 12, 2022)
My Golden Alexanders are at the tail end of their 3 weeks in bloom. A lot of small pollinators visited the flowers, especially wasps and flower flies. According to Heather Holm, in her book *Wasps: Their Biology, Diversity, and Role as Beneficial Insects and Pollinators of Native Plants*, wasps favour white, yellow flowers.
I grow both Golden Alexanders and their prairie relative, Heart-leaved Alexanders. Heart-leaved Alexanders are only about 2 feet tall, whereas Golden Alexanders are closer to 3 feet. Both are host plants for Black Swallowtail butterflies.
The only drawback to Golden Alexanders is that it looks a lot like invasive, toxic Wild Parsnip — although Golden Alexanders is shorter and blooms a lot earlier. Now that my plants have finished flowering, I’m going to move the Golden Alexanders to the back garden and include only Heart-leaved Alexanders in the front pollinator garden.
Juvenile Robin (June 20, 2022)
A think that American Robins nested in our front Hackberry tree. Now, the juveniles are out-and-about begging from their parents and foraging a bit on their own. This youngster was flinging leaves around looking for worms and insects. The family of 4 spends a lot of time eating Serviceberries too.
The juveniles have spotted breasts, instead of solid red ones like their parents. They’re also very noisy.
Cautious Cedar Waxwing (June 14, 2022)
It takes some birds a while to figure out the stream. This Cedar Waxwing watched Goldfinches bathing. Then, it hopped around a bit until it found the right spot for its bath.
Downy dad feeding junior (June 24, 2022)
Today, this Downy Woodpecker dad fed his juvenile (1st photo) hulled sunflower seeds from the backyard birdfeeder. His offspring was very patient and quiet, perhaps because there weren’t any siblings around to compete for the food.
The juvenile cardinals, on the other hand, are hiding in the hedgerow peeping continuously and shrilly begging for food. I haven’t seen them yet, but boy can I hear them!
Finch dad can’t get a break (June 14, 2022)
This busy House Finch dad couldn’t even have a bath in peace. His fledgeling followed him to the stream and raised such a ruckus that dad had to go get some seeds.
A Brown Thrasher visits the stream (June 24, 2022)
Holey moley! Yesterday a Brown Thrasher visited the stream. They’re very shy, so the bird flew away when I took these photos. Afterward, I stayed still so it could come back to the stream and bathe in peace.
There’s also a Chickadee family and a Cardinal family in the yard, but I haven’t been able to get photos of them yet. I just don’t have enough patience to wait for them to come into view while it is so hot a humid out. Maybe next week.
I also saw Tiger Swallowtail and Eastern Comma butterflies but didn’t manage to get photos. No Monarchs yet.