At the end of August, there was non-stop pollinator and migratory bird activity in the backyard.
Unfortunately, at the same time I learned a terrifying lesson about backing up photos — or, more precisely, about the risk of not backing up photos. I lost a few pictures due to a corrupt external hard drive, but it could have been far worse. I haven’t quite recovered from the experience.
Baltimore Oriole (August 22, 2022)
This Baltimore Oriole snuck in the stream with the Goldfinches. I did a double-take when one of the Goldfinches seemed unusually large. This is only the 2nd time I’ve ever seen an Oriole in our yard.
I assume this Oriole must be eating Elderberries, and Virginia Creeper berries if they’re ripe enough. Our rarely used Oriole feeder is out now to tempt the bird with a half an orange and grape jelly. I hope it sticks around.
Facebook memory: Pasture Thistle (August 22, 2020)
Woohoo! It looks like a party at the Pasture Thistles. This bumblebee looks so happy to find my 8-foot tall native thistles that she raised her arms to cheer. Then she dug in for a nectar drink. Many work colleagues joined her.
I’ve also seen a hummingbird and a Black Swallowtail butterfly visit the thistles for nectar. Goldfinches have begun to eat its seeds. I’m glad I planted them where we can see the activity from our main seating area.
American Redstart female catching insects (August 25, 2020)
This pretty little warbler came by the stream, but didn’t go in the water. Instead, she hopped around the trees and shrubs catching insects. I think she gobbled a few bees or wasps near the Purple Coneflowers.
According to the Cornell Ornithology Lab’s All About Birds, “American Redstarts are incredibly active insectivores that seem never to stand still. They rapidly spread their cocked tails [last photo], exposing the orange or yellow in a quick flash, which often startles insect prey into flushing, whereupon the Redstart darts after it, attempting to catch it in the air.”
If you look closely, she has a small chip at the end of her beak.
Battle beneath the bird feeder: Field Mouse vs. Song Sparrow (August 23, 2022)
There’s a children’s book series called Epic Animal Matchups that one of our boys used to read that pitted lions against tigers, spiders against scorpions, and so on, speculating which would win. Yesterday, in the backyard there was a no-so-epic matchup of a Field Mouse versus a Song Sparrow under the birdfeeder. In case you’re wondering, the Song Sparrow was victorious and the mouse scurried away. Such drama in the backyard.
Acorn haul (August 24, 2022)
Apparently the neighbour’s Red Oak acorns are ready to eat. This squirrel took a whole bunch to its nest in the backyard maple tree.
Blooming giants (August 25, 2022)
In front of the hedgerow, I grow very tall native herbaceous plants, ranging from 6 and 8 feet tall. These photos include Ironweed (dark purple), Field Thistle (light purple), Cup Plant (bright yellow), and Giant Yellow Hyssop (pale yellow). They’re all blooming now with pollinators visiting the flowers, Goldfinches eating seeds, and even a Common Yellowthroat Warbler gleaning insects from the leaves.
Following heavy rain, many of the Cup Plants and a few Hyssops flopped over. I plan to move and divide some Switchgrass from the front garden to this area to help hold up the plants next year. I suspect that the hedgerow shrubs are casting a bit too much shade as they grow larger.
Popular Ironweed (August 27 to 29, 2022)
The tall Ironweed plants in front of the hedgerow have been blooming for a couple of weeks now. I’ve photographed many different kinds of pollinators visiting the flowers to drink nectar and collect white pollen:
- Monarch butterfly;
- a bumblebee;
- Bi-colored Green Sweat Bee;
- Metallic Green Sweat Bee;
- Honeybee with white pollen;
- Small Carpenter Bee;
- a leafcutter bee;
- unknown stocky black bee;
- a cuckoo bee with its pointy abdomen for depositing eggs;
- a flower fly.
Bay-breasted Warbler (August 28, 2022)
I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen a Bay-breasted Warbler. It hangs out with the Goldfinches, and even looks like a big Goldfinch (back bird in 5th photo is the Bay-breasted, while the front bird is a Goldfinch).