Birds continue to be active in the backyard garden and at the stream.
Least Flycatcher hunting (August 30, 2020)
2020: This flycatcher spent the afternoon in one of our ‘Rosthern’ Crabapple trees surveying the mini-meadow for snacks. It would swoop down, catch a flying insect, and then return to the crabapple, over and over again. I love watching this ‘sallying’ behaviour in flycatchers and warblers. This bird is fueling up for its trip to the Southern U.S. or Mexico for the winter.
2022: While we haven’t seen any flycatchers in the yard this summer, we have been seeing lots of different warblers.
Scarlet Tanager (August 31, 2022)
Here’s another bird that looks like a big Goldfinch. This Scarlet Tanager stopped by for a drink and a bath in the stream.
There’s a ton of bird activity in the backyard now. Birds are eating seeds off of plants, foraging for insects in the shrubs and trees, and visiting the stream.
In the midst of all this activity, the external hard drive where I store my photos and videos became corrupt. At the first hint of trouble, we backed up the files overnight, and in the end I only lost a handful of insect photos. Honestly, this was a terrifying lesson to learn — and one that I shouldn’t have had to learn the hard way. All’s well that ends well, I guess.
Are you my mother? (August 31, 2022)
I’m not the only one that thinks the Scarlet Tanager looks like a female Goldfinch. This juvenile Goldfinch approached the Tanager for a snack, only to be squawked at and scared away.
At this point, the juvenile Goldfinches are perfectly capable of eating their own food from plants and the sunflower seed feeder without their parents’ help, However, they still chase mom and dad around looking for handouts.
No-so-epic animal matchup round 2: Bunny vs. Chipmunk
This Cottontail Rabbits was very busy eating grass when a Chipmumk zoomed across the lawn on a collision course with the rabbit. The rabbit hopped straight up in the air to make way for the Chipmunk. There’s no stopping Chippy when he wants to eat sunflower seeds under the feeder.
Two Magnolia Warblers (August 31, 2022)
Two Magnolia Warblers flitted through the hedgerows and low in the trees hunting for insects. Boy were they difficult to track and photograph because they just didn’t stay still.
Goldfinch eating Pasture Thistle seeds (August 31, 2022)
The Goldfinch families are enjoying seeds on various plants in the mini-meadow and near the hedgerow — especially these native Pasture Thistle seeds.
Tower of sleeping bumblebees (September 1, 2022)
In the early evening, I noticed 3 bumblebees sleeping on a Rough Blazing Star flower stalk. I know that butterflies and bumblebees like to visit the flowers for nectar (2nd photo), but I didn’t know it was such a popular spot for sleeping.
Rough Blazing Stars are the last liatris species to bloom in my garden. This plant is growing and blooming well, despite the fact that it is in part shade and in dry soil beneath a maple tree. It must have self-seeded here.
Bunny digging a nest?
We’ve seen a Cottontail Rabbit digging leaves and other debris out of an old groundhog den under the shed. We suspect that it is making a nest. North American Cottontails don’t live in underground dens like European rabbits, but I don’t think this looks like a feral domesticated rabbit.
This old groundhog den has had a range of tenants since the groundhog vacated it several years ago. We’ve seen a Deer Mouse live in it, Common Eastern Bumblebees, and a Chipmunk. Perhaps a rabbit family will live there too.
Warbling Vireo (August 29, 2022)
There are at least 2 Red-eyed Vireos that visit the backyard (3rd photo), but this is a different Vireo. Warbling Vireos are smaller, rounder, more brown, and have less distinct white eye brows. This bird hopped around continuously looking for insects.
At the same time, there was a Magnolia Warbler in the Honey Locust too, so it was difficult to know which bird to track. There was also a Hummingbird visiting the Cardinal Flowers. It often seems that many birds visit the yard and stream all at once.
Blue Jay parent and juvenile (September 4, 2022)
Despite the wind and showers this afternoon, these two Blue Jays visited the stream and feeder. (I was sitting under our canopy because I had been caught in the rain while planting native seedlings.) First, the parent came by and called for its offspring. When the juvenile arrived, they took turns at the feeder and each had a bath, although they could have just stood in the rain.
After bathing, the Blue Jay parent poked around in the dirt looking for insects or worms. The juvenile then copied its parent and poked around too. They made quiet cooing-gurgling sounds to each other every so often. I’m glad I got to witness their behaviour and interactions.
2022: This year, we have a communicative pair of Blue Jays visiting the stream. I take photos of them each time I see them to track their head feather growth. Both were quite bald when they molted. Maybe these are the same Blue Jays from 2 years ago.