It has been a bit slower than most falls, yet there are some interesting sightings to share!
Eastern Bluebirds have taken to coming to the dripper baths in the afternoons. Some days, I'll see six or seven of them taking turns.
Magnolia Warblers have come in several days. One doesn't always get to see the whole bird, but with this species, if one sees the tail and it has this feature, it is considered unique, diagnostic or Dx for Magnolia Warbler.
Ahead of a major cool front on 9/10/22, 28 species of birds came into the yard and to the water features. There had to be150 American Robins that day. It was a constant stream of them with three in the basin, and four or five more waiting in the wings at times.
A young Rose-breasted Grosbeak wanted a turn! It had to beg for a drink from this Northern Flicker, which had displaced the robins for a bit.
What bird is this? Yes, another Magnolia Warbler was in the mix.
Now, we sure don't see this very often! A Yellow-billed Cuckoo slipped down through the canopy to bathe at the sump puddle. This bird had its own 'cuckoo' version of the hokey-pokey! It plopped into a tight spot at the edge, spun a half-turn, splashed a bit, spun again and kept this up for a few minutes before perching to shake off. I only remember a few times that I've seen this species come to water. Remarkable flair, eh?
Red-eyed Vireos were in this mixed flock. The adult has red eyes, the immature bird in the second photo has brown eyes.
There were several Northern Parulas, two males and this female. All spent time foraging in the native hydrangeas (Hydrangea arborescens).
Two FOS Cedar Waxwings came down near the bubbler. The adult left this immature bird to figure out how to get a drink on its own. This happens often with different species. Cardinals, robins, wrens, etc. will drop off the young birds, leaving them for a life lesson. It reminds me of the "Mother's Day Out" programs when our kids were in nursery school! I'm humbled to think the birds seem to feel some trust in the safety of our sanctuary.
A Carolina Chickadee was not happy that a Tennessee Warbler was at 'his' bubbler! Eventually, all three birds got what they needed.
QUIZ BIRD! (Easy-peasy)
Yesterday, I heard the 'little toy horn' of a Red-breasted Nuthatch! It was another 30 minutes before I saw it, working along a branch of the pond cypress. This photo is one I took in April, but it will have to serve until this little guy comes back again. Hopefully, we'll be seeing them this winter. They always bring a smile!
Yesterday afternoon, the Eastern Bluebirds were back. One did NOT want this male to come near 'his' dripper! So, squabbles happen between the same species, too. There's always something!
The heat is on with temperatures going back up into the upper 90's next week.
When will we see some more migrants, is Fall really here yet?
Warblers are moving through! And yes, these are all warblers...
Black-throated Green Warbler
Wilson's Warbler, female
Canada Warbler, female
Black-and-white Warbler, female
Blackburnian Warbler, the Firethroat!
Blackburnian Warbler (what a contortionist!) joined by a Chestnut-sided Warbler
Words cannot describe!
To see all the warblers since the last post: Warblers since 8/29/22
If you'd like to see all the birds since the last post, including scruffy Eastern Bluebirds: Birds since 8/29/22
May this bring a bit of cheer to you...
The Songbird and Butterfly Garden is a riot of color in August!
This summer, there is a White Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis 'alba'). This is not a plant that I purchased, but a naturally occurring strain. It has a touch of pink in it.
In August, 2011, this hummingbird sipped nectar from the flowers of the first one that grew in the garden.The bird may have pollinated the seeds of the plant that is growing right now! Perhaps the seeds have lain dormant, and rain exposed them this year.
Meadow Phlox (Phlox paniculata) and Rose Mallows (Hibiscus lasiocarpus) are also in bloom.
A week ago, the first Chestnut-sided Warblers showed up, all first year females.
A Least Flycatcher was also seen perched and fly-catching from a limb in a Shingle Oak (Quercus imbricaria).
The Chestnut-sided Warblers continued to come into the bubbler area all through the day. There were at least two, maybe five or six.
The next evening, we saw another Monarch in the garden, this time it was a female. So, the following morning, I spent more time looking around the garden. Maybe I'd missed something!
To my surprise, there were two good-sized Monarch caterpillars on the Marsh Milkweeds! Obviously, a female had visited, perhaps 10 days earlier, to lay the eggs. Other insects were also busy in the garden.
In one patch of milkweed, a Praying Mantis was hiding in plain sight.
Two native bees were on the Ironweed (Vernonia arkansana).
A skipper species sipped nectar on Eastern Blazingstar (Liatris scariosa).
A walking stick was on the railing as I passed by.
We were finishing dinner when the birds started fussing. Dan saw the large bird land near the base of the Pond Cypress. All this fuss was for a Barred Owlet! It was our first confirmation of a young bird this year. We'd been hearing the family hootenanny quite often at dusk, at dawn and during the night.
As you watch those Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, adult and immature alike, chase each other from feeders and flowers, here are some interesting words to consider that were posted on MOBirds today from Lanny Chambers, licensed hummingbird bander.
"The next week is historically the annual peak for Ruby-throated Hummingbird numbers in Missouri. Bear in mind, this is mainly due to the flow of southward migration, and many of today's birds are not the same individuals you saw yesterday. As for the "4X rule," I think it may be conservative; at my home I almost never see more than two hummers at one time (i.e., in a chase), yet a couple of days ago I banded nine in one afternoon, without a single recapture of a previously-banded bird. So, even yards without hordes of hummingbirds are probably feeding many more individuals than is obvious. A friend and fellow bander in Colorado was feeding 9 gallons of syrup daily last time I talked with him two weeks ago, and expected to reach 12 gallons by Labor Day. A rough rule of thumb is 1,000 birds per gallon per day. Imagine filling 25 30-ounce feeders twice every day!
Keep your feeders clean, and watch for Rufous or other western hummers passing through between now and late December. Some of you will remember the Allen's Hummingbird that visited me on Thanksgiving Day 2008."
Thank you, Lanny! Typically, I clean and change the feeders every fourth morning. That schedule in this heat and humidity seems to prevent black mold from starting up around the ports.
Enjoy the birds, more migrants will be showing up soon!
What is August without some fun?
A scruffy Brown Thrasher popped into view one morning, Eastern Wood-Pewees are still being seen. Blue Jays are a part of the daily action!
These young Common Grackles were investigating the pond, one to get water and the second found a spider in that web for its lunch!
Ruby-throated hummingbirds are busy from dawn until dusk, protecting their patch of flowers or a feeder and checking out the bubbler.
Another migrant arrived on Monday, 8-15-22. It was a young female Baltimore Oriole. The bird was thirsty!
A Waved Sphinx moth (Ceratomia undulosa) flew in while I was photographing that same day. Its host plants are ash, oak, hawthorn and fringe tree. Fully grown caterpillars pupate underground and the adults probably do not feed.
Yesterday morning, the Eastern Blazingstar (Liatris scariosa) was blooming nicely and so was the Marsh Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata). Still, there was no evidence yet of Monarch caterpillars on the milkweed.
A bit later when I checked, there was the first Monarch of the year! It was flying about, sipping nectar and then resting on a coneflower head when I found it again.
It was a nice, fresh looking male as indicated by the thinner veins with the black spots or swollen veins on the hind wings. Last photo shows both sexes for a comparison.
Today has been a busy day with the cool front that came in overnight. I'll save those stories until next time!
It's August, and daylight is a bit less each day, nearly an hour lost since the Summer Solstice.
However, it seems there is more activity in this condensed time frame.
There is always something going on in a native garden!
We were having breakfast one morning when I noticed the spicebush (Lindera benzoin) near the pond had a folded leaf. Caterpillars! I found quite a few on the different plants in the east beds.
Here is a female Spicebush Swallowtail laying eggs in 2020. I've been seeing one around, they're quick about it.
Eastern Wood-Pewees have been busy catching flying insects in the woodland and near the pond.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird numbers are picking up.
Northern Cardinals are still feeding their begging young. The two males look a bit worse for the wear as they are losing feathers in summer molt.
A young Red-bellied Woodpecker has been teasing sunflower hearts out of the feeder with its tongue.
Dan's weather station has recorded 17.67" of rain since 7-1-22. Our whole yard is basically a rain garden, but this has been really challenging. It has been so hot, birds are still coming in to cool off, bathe and get sips of water. An American Robin and Northern Flicker were in the basin today, and a Blue Jay drank at the bubbler.
There are some bright spots. Our little grove of Pawpaws (Asimina triloba) now has one tree with fruit.
Ironweed is blooming, and the hummingbirds have been drinking nectar from the purple blossoms.
Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinals) is a favorite of the hummingbirds, too. But look carefully and you'll see a tiny syrphid fly hovering on the right side of the brilliant red spire.
Today, a Tiger Swallowtail was on the Marsh Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata). But when will we see the officially endangered Monarch?
Take care, stay cool!