So far, Summer here has been fairly wet and cloudy.
Yesterday was brighter, and while we worked in the garden, a Monarch and an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail were seen, mainly sipping nectar on Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis). Hope to catch those butterflies soon! But here is an image that Dan took of the Buttonbush bloom, which is just filled with nectar for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
Young Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are beginning to zip through the garden, hitting the Black-and-blue Salvia and the bell-shaped flowers of this native vine climbing the arbor, Leatherflower(Clematis versicolor).
Cardinalflower (Lobelia cardinalis) is in bud, and its bright red blooms will soon be ready for more young hummingbirds. The Ironweed (Vernonia arkansana) will be blooming in August with purply, fine textured flowers.
This is another image by Dan, of Eastern Beebalm (Monarda fistulosa). Delicate blooms, the heavy rains have just about finished them now.
We've been told that the Monkeyflower (Mimulus ringens) is a wonderful plant for wet, shady places and it attracts bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Fingers crossed, it will serve all these pollinators well.
On cool mornings, we have found bumble bees sleeping on the Purple Coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) before their busy day officially begins.
This is the tiniest Praying Mantis I think I've ever seen, at just over an inch. It has been hanging out on Downy Skullcap (Scutellaria incana).
Now, on to more 'babes'. It's always fun to see young birds investigating their surroundings, but it took a bit of time to establish the trust required by the adults to bring them into our view.
Tufted Titmice are often seen at the Bubbler, and like their cousins, the chickadees, they enjoy a good splash. They also learn to be observant, listening for alarm calls and on the lookout for predators.
This little House Wren is Bubbler Bird #76 for the year. It's the first time I've seen a fledgling at the Bubbler.
A young Blue Jay takes a look at the water from a higher perch. The family of four came back the next day.
The more you look, the more you see. I learned something new when I photographed these two Blue Jays. See the inside corners of their bills, the flexible hinge or flange? They're pink! This bright color enables the parents to easily find that gaping mouth in a dark situation and stuff those caterpillars down their throats. These adults have done well feeding the nestlings, they're big and healthy. The gape flange is just a lighter color on the Titmouse and House Wren. This anatomical detail helps to age the birds.
If you're a Missouri resident, you can go to your local Missouri Department of Conservation Nature Center
and pick up this newly revised booklet on "Enjoying Missouri's Birds." It's free!
Sarah Kendrick, our state ornithologist, added a Beginner's Guide to Birding section and updated all the charts in the Seasonal List so you'll
know when to expect different species, how common they are and in what habitat to find them. It's such a great reference to have on hand!
Next time, we'll talk about Fall migrants so check back on 7-25-21.
There may even be some quiz birds for those who are up to the challenge!