August has arrived!
According to my calculations, we have now given up 43 minutes of daylight since the summer solstice.
Summer has peaked!
The Rough-leaf Dogwoods (Cornus drummondii) were covered in white flowers in May, attracting small pollinators. Now, the berries are ripening and birds have really been after them. Thrushes, woodpeckers, catbirds and flycatchers all come in for the bounty.
Younger birds, like the speckled Eastern Bluebird, have to figure out the best approach, as the ripest berries are out on the furthest tips of the branches. Sometimes they can reach from a branch above. Often, they swoop down and pick them off on the fly. The robins and flycatchers, like the Eastern Phoebe will usually grab and go. We didn't plant these small trees, they were waiting in the seed bank to grow up after we removed all the bush honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) many years ago. They are an important plant in our woodland, supporting 94 species of Lepidoptera, or moth and butterfly caterpillars, vital food for birds.
On these hot days, the birds have been taking time to refresh themselves at the Bubbler.
One way to tell an immature bird is to look for the gape hinge at the base of the bill, which is usually a lighter color.
This Tufted Titmouse appears to have the pinkish gape, and it pants as it bathes to cool its body.
There is usually a mix of birds coming in around noontime. A Mourning Dove, Eastern Bluebird and American Robin find their space. At least for a while. This young bluebird scrambled out of the way until the larger birds finished. Ah, relief!
We've had many young birds around and this immature Great Crested Flycatcher was confirmation of another successful nesting this year.
This is a photo from a few summers ago of an adult Great Crested Flycatcher. They've been nesting here for nearly a decade.
Birds are constantly looking for food, and often in this small oak hybrid, they look for insects. This tree was keyed out to be a natural hybrid of a black and chinquapin (or chinkapin) oak.
This trio of Mourning Doves have been seen together lately. I suspect they are all young birds. The pair on the right hang out together and the larger bird on the left wants to be with them, or perhaps is trying out 'moves' for the next breeding season.
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are taking nectar at the few remaining blossoms of the Coral Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) and the 'Black and Blue' Salvia.
Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) is just beginning to open a few blooms, but will be in full swing in another week or so.
The dominant male or 'Flash', is protecting one feeder as best as it can. That's right! I noticed a real uptick in hummingbird numbers on Saturday, 7-29-23. They are right on time! Birds are on the move, and now you know to be ready with freshly filled feeders! It helps to fuel their insect catching ability so they can be ready to cross the Gulf of Mexico.
Check out the Migration Tools at: BirdCast
Click on the map for Upper Midwest and Northeast to check species arrival and departure dates. Fascinating!
"After a wild spring of some intense flights, what will this new season hold for migration? Will the top 10 states for spring, in terms of total birds overflying the state in a season, see the same ranking and name: 1) Missouri, 2) Oklahoma, 3) Kansas, 4) Nebraska, 5) North Dakota, 6) Wisconsin, 7) Minnesota, 8) Texas, 9) South Dakota, and 10) Florida?"
Enjoy our water lilies and think cool!