Daylight is waning, but the heat is on!
We've lost an hour and 25 minutes of daylight since the Summer Solstice. But, that hasn't stopped the heat dome that is now over us. This week, the temperatures are hovering at 100 degrees with much higher heat indices. Ugh!
Let's look at some of the bright spots and discoveries.
So, who owns the place? Right now the hummingbirds are everywhere, chasing each other from the flowers and feeders. Birds are constantly looking in every direction to hold their ground for another sip.
We've been seeing 1-2 Monarchs in the garden on different days, just males so far. Like the hummers, when there are two, they chase!
I had just finished photographing some flowers when I heard a soft flickering of wings. This moth took shelter outside the screen of the gazebo on a post. Oh, I had not seen this moth here before, a beautiful Banded Tiger Moth. I couldn't find photos of the caterpillar, but check out other photos of open-winged adults at this link:
Again this year, we have a white Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis alba) in the garden. This is a naturally occurring variety that self-seeded.
One of the last clusters of Coral Trumpet Honeysuckle was in perfect form. The following morning, an immature Ruby-throated Hummingbird had its nectar for breakfast while I had my own.
Summer fruit! The Rough-leaf Dogwood berries (Cornus drummondii) are still attracting attention from many species of birds. Even two immature American Crows have been in to grab some. The black Elderberries (Sambucus canadensis) are the first fruits from seven plants we installed two years ago. The largest plant had two large flower heads, and this one still has berries. Robins found them quickly!
Three male Northern Flickers were in a small dogwood by the driveway. 'Papa', on the right, was showing the younger ones how to get the berries.
The younger one flew off to check out the bubbler, but the older one was a quick study! Look at the 'mustache' on the young birds. The bird with berries has a darker one, that's why I think it is just a little further along in getting new plumage.
Another successful nesting pair has been the Red-bellied Woodpeckers. One of their young was working up the trunk of this black oak, and found ants to eat.
Flycatchers have been very active! The young Great Crested Flycatcher was seen low in this spicebush on a very breezy day. Eastern Phoebes continue to hunt at the bubbler area, splash-bathing, too. The bird in the last two photos was a bit challenging to ID.
Not only are fall warblers confusing, but so is the genus of Empidonax flycatchers. They rarely sing in the fall, and the only way to be certain of some of this group is to hear a chip call. Well, there are two that are almost impossible to tell apart in fall plumage unless they are 'in the hand'. These are the Alder and Willow Flycatchers. They once were lumped as one species. So, after asking two experts and reading up on them, that's how I've marked this one on my year list: Alder/Willow.
Stay cool and safe in this heat wave!