Sunday, May 19, 2024

At Home with Nature

It's always exciting to view nature at home.  We live in a neighborhood, not out in the countryside, though that would be lovely. 


 Over the 50 years we have lived here we have added every plant that occupies our property, except the large trees that have grown greatly in those many years.  One of the oak trees that is quite close to our home had to have a limb removed several years ago.  This year we noticed a hole developing in this tree that our children used to call "the man in the brown suit."  Our children used to play soccer in our backyard and "the man in the brown suit" deflected many passes on their attempts to make a goal nearby.


We decided to have our tree surgeon take a look at this hole as one of our trees had a similar hole and we had to have it removed.  The tree surgeon used a ladder and took a look at it closely.  He said we needn't worry as this hole was shallow and should close up over the years.  So we are happy that "the man in the brown suit" can stay here at least for a few more years.


We were happy to see the eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly.  I spotted this beauty on an early morning during the first part of May.  I don't think I've ever spied one in the garden that early.


This butterfly is Virginia's state insect.  The poor thing looks as if it has had a run in with maybe a bird as its wing is damaged.  It stayed quite a while enjoying the nectar of the columbine.  I've not seen another since then.


Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal always enjoy the offerings at the feeder.  The poor Mrs. feels the same as I, too much rain lately!  She looks similar to me after taking our walk yesterday believing the weather radar map to be true.

I was so surprised when I looked out the dining room door and saw a flock of birds flying to the holly tree.  This holly was full of red berries that these birds were after.  After getting a better look, I discovered that they were cedar waxwings.  It's been years since we've seen them here.  



These beautiful birds come in by the hundreds and eat every berry in sight!  


It was hard to get a photo as they work fast eating all the fruit they can.


They can survive on "fruit only" for a few months unlike other birds.  Unfortunately cedar waxwings can eat too much ripe fruit and become intoxicated and pass away.


When the wing is being formed and many berries are eaten the red pigment turns the tip orange!


I was also treated to see another beauty at our feeder for only a few moments.


This rose-breasted grosbeak is a new sighting for me!  My photos don't do him justice.


According to my Field Guide of Birds this one appears to be a male.


Though we didn't hear his voice, it rises and falls similar to a robin's song.  Some say it has more feeling as if a robin has taken voice lessons.


I often think of Gladys Taber's quote:

"As long as you have a window, life is exciting."

Thanks for taking a look outside our windows!