Fledging

This morning as I sat on the back steps with my coffee, the male wren sang a young fledgling out of the wren house for its first flight. We’d noticed the night before lots of singing and movement by the male wren, and saw little movements back in the house and, occasionally, a little beak and head coming partway out of the entrance hole. That young’un was finally coaxed out this morning. That house has seen 2 clutches of chickadees and 2 of wrens this summer!

Sunday- There was yet another wren to come out of the house. He emerged this morning.

This summer we have not had the numbers of bees or butterflies or caterpillars or butterfly larvae we had last year. Worrisome. But today I did find some lacewing eggs and some ladybug larvae on some tall coneflowers on the west side of our house. Both insect species are there to feast on all the aphids that have taken up residence on the coneflowers.

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For the birds

Last night a big storm moved through St. Louis and weathermen and women on TV pointed at screens full of dire-looking red lines and squares on an area map while Dennis and I drank tea and listened to the sirens. I went to the basement when the worst part passed through, while Dennis, as usual, went outside to watch it. This morning I was grateful to see 3 baby robins in the nest outside our bedroom window still there, mom robin bringing them food. I’d worried they might’ve been washed out of the nest by the heavy rain. Mom Robin does all the raising by herself, apparently, I’ve never seen a partnership with a male, like with the chickadees and wrens. The boy robins are a pugilistic bunch, preferring to stick their red chests out at one another and fight in the street; guess I wouldn’t want them around either if I were mom robin.

Our wren house in the back yard has already housed 2 clutches of chickadees, and now a wren is moving in. The garden is really stunning this spring in particular- perhaps I will take a picture soon.

A few days later: I must apologize to Mr. Robin. I have in fact seen 2 adult robins feeding the young, presumably Mr. and Mrs. All 3 of the baby robins have fledged and flown off somewhere. The wrens are busy preparing a nest in the wren house, and it sounds like there are young in there already.

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Arboretum, May 5, 2019

Dwarf larkspur (Delphinium tricorne)
Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) was more profuse than I’ve ever seen it. Usually we have to search for it- this year it presented itself.

Mary Isabelle was blanketed by wild geranium

Shooting star (Dodecatheon meadia) was everywhere as well, and even more beautiful in the morning dew.

Wild hyacinth (Camassia sciloides)
Blue false indigo (Baptisia austalis)
Indian paintbrush in the glade (Castilleja coccinea)
Fire pink (Silene virginica)
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April 26, 2019

A beautiful spring morning- about 50 degrees, the back yard is greening and filling up with ferns and ginger and lilies-of-the-valley with their delicate smell, celandine poppies, aquilegia, iris, heucera, button bush, ninebark, lots of things we’ve planted over the last few years.

Rain Garden

The wren house has this season become a chickadee house. This morning I watched as Mr. Chickadee went to get sunflower seeds from the feeder, break them open, and take the meat in to his mate, inside sitting on their nest, I imagine, made entirely of soft things (“…leaves, moss, grasses, snugly lined with hair, fur from small animals, and feathers.” from Birds of America, ed. Pearson, 1917), unlike the wren, who build their nests of “twigs, grass, feathers, spiders’ webs, and lined with soft strips of bark, down, or feathers.” On the other side of the fence in the neighbor’s driveway, not 15 feet away, robins are tending a nest built on the structure of a portable basketball hoop, decorating it with long strips of white toilet paper they’ve found somewhere, flying like streamers in today’s swift breeze. Mr. Wren would not stand for that proximity, but the chickadees and robins cohabit peacefully.

Not so much to do in the back yard anymore, which affords us leisure to go visit our wild friends at the arboretum, which we did last Easter Sunday, shown below.

The glade had lots of wild garlic, and some Indian paintbrush
Unfolding hickory leaves
Fire pink Silene virginica)
Bluebells on forest floor (Mertensia virginica)
Celandine poppies

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Arboretum, April 6, 2019

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March 31, Forest Park

Goose on nest, the night after a huge rain. The edge of the island the nest is on was covered by water, but the nest was high enough to escape. A nest onn the other end of the island was not so fortunate.

Papa goose stayed nearby, keeping watch.

Purple martins are back



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Arboretum, March 10, 2019

A walk at the arboretum today, after weeks of putting it off due to ice, snow, frigid temperatures, flu, colds. Because it’s been so cold, not much has happened, visibly, since last time we were there, but soon there will be lots of wildflowers. The ground is grey and muddy from the recent intentional burns and the heavy rains we had last week. This is the slowest spring in my memory, but I may prove myself wrong when I look back through the records.

The glade
Crested iris
Dutchman’s breeches, celandine poppy, harbinger of spring on south-facing hillside

We met this fellow, a crawfish, walking along the gravel path. It wasn’t quite 40 degrees out and we wondered what he was doing out. When I knelt down to see him better, he squared off facing me and raised his claws defensively. Dennis reasoned out that he was a burrowing crawfish (Cambarus diogenes aka Devil crawfish) who got hydraulic-ed out of his hole by the heavy rains and was trying to make his way back to the mud before he froze. We carried him down to the pond where the spring peepers were singing- he’d been headed that way- and put him on the muddy bank, where he rapidly burrowed back into the mud. Likely a once-in-a-lifetime sight. He dug with his front claws.

Back home- witch hazel in full bloom now.
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