With Summer Solstice is just a couple days behind us its time to check in with an update! A fresh new batch of tiger swallowtail butterflies emerged today and were seen nectaring all day on common milkweed blossoms, which are at their peak right now.
For years a Carolina wren has built her nest under the cover of large begonia leaves in a large flower pot. This year, possibly because the container was put out late, she opted for a nook on the back side of the satellite dish right outside the window. I got to watch her all day as she brought succulent caterpillars, grubs, and baby grasshoppers to her young. She would fly in to the nearby TV antenna tower where she has a good vantage point to observe her surroundings and her nest. Then she swoops over to the satellite dish where she perches in the loop of excess wire and again observes for signs of danger for a minute or two before making the short, quick jump up into the nest to deliver the goods. At any point during this procedure if she detects even the slightest problem (like me sitting in a nearby lawn chair on a conference call) she would ring out her loud “tea kettle, tea kettle, tea kettle” call all the while holding the insect she was carrying in her mouth.
A mother wood duck is currently rearing up a brood of six ducklings on Dragonfly Pond. They are still fairly tiny, only donning their mono-colored yellowish baby feathers. I try not to get too close, as mom is very wary of me–I have no desire to cause her any extra angst. After a quick look I strolled over to see what was going on at Barn Pond. At least 3 Eastern phoebes and an Eastern wood peewee were hawking insects over the pond, while a pair of green herons perched high in the branches of dead tree, and a beaver swam laps back and forth in the center of the pond.
Two Eastern kingbirds spent much of the day hawking insects from the top of the large pine tree between the house and the barn, while the orchard oriole, yellow billed cuckoo, and wood thrush could be heard singing from the protected cover of trees and shrubs.
Evening is settling in, which means the whippoorwills and chuck wills widows will step in soon to fill the airwaves with the wonderful sounds of nature.