Flowers. Birds. Bugs. The first two generally come as part of package deals that include the latter.
Around here we happen to like cherries so we’re glad when pollinators discover the blossoms.
Deeper into woodlands, the forest floor has been carpeted with Wood Geraniums.
In the treetops a Baltimore Oriole eats bugs by the dozen. (Sweet nectar is a nice dessert, but insects are the primary food, especially in springtime.)
A springtime visitor patrolled the marsh edges for about a week in May. The Least Sandpiper (who might also be called the Least Mudpiper) is the world’s smallest shorebird, weighing in at 30 grams or less. It flies north of the treeline for summer nesting, perhaps because it’s hard to beat the abundance of bugs under the midnight sun on the tundra.
Dunlins nest even farther north along arctic coastlines, and though they put on an air show here one recent afternoon, they appeared to have departed before night fell.
A flock of about 50 made repeated landings on the beach, but on some invisible signal they would rise up and fly swiftly out over the water, making turns together in tight though apparently random formation. Just as suddenly they would settle again just a few meters down the shoreline.
As I walked along the beach to get a closer look at this murmuration, I met an elderly gentleman who was grinning from ear to ear. “I’ve lived around here for more than 60 years and I’ve never seen birds like those,” he told me. “Made my day!”
A few more swoops around the bay and they were gone.
Some birds pay us the briefest of visits, but others like the Grey Catbird will stick around all summer. Sometimes they sing a beautiful, long, complex song – and other times they play the comic, letting out a convincing cat’s “meow”.
At last, a noisy bunch of Grackles (plus free bonus Redwing) take up watch from a tall dead tree. It is time for the night.
Photo at top of page: Colour of Sunshine (click here for full-screen view)