Friday, November 30, 2018

Red-winged Blackbird Nest in Teasel

           This year we have done a phenology  study for CISMA on some invasive plant species in our county. I have driven by and stopped to look at this clump of Teasel at least once per month. This small clump is one of several plants  that make up a whole colony of Teasel along this fence line. 
The extraordinary thing about this clump is that a Red-winged Blackbird had it's nest in this plant and I didn't notice it one time during summer. Yet when we stopped to see this colony of teasel this month after all has been frozen I could see this neat structure of a home. 
Red-winged Blackbird is a ubiquitous summer nester in these parts. Most people ignore them either because they are so prevalent or they don't sport the more colorful features of other birds. I have always loved them since you can count on them being the harbingers of spring as the males swoop in from their Southern wintering areas to claim their territories in February.  Sitting along the fence lines throwing their red epaultes singing that song that the females are attracted to.  Then soon after the females clothed in their best camouflage move in . They work hard to knit these nests and raise their young.
With all that I don't have a good picture of a Red-wing. They are very leery of humans. Who can blame them? If you don't know this handsome blackbird you can go here to see them.
I can't help but think of spring this morning as our area is blanketed with fog and the Carolina Wrens are singing. I hope you all have a great weekend. 

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Oak Galls

Cheryl, a friend of mine, posted a picture of an Oak gall. I am always fascinated by these growths. I always wonder what has set up a nursery on these leaves. To see the gall she posted you can go here
Her oak leaf gall is a single rather large gall. As you can see in my photo these galls are smaller and in a cluster.
I had never seen a cluster of galls like this. Usually they are singles as in Cheryl's photo.
I am not even sure what kind of Oak tree this came from let alone the type of galls. Have you ever seen such a thing? If you know anything about it I would love to read it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018


It seems like this fall is full of surprises. Yesterday as we were finished walking Annie and were driving out of the park  we stopped to watch a Mockingbird defend a holly tree from a huge flock of migrating Robins. This lone Mockingbird was dive bombing robin after robin that dared to get near the Holly full of red berries. 
 I noticed a tiny bird in an adjacent tree.  Without binoculars or camera we watched  in amazement a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher appeared searching searching for food. It hopped around splaying its tail and wings hoping to stir up something to eat. 
We took our camera to the park with us today hoping that the bird would still be there. Sure enough we refound the little fellow.  It is so overcast it was difficult to get a photo but we couldn't resist trying. The little bird looked as gray as the skies.
In the following photo you can see a glimpse of how blue it can look in certain light.  
In our area these little birds have usually gone South by mid September. 
If you would like to see a good picture of this little bird or read / hear more about it you can go to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology All About Birds here for more information.
We are hoping this little bird finds enough fuel to get out of town fast. There is snow and general yuck predicted for tonight and tomorrow. 

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Sudden Cold

Oops. Didn't get the fountain ready for this weather. I guess I didn't believe it would drop to 20F with a feels like 11F so soon.
Made a believer out of me. 
I hope you all keep warm and have a good weekend.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Fall Color in the Garden

There is a bit of color in the garden this fall. Lots of yellow it seems with a splash of red here and there. I almost have my own yellow arch on the right side as I walk off the patio down the gravel path. 
The predominant color in our garden seems to be golden yellow. Even the fungus is bright yellow.
The last of the blooms in the garden are yellow (Witch Hazel). 
Even when you leave the garden you can find a carpet of gold almost everywhere you go. When the sun shines on it...Wow. 
I hope you all are having a golden week.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

New Gate and Fence

We had a big change of the feeling of the garden this week. Our old wooden fence was rotting and falling apart. We were beginning to think that if Annie wanted to she could bust right through the gate to chase rabbits or any other furry creature passing by. I took the following picture shortly before the crew arrived to remove the fence. 
We had already taken down the wooden arch that was by the gate. We moved it over by the patio where the big arch used to stand. It is now it's permanent home. I didn't think I would like a wooden 
arch by a metal fence and gate.
It didn't take the crew long to dismantle the wooden fence. So many of the posts were rotted off. They dug out most of them which was a chore since there was concrete anchoring the posts.
The gate is what I am most happy about. We searched all through the internet and our town looking for just the right gate. We found this one on Etsy. It was made by Modern Iron Works out in Idaho. Yes, it traveled a long way to get to our garden but it was well worth it. The craftsmanship is excellent. I had it custom sized for our opening and it turned out perfect. 
Here is a close up of the gate. It is very expressive with the heron being the focal point and the cattails, frog and dragonflies adding character.
The chain link fence certainly gives the garden a more open feel. I am not so sure I appreciate that. I believe that I will be planting more shrubs in the near future.  I am hoping that the shrubs already along the fence line will fill out below the 4' mark now that there is more light.
Annie who is the cause for all of this change is of the mind that she just doesn't care about what happens as long as she gets her nap in. 
I am the one that can't get used to the changes. To me it is the gate that made it all worth it.

How about you? Have you had any projects in your garden this fall?

New Blogger, Old Blogger

     All I can say it is difficult to deal with change. This new Blogger format is not as user friendly in my opinion. I guess I will get us...