Saturday, June 28, 2014

End of June discoveries around the yard

We have seen lots of baby birds and have had a nest of baby bunnies in the middle of our garden this last spring. Juvenile (fledgling) robins are so much fun. They can fly a little bit, but they are not very good at it. They are also not yet scared of people. We have been able to get within a just a couple of feet of them for close observation.

The pictures here are one of the many young robins that have been in the yard. What was funny about this one as that it came up and tapped on my patio door window next to where I was sitting. I thought at first it was the neighbor lady, but there was no one outside the door. It tapped again at the window and cheeped at me several times when I saw it. Everyone got to see it - very cool! This was after the youngest one banged on the window to tell it high. Then, it eventually flew off.
Sounding the alarm
Go away Hawk!

We also have a very active hawk in the area. We know when it is near because all the birds go into a tizzy and instead of bird song, we get to hear bird alarm. We get the same alarm (although, not as intense) when our cat sneaks out. The birds tend to congregate at the top of the pine tree and yell at the hawk. 

Here we are at the end of June and it looks like we might finally get some summertime! How do we know? Because the Hollyhocks blossomed this morning!! Aren't they gorgeous? Thus far, we have 3 colors. The last couple of summers, they have not been very plentiful and have been under 5 feet tall. The plants are gigantic this year. The ones in the flowerbed outside my patio door are almost 7 feet tall! The pre-bloom picture shown here was taken about a month ago. Notice it is still fairly short and squat.

Milkweed plant just before it blooms
Do you see the creature in the upper left?
The milkweed is one of our favorite plants because it brings the Monarch butterflies up close for us to watch since the plants are next to the back step. The flower balls start out very small, but they open up into a sort of droopy ball. They are very pretty and the smell is heavenly. You need these in your flower beds! If you notice, there is another visitor in the picture. The milkweed also finally opened today. Hurray!

We have also been watching what we think is a vole darting back and forth across our patio from one flowerbed to the other. I catch her out of the corner of my eye rather often. I had to look because I have seen mice out
there on occasion, but this was not a mouse. They are newcomers to our yard this year.

Teeny tiny baby voles - the pink things.
How do I know it is a "she"? Because she had the middle of our lawn! Ack! I mowed on Wednesday night and since then, under a small pile of grass that was left on top, she built a nest. They are so very, very tiny. You can see the tiny bit of pink in the first picture on the right. I think that is at least 2 of them....maybe 3. Look at the size of the clover leaf next to them in comparison! To be expected, of course, from such a small creature, but still just amazing to think about such tiny creatures being born!

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