More birds and berries

The Chokecherries were the big hit on the menu this week. Just like the Western Tanager family a group of American Robins found them to their liking as well.

In fact they were head twistingly irresistible.

It’s amazing to watch them slurp them down in a single gulp and man the seeds in chokecherries are large.

Just like the Tanager family we watched earlier in the week the adults took time demonstrating where and how to eat this fall treat.

Parting ways

Late summer is always a bit of a down time for birders living in the more northern reaches. A time when the forest goes eerily silent and a feeling of loss seems to enter your heart. Thus it was a wonderful surprise to see this Warbling Vireo hop into plain sight a few days ago. While they look a bit low keyed they are prolific singers who had graced our forests with their songs most of June and early July. Then silence.

Birds and berries

Just a week or so ago we noticed a flurry of activity in the serviceberry and chokecherry bushes nearby as family of Western Tanagers moved back and forth between the two. It appeared that on this day the fledglings were being taught an invaluable lesson and getting a good meal as the result. While the male seemed to fly in and out of the bushes quickly picking a berry and flying up into a Douglas Fir tree to consume his meal mom gathered the two young ones and showed them how it was done.

A fledgling taking stock of the work ahead.

While the fruit was abundant the picking was not always easy and at times a bit of aerial acrobatics was required as mom show the kids how it was done.

As much of the natural landscape disappears it is evident that we need to consider other species in how we landscape our yards and what better way than by planting some berry producing shrubs and trees for the birds. This article contains just a few suggestions that might help.

Wings of August

With wings tattered and torn a Fritillary takes a sip of nectar on the coneflowers. Those tattered wings sure feel like a metaphor for the month that has passed.

We don’t know about you but we are looking forward to autumn this year.

On the coneflowers

A fuzzy caterpillar makes their way through the Coneflowers.

Nibbling away one flower petal at a time enjoying a meal as they go gathering nutrients and the proteins they will need for their next stage of life.

Whenever we see a caterpillar it never ceases to amaze us that next time we see them they will be flying through the air as a butterfly or moth.

Metamorphosis is an amazing process.

Still Summer

Alas, while most of the summers wildflowers have come and gone there is still a bit of color to be found. The Dotted Gayfeather have done well this year and are in full bloom in the fields and along the roadside near our home and it looks like other besides ourselves are enjoying them as a little Skipper Butterfly enjoys a late summers sip of nectar.