The birds and the bees …. but mostly bees

I have spent most of the last three days working long hours on a rush commission and I can’t put it up yet, so here is a little wildlife info from the home front.

Big bumble bee

The insect population seems to have taken as big a hit this summer as the foliage and larger animals.  With fewer flowers blooming and the all around dryness I haven’t seen much of anything moving around in the flower beds. Lately, with the  good rains we had in the last couple of weeks, we have had a small resurgence in the foliage.  Both the butterfly bush and the bluebeard have bloomed profusely and I am starting to see the return of some visitors.  I love both of these shrubs.  The color of the butterfly bush is an iridescent purple that shimmers in the sunlight.  The blue beard carries a profusion of purpley/blue flower clusters as a late summer floral feature.  It can grow up to 4-5′ if it is not trimmed back but can be held to a smaller height if needed with a yearly whacking.  I let the ones in the back under our gazebo grow as wild as they want and trim the front ones in the spring.

A honey bee?

Surprisingly, buzzing along with the ubiquitous bumble bees, I think I am seeing some honey bees at last.  It has been many years since I have seen any at all, due to the honey bee die off, but I think these might be the real thing.  I first saw them when the sage bloomed a month early in April and now I seeing them again on both shrubs.  The air is pleasantly alive the apian sounds.  The humming is incredibly loud and they don’t seem to mind when I brush around them.  I have never been stung.  I think they are drunk on the nectar.

And a butterfly too

I have also seen several hummingbirds at the butterfly bush, the balloon flowers, and the spirea.  I tried to get a photo but they are so quick and they never stay long enough that I can get there in time with the camera.  I am glad to see that they are living through this difficult summer too.  And let’s not forget the butterflies either.

The flowers have been welcoming to all.

First butterfly of the season

Guess what?  It is raining.  Again.  Thunderstorms overnight and now a misty haze.  Just enough to make outside unpleasantly damp.  We did get a few days of nice weather.  The trees are all coming out and the undergrowth is flourishing.  I was none the less surprised when I looked out of the kitchen window last week and saw a zebra swallowtail.  Then yesterday I saw another.  I have heard that the zebras are rarer than the tiger swallowtails.  I can say that I normally see a lot fewer of them.  Several times last summer I saw a dozen of the tigers at one time on my butterfly bush. Truth in advertising, I guess.  Unfortunately, the bush died because of the cold weather and I will have to replace it.  I really liked the iridescent quality of the one I had and I hope I can find one to match.

And with all of the rain, weeds that I pulled and threw aside have lived and tried to regrow. Darn dandelions are hard to get rid of. I had a pile and they all just continued to bloom and grow.  I now have mounds of growing weeds.  I picked most of them up and threw them farther into the woods.   It is supposed to dry out on Tuesday.  Perhaps then I can plant the flowers I succumbed to buying yesterday when the sun was out.

Mallard pair

The wildlife is flourishing, too.  The lushness of the spring growth is matched by the numbers of animals we have seen.  There have been mallards on the pond in addition to a few species that I can’t identify.  Last year we had a pair 0f grebes (I think).  Unfortunately the babies were eaten by the snapping turtles.  We hope for better this year.  And you won’t believe it but early one morning last week, I saw a coyote walking next to the lake.  I went to get my camera, and in that time a doe walked into the picture.  She trailed the coyote for a while and then eventually caught up with him.  Each knew that the other was there, but no difficulty ensued while I watched.  I actually got the two into one picture frame, but the shutter speed was so low due to the light that they were both blurry.  I am trying to get the photo cleaned up, just like in the crime shows, but don’t know if it is possible.  If it can, I will post it.  I never knows what will be out there when I look.  I am still waiting to catch the tom turkeys displaying.  The spring fawns should be out soon too.

I have almost finished the inking on my latest drawing.  It is a little smaller entryway from house in an historic Indiana town.  Much less imposing but inviting none the less.