Saturday, September 22, 2007

My New Hummingbird Feeder

You know that hummingbird feeders attract bees. Most of the feeders have a bee guard to keep them from entering the feeder, and the guards are most likely yellow. Did you know that bees are attracted to the color yellow? So why in the world do hummingbird feeder manufacturers put a yellow bee guard on the feeders? I've never understood it.

Last week I realized that my Hummingbird feeder, with a ?stainless steel? base was rusting and leaching into the sugar water. Even though the hummer season is close to over, I purchased a new feeder. So what did I buy? a BRIGHT YELLOW feeder!!

What in the world was I thinking? Well, I now have the ultimate bee magnet. I'm not fretting too much. The more bees I attract, the more pollination that occurs. But I am still bonking myself on the head for selecting this one in a senior (not too far off)/blonde (formerly) moment.

It does look lovely in the yard and will defintely complement the Columbines if they bloom in the Spring.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

New Life Bird!

It was just at dusk and I saw this little one that looked a bit different land on the trunk of a tree not five feet from me so I quickly ran inside to grab my camera. Given the lack of light, my shutter speed was quite slow and I doubted I could get a clear shot of the bird, even with the ISO set at 500. But I was lucky that it was coming in for water and I got a good look ....... wow! juvenile white-breasted nuthatch (WBNU). It was smaller than the WBNUs I see on rare occasions so I just assumed it was a juvenile.

But when I downloaded the pictures (very blurry as I expected), it was different. It had a black eye-stripe that is lacking in the WBNU. Red-breasted Nuthatch??? No way, Cornell's Birds of North America Online says they are never in this area. But I looked at my St Louis field guide and yes, they do visit this area, although they are reported as being rare or easily overlooked, especially in September. I then checked the MO Birders List-Serve and sure enough there have been a couple of reports of the Red-Breasted Nuthatch this week.

Yee-Haw! New Life Bird. Thanks Rosie for confirmation that it is indeed a Red-breasted Nuthatch! Here's my blurry picture:

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Rose Mallow Update

That didn't take long. This is what it looked like Saturday evening, just a day later.

And this morning it was wide open in bloom, with more buds on the plant.

I am in awe of a Mother Nature that allows something this beautiful to be in my yard.

I haven't taken many bird pictures lately, but was able to capture this cute little Carolina Chickadee taking a sip from the bird bath.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Rose Mallow - Hibiscus lasiocarpos

I never thought that I would see flowers blooming in mid-September, but obviously I am green and without a clue. See this Rose Mallow ..... it has about seven buds including one that will be in full bloom within days. Hopefully before Mordechai arrives next week.

From the Kemper Center/Missouri Botanical Garden:
Rose mallow is a Missouri native plant which typically occurs in wet soils along ponds and sloughs, in ditches or in wet woods, sometimes forming large colonies. A vigorous, erect, often woody-based perennial that typically grows 4-6' tall (infrequently larger) and features showy, hollyhock-like, 5-petaled, white or rose flowers (4-6" diameter) with magenta-crimson eyes. Flowers are borne in the upper leaf axils. Each flower has a prominent and showy center staminal column. Perhaps the largest flower of the native Missouri wildflowers. Long, mid-summer to fall bloom period. Ovate, serrate leaves (to 6" long). Leaves, stems and fruit capsules are distinctively hairy (lasiocarpus from Greek meaning hairy-fruited).

Despite the destruction of the tree rats, I am blessed with a lot of plants that are doing well. Besides the Rose Mallow, current bloomers include the Wild Ageratum, Downy Skullcap, Rose Verbena, and Eastern Blazing Star. I also have a Stiff Goldenrod that will bloom in the very near future.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Family Weekend

My Dad's side of the family has a reunion every year the weekend after Labor Day. I had a great time visiting with siblings, parents, aunts, cousins, etc. And it's amazing to see all the youngsters as my cousin's kids have kids of their own. And yes, it's happening in my branch of the family too. I will be a great aunt in early 2008.

Thanks to K & D K for being great hosts and to the B K branch in general for putting together a great reunion.

Monday, September 3, 2007

In Bloom at Birdscapes & Flutter-By

Wild Ageratum

Purple Coneflower - I have a number of coneflowers which are supposed to be great for birds. Unfortunately the squirrels like them too and chew off all their leaves.

Rose Verbena

Eastern Blazing Star and Monarch

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Garden Photos - The Big Picture

It still looks very sparse, but as the plants naturalize and grow it will start to fill in, I hope. And there is still plenty of room for new plants, but that will wait until next Spring. You can click on the photos to get a larger view.