Still warm weather – no hint of overnight frosts, Carolina Wren “alarm clock” still waking us at first light which admittedly is getting later.
Past few days have seen flocks of White-throated Sparrows and juncoes all over the garden. As well, small flocks (6 – 8) of cardinals, evenly divided male/female have appeared, tolerating one another around the feeders.
Dahlias still blooming well, Canna lilies looking a bit dried out but still flowering. All lilies transferred to plastic pots for winter and their dry terracotta pots put in storage but pots with dahlias etc all still flowering so will be dealt with later. Bulbs just arrived but a bit warm for planting – don’t want them “waking up” and starting to shoot…..
Apart from a damp weekend immediately following the last post, the weather has continued sunny and warm – beautiful days starting cool and often misty followed by warm sunshine. A terrific start to retirement!
What seems like another two (at least) red squirrel juveniles have appeared – smaller than the last batch and favouring the cedar at the opposite end of the roof. Can’t help wondering how many small holes there are up there…..
So warm and dry that we are having to start watering the garden again; spending time digging out buckthorn and maple saplings, plus general trimming back and tidying – not the usual chilly job but a pleasure to be working outdoors.
Kinglets passing through with lots of Yellow-rumped Warblers plus some other warbler species with Fox and White-throated Sparrows. Juncoes have arrived but not much in evidence yet.
Back from Kenauk just one week, past five days have been glorious – sunny and clear. Yesterday and today very warm in the afternoon, so lunches on the deck, probably not many more opportunities this year.
A couple of late Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the garden this afternoon, taking nectar from the canna lilies. Dahlia Thomas Edison has two wonderful flowers on it at last – deep purple. All the other dahlias still blooming well.
The juvenile Yellow-bellied Sapsucker first seen this past weekend was again on the peanut feeder, hacking away at pieces of nut. Seems strange – I know they’re woodpeckers but……..sapsucker??
And a Ruby-throated Hummingbird is still working the Canna lily flowers.
Despite being World Sauntering Day, weather and other activities have dictated that this is the day when I finally get the dahlias, currently in pots after overwintering as tubers, into their summer bed. Viewing the bed made me decide that this was also the time to remove all the rather invasive dark-leafed plant with yellow flowers; although it forms a pleasant backdrop to the bed it does try to compete with the dahlias which I put so much hard work into.
Two and a half hours later, most of it is out and I can get on with the original planned job. Retreating to a seat on the deck the garden was suddenly invaded by young starlings which had apparently been waiting in the trees until I removed myself from the garden. I’ve noticed before a lot of birds don’t seem to “see” us on the deck.
So far spring has been much colder than last year and maybe a bit cooler than usual; snowdrops are lasting well and the clumps seem to be expanding, possibly following the wet summer last year. Large clumps of purple crocuses have appeared everywhere – must remember to buy white or yellow or those little mauve species ones in the fall. On the other hand the purple ones do not suffer damage by squirrels or birds as yellow ones do.
I’m going to England next week so grabbed the opportunity of a sunny interval to plant out the indoor hyacinths from this winter. I also managed to cut down some of the dead stems which were obscuring crocus blooms – mixed feelings about that as what I can see better, so can the squirrels…and Mr Bunny who has been much in evidence lately. The question is: who is guilty of nibbling tulips shoots??
1 March the Easter Bunny arrived early – we usually see an Eastern Cottontail hopping around, often over snow, around Easter. This year he was early.
7 March Having failed us last weekend (for FeederWatch) the Red-bellied Woodpecker has arrived in the garden for the past three mornings at 7.25am. Don’t know what he’ll do this weekend when the clocks change……..
The Flockette are still around but not so frequently seen as a tight group and male cardinals are starting to sing. The scientific speculation about so many groups of cardinals seen this winter blames the weather: thick snow frequently frozen after rain has become an impenetrable layer for ground feeders so they are forced to use feeders more.
Worryingly, the pair of Carolina Wrens has not been seen for a week, following the latest spell of very cold temperatures.
14 February saw the arrival of the biggest flock of Mourning Doves yet this winter: eight, scrambling all over the birdfeeders, trying to establish footholds; some of them were also showing signs of seasonal behaviour, waddling after one another.
16 February both Carolina Wrens returned to the feeders, both looking healthy.
The Flockette as I have taken to calling the three female cardinals who come to the feeders together, were present again over the weekend just past and have indeed made regular appearances for several weeks now. There are also two males and another female, possibly paired with one of the males, who are seen fairly regularly.
The two Carolina Wrens and Red-bellied Woodpecker are also still much in evidence.
Today, 21 January, we are in one of our cold snaps with daytime temperatures around minus 15°C, nightime lower than -20, forecast to last most of the week. I went out to clear snow so I could reach the bird feeders but found I did not need to because I only sank about 4″ into the frozen snow which is a lot deeper but packed and frozen hard.
First day of New Year 2013: the two Carolina Wrens which had spent the previous week or so hanging round the feeders, especially the weekend 30/31 Dec, were notable by their absence which was worrying because the previous day had been cold and the night even colder. The flockette of cardinals is still around although not quite so many seen at once.
2 January Another cold start (-15) but no wind after more snow overnight. Both Carolina Wrens reappeared fairly early so maybe the cold wind yesterday had kept them hunkered down wherever they roost.