Thursday, September 12, 2013

House Wren

This morning I walked a bit at Heirloom Harvest CSA in Westboro.  The meadows appeared to be recently mowed with hay rounds dotted around the shorn fields.  When I was leaving, I walked over to a fence near my parked car to look across one last field.  As I stood there, the leaves rustled near the ground.  A House Wren popped up from the undergrowth onto the fence and then a nearby tree where it proceeded to give me a severe scolding.   A second wren soon joined it.   If you click to enlarge the following photo and look closely, I think there's a tick next to its eye.

At the Auburn Bird Banding Project this past spring, I learned that ticks attach to birds around their eyes, bill, and head because these areas are hard for the bird to preen (because they use their bill to preen).  They have to deal with the tick until it feeds enough and falls off on its own.  The bird banders remove any ticks they find on birds and keep the information in their records.

House Wren

Juvenile Eastern Bluebirds

Eastern Bluebird

This tractor was popular with the bluebirds, too!  They were on the exhaust pipe and on the roof.


A few days ago, I spotted my first Harvester butterfly in my yard.  Greg D. of the Mass Butterfly Club suggested that I look for Alder trees with wooly aphids (the host for the carnivorous Harvest caterpillars).  It took me a few days, but I did finally figure out that it is Speckled Alders that have popped up in the wetlands out front.  Here is a photo of the leaf of the Speckled Alder.  I didn't find any aphids, but at least now I know where to look!

My garden is a bit wild this year (and that's being generous), and there are currently more ugly weeds than blooming plants.  One of the few things actually just coming into bloom this time of year is Ligularia.  I saw a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird nectaring on it the other day, so I'm glad it's there!



The hydrangea are taking on their Fall colors too.  There's no denying that summer is nearly over.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird (click to enlarge)

While I was outside, a hummingbird flew in to nectar at the Buddleia.  It's flown in here a few other times when I've just happened to be standing there, but the other times I was much closer and it spooked from my camera noise.  This time I was far enough away to snap a couple shots of it before it spooked.  These bright little birds will soon be heading south for the winter.  I'll miss them!

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