Nature Notes by Bonnie Dundas
July is a quieter month as summer settles in. We have fewer birds in the yard and at the bird feeders now that the nesting season is in full swing. We are seeing a few adult birds introducing their young to the feeders. Song sparrows and chickadees appear harassed as their young flutter their wings and turn gaping beaks at them or chase after them when they fly. Grackles in particular have had a successful breeding season. After territorial disputes were settled, we had fewer grackles at the feeders but the numbers have sharply increased with the addition of all the young birds. I spent a lot of energy trying to outsmart the gray squirrels which had discovered the orange/banana feeders. I wanted to keep the feeders hanging in the trees where the orioles were comfortable visiting them, but I finally had to hang them on our high platform feeder. No squirrel has managed to conquer the height and it is too far from any tree to manage a daring leap. Fortunately, the orioles found the feeders and didn’t seem to mind sharing the café with the various blackbirds. Dames’ rockets are starting to go by but we are enjoying daisies, chicory, Queen Anne’s lace and wild roses along the roadsides. Have you ever taken a really close-up look at seed heads on grasses? With a magnifying glass? The seeds come in many sizes, colors and shapes. As the world of birds quiets down, the world of insects comes alive. We saw our first fireflies this week. Cicadas, grasshoppers and crickets will start their summer tweets, chirps and songs. The whine of mosquitoes is less welcome to my ears. Dragonflies and damselflies have become livelier in the last couple of sunny days. This is a great time of year to photograph spider webs. Go out early in the morning to see tiny droplets of dew strung along the web strands looking like elegant necklaces; even better is when the sun causes them to sparkle like jewels. I had a pleasant discussion about birds with Ed from Wallingford. He, like so many of us, experiences bear visits and is limited in how he puts out seeds. We hear and read about global warming. Sometimes is seems nebulous and far away from our everyday lives. But think of all the flora and fauna we love and appreciate and how many symbiotic relationships there are in nature. Plants leaf out just when caterpillars need them, flowers bloom just when birds and butterflies need their nectar, plants go to seed just when birds are fueling up for their long journeys south. What happens if plants mature too early or too late? How long does it take for the fauna side of the equation to adapt? This is a very simplistic view, but we are losing the world’s diversity at an alarming rate. We do what we can. If you have the inclination, look up climate change and global warming and discover the difference between the two. Are we as a people informing ourselves as we should? Take a child for a walk and look at things from their point of view.
Let me know what you are experiencing in the natural world. You can reach me by calling 802-447-7433, or email [email protected]