Sunday, June 3, 2012

Life around the Pond

Since my last journal entry, I’m pleased to report the number of Hummingbirds has increased, although still nowhere near the record numbers of the last few years.  I bring in the hummer feeders at night so am outside during what is usually the time for aerial battle ballets.  Not this season.  There just aren’t enough Ruby-throats to fight over anything.

To date, four Mallard hens have appeared with broods ranging in size from seven to ten.  The ducklings are growing fast!  Wood Duck hens and drakes are regular visitors to the corn line, but I have yet to see any babes.  One of these years, I would love to get into Wood Duck houses.  I am surprised I have so many Woodies when there are no man-made houses here.  With that said, this area is thick with raccoons so I hope and pray the eggs hatched safely.  Fingers and toes crossed!

Unfortunately, I have no area Trumpeter Swan sightings to report since the first week of May.  I was so sure the pair I’d been monitoring had chosen to nest nearby.  I had documented their presence from mid-March to early May so felt confident they had selected the site as a nesting ground.  I had even alerted the DNR to their location.  Guess I got fooled!  Where have they gone?

My beloved Peanut, the Red-breasted Nuthatch, left last month for his Boundary Waters nesting site.  Last year, Peanut and family stayed put till June 2nd, but his departure this spring was considerably earlier.  I would wager the freakish seasons affected the migration schedules of many birds.  According to my fruit and nut feeders, he flew out during the third week of May.  Godspeed, my sweet feathered-friend. 

The beautiful Baltimore Orioles never linger long round these parts but their appearance this spring was  even more abbreviated.  I bought three jars of expensive natural sugar jelly and two are sitting unopened on the shelf.  Truth be told, they consumed less than half a jar before winging off.  I had purchased three oranges—usually favorites of the females—but all were discarded with nary a peck.  Oh, well, it was fun to watch the red squirrels triumphantly race around with several sections stuffed into their tiny mouths. 

Fauna aside, the Midwest’s  weird 2012 weather (90 degrees on St. Patrick’s Day?!) has also produced some strange results with flora.  The poplar trees appear to have finished their spring cotton shedding ahead of schedule. The pesky pods of white fluff usually torment homeowners for a few weeks, but this year’s crop was skimpy and the mess minimal. 

I am more concerned about my orchard.  While the dogwood and crab apple trees bloomed, the pear and eating apple varieties were barren of buds and blossoms this spring.  I do not harvest any fruit but rather leave it for the wildlife so am concerned about the long term ramifications for my animals. 

Special thanks to my friend Dr. Schur for the inspiration to make some major changes in the side of my home that faces the water.  I took down the kitchen curtains and shades, as well as the sliding door drapes in the dining room.  Wow!  What a difference!  Over the years the forest has grown and encroached upon the house giving it the look and feel of living in a tree house. The view is amazing and makes me feel even closer to nature.

P.S.  I apologize for the un-bloglike length of this post but I’ve been struggling with the title artwork for well over a week.  Call me stubborn but I was determined to wait with my journal entry till I could master writing on a circle!  I’m learning a wonderful online graphics program called Gimp, which, when/if I ever get the hang of it, will allow me to take my jpegs, gifs and pngs to the next level.  Wish me luck!

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