Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Hummer(s) Have Returned

Much is in bloom in May. The daffodils and crab apple blooms faded and gave way to pink and white dogwoods. Once they passed their peak, doublefile viburnum and azalea began dazzling the eye. (Still to come: mountain laurel and rhododendron.)

Doublefile viburnum in bloom
Little more than a two-foot-high stick when planted,
this doublefile grew quickly, reaching this size in about 8 years.

A closeup

White azalea in bloom
This shrub is about 6 feet high.
A vigorous grower, I often wonder how high it could get it I didn't prune it back.

A closeup

After a few weeks of faithfully refreshing the sugar water in the hummingbird feeder, I spotted a ruby-throated hummingbird at the feeder this past week. An old friend has returned.

I haven't been around Owl Hollow much to observe the goings on because I recently began working for the Census Bureau. I find the work very enjoyable. I can essentially make my own hours, I work on my own and I spend a lot of time tracking down addresses on streets and in neighborhoods I've never visited, even after 15 years in my hometown. I've enjoyed chatting with all sorts of people.

So, assorted projects at Owl Hollow have been put on hold for about six weeks, or until the Census work runs out. However, on the same day that I first saw the hummingbird, I also spied a lone coyote in the far corner of my yard. My neighbor lets his lawn go in that corner each year, and it was there that I saw the coyote from behind, quickly coarsing through tall grass. He paused and turned his head as if listening for something, then hurried on. It was mid-day on a sunny afternoon.

He's welcome to feast on the plenitude of field mice around here, as far as I'm concerned, though my neighbors who live behind me don't share my benign interest. A few years ago, coyotes killed their family pet. My neighbors live in the woods, and were in the habit of letting their two dogs, a German Shepherd and a retriever, out each morning while they got ready for work. One morning, the Shepherd returned without the other dog, and they found it later, not far away. The carcass had been fed on; they never heard a thing.

Wild turkeys have been frequent visitors this year. I often hear their baritone gobbling in the woods; at times, I'll look out the window and see a lone tom trodding regally across the lawn, perfecting his fan display and generally looking fine. At other times, I'll see a few hens preening themselves. Yesterday, I saw a turkey find a small spot of dry dirt near my vegetable garden. He rolled around in it, fanning up the dust through his feathers for insect control and looking very much like a dog rolling around in the grass.

There's danger of frost this Sunday and Monday nights, which means I'll have to spread the tarp, assorted flower pots and other impromptu frost-protection coverings those evenings and then take them off in the morning. It's tedious, but the 2-week head start I've gotten on spaghetti and acorn squash will be worth it in July when I'm enjoying these warm weather vegetables two weeks ahead of my neighbors!

1 comment:

  1. Oh my, you planted that doublefile just 8 years ago? What a stunner! Mine is 3 years old, and blooming, and it is very lovely, but I can't wait until it looks like yours! Hummers are here (my neighbors have spotted them, but I haven't seen a visitor at my feeder yet).

    What a wildlife center you live in!