When the pear tree’s pollinators finally arrived, they arrived in encouraging numbers. Hoverflies were the first wave, pretending to be bees.
A wave of true bees followed.
Happily, a few Question Mark butterflies drifted in near the end.
While the pear blooms lasted, the yard’s winter flock of yellow-rumped warblers divided their time between sipping nectar, foraging for insects, and sampling the last block of winter suet.
(As an aside, I spotted the following warbler yesterday and was confused by its complete lack of yellow feathers. I believe it is a yellow-rumped warbler, but I’ve never seen one that didn’t have at least a blush of yellow under its wings. Please comment if you can correct or confirm my identification!)
As the pear tree dropped its petals, we readied the yard for summer. We replaced damaged boards on the aging deck, uncovered the ginger lilies, and swept leaves out of the cactus bed. (The carpenter bees ignored us and concentrated on chasing each other. They also chased warblers, chickadees, crane flies, hoverflies, beetles, bees, leaves, dandelion fluff, and pear petals.)
The garden stores aren’t fully stocked yet, but we found most of the plants on our list: dill, fennel, milkweed, columbine, annual lantana, snapdragons, salvia, and cosmos.
Yesterday, this American Painted Lady butterfly made me wish we had planted more cosmos. (The yard’s 2015 butterfly sightings, so far, are a major improvement over last year’s butterfly drought, but they don’t begin to equal 2012’s impressive migration.)
The yard’s birds have been getting ready for summer, too. This little house wren doesn’t have a mate yet, but he clearly has a favorite house.
A pair of robins finished their nest last week and now spend most of their hours foraging.
(I am amazed by how many worms they find and eat each day.)
The robins aren’t the only efficient foragers in our area. A pair of osprey make regular passes over the yard, carrying fish. Yesterday I caught a few frames as one of the pair nearly dropped its lunch on the deck.
After a brief struggle, which lasted no more than two wingbeats, the osprey managed to subdue its lunch and flew on. What would happen if the fish managed to break free? Would the osprey land on my deck and reclaim its catch? (I’d probably drop my camera and break it, leaving me with no proof of why I dropped it…)
Over the years I’ve found many surprising things in the yard, but never a fish. Perhaps this summer?
Except, it’s not summer yet. Today the windows are closed against a surge of chill that moved in overnight and is forecasted to last through the next few days. Mother would have called it dogwood winter, expecting the dogwoods to bloom after the chill passed. Or blackberry winter, if the blackberries were due to bloom. I’m content to call it the end of winter.