At last! Hummingbirds!
Not a lot of hummingbirds, yet, but enough to attempt a few photos as they feed in the honeysuckle.
The honeysuckle has bloomed in such profusion that I’ve been blissfully planning a long, bright summer filled with never-ending streams of hummingbirds. I should know better, by now, than to make such plans. The yard is not a blank page, waiting for me to write its future. There are always surprises, always factors I cannot control.
About three days ago, the honeysuckle’s flowers began falling, sometimes before they opened. Many of the blooms appeared to have been cut at the base.
The weather has not been stormy enough to account for such damage, and I can’t find any caterpillars to blame. So I started checking periodically, watching from the kitchen window in hopes of solving the mystery. Yesterday, I caught the thief in action.
This little house finch was not alone. His mate was with him, and a very hungry fledgling.
Unlike hummingbirds, house finches’ beaks are not designed for sipping nectar. So they nipped off the blooms, drank the nectar from the broken end, and left a pile of empty flowers on the ground beneath them.
The house finches have not returned today. Why should they? There’s nothing left to tempt them. But I suspect they’ll remember their feast, when the next wave of honeysuckle grows heavy with nectar…
I had hoped spring would chase winter’s gloom into memory, but it hasn’t yet. Instead there are all these photos of hunger and snow, dating back to October.
Along with hunger and snow, this winter brought weeks of numbing cold.
I was glad I had left the bird houses hanging because I saw chickadees retreating into them at nightfall.
It’s not that winter was completely cheerless. The yard had a few winter blooms, and there were certainly days of sunshine.
But I’m ready for spring. Real spring, with hours on end of warmth and nest building and bird song.
I can’t be the only one who is fretful and impatient. Maybe that’s why it seems as if spring is embarrassed to be arriving so late. Instead of rushing in with thunder and rain-scented gusts, spring is edging into the yard like a guilty ticket holder who overslept and missed the opening scene. Bees are sluggish, the irises and pear tree bloomed while I wasn’t looking, and the house stays chilly despite bright sunshine and open windows.
I suppose I’ll be complaining about the heat, before too long, and wishing for a cool draft in the house. Because summer always follows, and fall after it. And then there will come a day, sometime in early September, when I will wish for winter. But for now all of my wishes are focused on spring.