Monday, July 04, 2005

And Changed Again

After a two-day reprieve we're are back into the heat, humidity and smog again in all of southern Ontario. They say the smog will lift tomorrow by mid-day, but I can feel a breeze from the south through my window as I write, and until that changes the smog will keep pouring in.

So between the weather conditions and the mosquitoes I know are out there, I'm taking the day off from the walk. But there's lots going on here in the yard today. And the house wrens are dominating the scene. House wrens, as the name suggests, like to nest in bird houses when they can get them (i.e., they are cavity nesters, and the houses we put up for bluebirds are a favourite of theirs). In the first round of nesting house wrens occupied the nest box on the elm tree by the road, and a family of chickadees took the house on the stump. Normally we have tree swallows and bluebirds in the boxes, but this year we got them up too late. The swallows and bluebirds scout nesting locations a few weeks (at least) before they're ready to nest, and when they scouted the yard there was nothing that suited them.

You can see twigs poking out of the box--the classic sign of the house wren.

The wrens come a little later, and the chickadees are here all the time and ready to move in. We've had chickadees use a bird house here before, but they are so quiet when they nest (and so noisy the rest of the time) that we scarcely noticed. The house on the stump though is pretty central.

House on the stump.

The chickadees fledged a couple of weeks ago, made a great ruckus all around the yard, and then were off. The wrens fledged this past week from the box on the elm--and from another nest or two whose location I don't know. But there are many wrens in the yard right now--yelling at anything they don't like the look of, and in the last few days there have been two males singing lustily. It looks as if there will be wrens on their second nests in both boxes.

Other fledglings in the yard today: robins and purple finches. The young crows are still yelling their heads off across the street, but they're also moving around more--almost ready to fly with the big guys.

The catbird has started up singing again--it has a song like the thrasher, but each phrase is only used once in the sequence. (I realized that an earlier posting about the song of the thrasher was not entirely clear--what I meant to say is that the thrasher can be distinguished from the catbird because it sings each phrase of its song twice, not once.)

And the poppies are starting to bloom.

Papaver somniferum, the opium poppy, was made illegal in Canada just a few years ago. Strangely enough, this occurred in the context of some legislation to liberalize the laws with respect to marijuana. Somniferum is a self-seeding annual in many gardens in Canada, including this one. But our climate is unsuitable for the production of quality opium.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for linking to my blog. Your's is fantastic! I guess you know where Beaver Lake is. What remarkable territory we both have. nature reaches out and slaps you in the face whether you like it or not..before you know it, your sucked in. You just can't help but be interested.

Are you related to the Martins in Erinsville or on Beaver Lake?

Keep up the blogging. I'll be back for another look.