A Good Year
Thus we come to the end of another year of wildlife gardening in our small suburban “nature reserve”. We have enjoyed telling you, week by week, what we have done and seen and enjoyed and we know from comments received that many readers of the journal have found something to interest them as we have travelled along. We will be continuing the journal in 2018 but it may not appear quite every week … though when it does, subscribers will automatically receive the link at noon on Sundays as before. If you are not on the subscription list, please consider clicking the button on the right or at the foot of the page and adding your address – you can drop out any time you like with a single click but this way you won’t miss an edition.
I am writing this on a cold, clear, blue-sky day with a garden temperature of -24C which, remarkably, is colder than the North Pole. It’s not that this temperature is unheard of here, far from it, but the NP is 36C warmer than it should be and that worries us rather a lot. Certainly the extreme cold gives us a very good reason to be writing about gardening and not actually doing garden things other than regularly topping up the bird feeders and planning for the year ahead.
There was a rather good snowfall on Christmas day though because of the problems referred to in the journal a couple of weeks ago with some trees suffering impaired abscission layer formation and retaining brown leaves we have to say that some trees and bushes do look strange. Nice snow though.
Today’s final journal entry for 2017 is illustrated with some favourite photographs from the past twelve months
We imagine that it is clear to readers that birds feature high in the list of creatures we try to attract to the garden – and, indeed, there is a list below of the many species we have recorded as visiting during 2017. Others do make their presence known/felt, however. We have passing foxes, a few skunks, eastern cottontail rabbits, gray squirrels (gray, black and cream forms) and high-speed red squirrels, voles, raccoons, toads, frogs and assorted small rodents such as different species of mice. All find food here and some enough shelter to settle in for the duration.
Insects are plentiful with many taking nectar and pollen from the native flowers we grow – several species of bees (native and hive), butterflies, moths, hover-flies, ants etc plus the vast invasions of Japanese beetles that we cull as rapidly and efficiently as we can otherwise there would not be a garden for the other creatures. Whoever was responsible for first introducing those beetles to North America should be taken out and shot at dawn.
Birds in the Garden
Not a bad year at all this year for birds, though not a record. In total we recorded between us some 64 different species of birds during 2017 – the species being listed in the table below together with the date each species was first seen. (The birds are in taxonomic sequence rather than alphabetical or chronological.)
Included were 15 species of Warblers, 5 Sparrows, only 2 raptors. The Canada Goose, Snow Goose and Turkey Vulture were just flying over but the Mallard paid a brief visit to the pond. As usual, the pond and waterfall were the magnets that brought a majority of the warblers down to the ground. It was really good to see the Carolina Wren(s) coming quite regularly, mostly to the feeders and especially so during winter months when for them to find food on the ground is a bit of a hard task.
|Species||First Date||Species||First Date||Species||First Date|
|Snow Goose||03 Mar 2017||Red-breasted Nuthatch||05 Mar 2017||Blackpoll Warbler||24 May 2017|
|Canada Goose||02 Mar 2017||White-breasted Nuthatch||01 Jan 2017||Pine Warbler||05 Sep 2017|
|Mallard||11 Apr 2017||Brown Creeper||22 Jul 2017||Yellow-rumped Warbler||30 Apr 2017|
|Turkey Vulture||05 Apr 2017||Winter Wren||27 Aug 2017||Black-throated Green Warbler||27 Aug 2017|
|Cooper's Hawk||14 Mar 2017||Carolina Wren||14 Jan 2017||Canada Warbler||07 Sep 2017|
|Red-tailed Hawk||16 Feb 2017||Blue-gray Gnatcatcher||30 Apr 2017||Wilson's Warbler||06 Sep 2017|
|Mourning Dove||05 Jan 2017||Golden-crowned Kinglet||20 Apr 2017||Chipping Sparrow||21 Apr 2017|
|Ruby-throated Hummingbird||21 May 2017||Ruby-crowned Kinglet||16 Apr 2017||Dark-eyed Junco||01 Jan 2017|
|Downy Woodpecker||03 Jan 2017||Hermit Thrush||16 Jul 2017||White-crowned Sparrow||14 May 2017|
|Hairy Woodpecker||07 Oct 2017||American Robin||13 Jan 2017||White-throated Sparrow||17 Apr 2017|
|Northern Flicker||16 Apr 2017||European Starling||20 Jan 2017||Song Sparrow||04 Apr 2017|
|Pileated Woodpecker||03 Jan 2017||Cedar Waxwing||05 Sep 2017||Scarlet Tanager||23 Aug 2017|
|Eastern Wood-Pewee||08 Jun 2017||Ovenbird||10 Oct 2017||Northern Cardinal||02 Jan 2017|
|Eastern Phoebe||15 Apr 2017||Black-and-white Warbler||27 Aug 2017||Rose-breasted Grosbeak||10 May 2017|
|Great Crested Flycatcher||30 Apr 2017||Tennessee Warbler||19 May 2017||Indigo Bunting||14 May 2017|
|Blue-headed Vireo||27 Aug 2017||Nashville Warbler||12 May 2017||Baltimore Oriole||03 Aug 2017|
|Warbling Vireo||27 Aug 2017||American Redstart||23 Aug 2017||Red-winged Blackbird||23 Feb 2017|
|Red-eyed Vireo||16 Aug 2017||Cape May Warbler||19 May 2017||Common Grackle||26 Feb 2017|
|Blue Jay||02 Jan 2017||Northern Parula||05 Sep 2017||House Finch||02 Jan 2017|
|American Crow||01 Jan 2017||Magnolia Warbler||05 Sep 2017||Purple Finch||12 Jan 2017|
|Black-capped Chickadee||01 Jan 2017||Bay-breasted Warbler||03 Sep 2017||American Goldfinch||01 Jan 2017|
|Chestnut-sided Warbler||27 Aug 2017|
Looking back twelve months
Click any thumbnail to see pictures at full size.