The Gardeners are back from a superb week’s birding on Grand Manan (if that sort of thing interests you there is a short series of posts with photographs of birds and the like at Anyway – here we are in the garden again and in the short time we were away things have clearly changed from high summer to pre-autumn. On returning we anjoyed heavy thunderstorms – so no watering of parched plants to be done. That was nice. All the bird feeders had been emptied and many plants had move on a season.

Canna Lilies are now in bloom (that pleases the Hummingbirds), most of the phlox flowers are open, The PG Hydrangea pannicles that were white when we left have turned rosy-pink, there are flowering Rudbeckia/Black-eyed Susans everywhere … and as soon as the bird feeders were refilled they were fallen on by five juvenile Purple Finches.

Japanese beetles have dined all too well on our rose leaves in our absence. Despite thunderstorms and heavy rain together with essential post-vacation domestic chores, J still managed to collect and kill 177 on her first day out hunting. At the front, we have found two separate wasp nests below the “lawn” … they can stay so long as they behave themselves.

On the other hand, some insects are welcome. We found Monarch butterfly caterpillars on our Milkweed collection.

Back towards the end of last winter we moaned in this journal about a mature Euonymus bush that had been ring-barked and killed by a rabbit. In spring we cut it down to the ground intending to dig the roots out and replant but it rapidly started to put up new shoots – now, towards the end of summer, it is growing at a pace never seen before and in a couple of seasons should be a sight to behold. That rabbit had better behave itself next winter.

Our Red Squirrels are busily chewing cedar cones – there are shards scattered under several trees and bigger pine cones are being detached and falling on the house roof with a thump. All seasonal activities around here.

The Japanese Anemones are blooming and providing a nice perch for Hummingbirds – see photographs.  As we said last week, berries abound and the Rowans have never had such a crop. We enjoyed watching one juvenile Northern Cardinal in one Rowan tree nibbling at green leaves while surrounded by fat, glowing berries. He will learn.  The Robins, on the other hand, have got the message and starting work on the fruits.

Youngsters of both Purple and House Finch families are working the feeders. Juvenile American Goldfinches are demanding food from parents in the tops of the birch trees. In fact, there are young birds learning to be adult birds flopping around all over the place. The youngsters mostly all have tufts of fluff poking out between their first real feathers as they grow into their adult plumage – in particular Finches, Chickadees, Vireos, Sparrows and Blue Jays. The young Blue Jays’ voices have not yet quite “broken” and there are some strange strangled squeaks and squawks. There have been a couple of (unphotographed) visits to the waterfall by adult Baltimore Orioles in full colours.

This is a good time of the year.

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Juvenile Northern Cardinal

Northern Flicker

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar on Milkweed


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