Buzzed

Bumblebees are nesting next to the front walk. I’ve spotted them at the entrance in the gap between the sidewalk and the old edger. They are welcome, even though one stung my ankle once when I got too curious. Presumably the ones visiting the morning glories and sedum come from this nest and perhaps others. The sedum also attracts carpenter and honey bees.
 A less obvious visitor who keeps to the back flower beds is a female hummingbird. Two weekends ago, when it was cool enough to sit outside, I was enjoying the shade when she flew by. Moments later I was startled by the loud buzz of her wings very close to my ear. I jumped up, unsure if she was warning me off or mistaking my ear for a flower. I have seen her in that area before. Perhaps she is nesting in the clump of viburnum.

Location:Wheaton

Allopreening

This morning I watched two mourning doves on the walk behind the house. One (female?)  was standing still, close to the second one (male?) who was completing a thorough grooming. Feathers settled, the second one then began to peck at the first one’s neck and head. A quick search lead me to this blog post at poweredbybirds.com, where I learned the term “allopreening” for this behavior.

Bees on the butterfly weed

Here is the Asclepias tuberosa I planted last July, hoping to support butterflies. I was so pleased to see that it survived to grow and bloom this year. At first I didn’t see any insects visiting it, but today noticed three different small bees on it, two of which are visible in this photo. The few butterflies we’ve had lately have focused on the butterfly bushes, and the little zinnias that have begun to bloom.

asclepiasbees12jul15

The Swallowtails are Back

Yesterday we had two Eastern Tiger Swallowtails in the yard. In the afternoon we visited Wheaton Regional Park, which includes a lot of tulip trees, their larval food plant.  We spotted our first butterfly on a patch of bare ground as we entered the park. Continuing on to the gardens, we arrived at the massive bottlebrush buckeye at the edge of the woods, to find a dozen or more swallowtails and several hummingbird moths visiting the blooms. They were all in motion, but I did manage to capture two in this photo.

stbf11july15

Bumblebee Home

This morning’s bumblebee sighting inspired me to get back to this blog. I knew that at least some bumblebees nest in the ground, but until today I had never seen any sign of it. This morning, on my way back from collecting the paper, I noticed a bumblebee approaching a gap between an old brick edger and the front walk. It disappeared into the space. Soon after I saw two other bees. Then  one emerged. With a little patience I was able to get this shot of a bee who seemed to be searching for the entrance. What a great excuse for not weeding that area! I want to know more about these bees.

BumblebeeHome11July15