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Friday, June 27, 2014

Everything's chomping

I'm chomping at the bit to get out and look for butterflies and odes, but the chomping mosquitoes keep driving me back inside. I had thought sure they'd be gone by now. So I looked at the calendar and they've only been here one week. Still one more week to go. Sure seems longer. Like a lot longer. But the rain came June 15th. It takes nearly a week for the mosquitoes to hatch out, and now this is the 27th.

I was delighted to locate the Great Pondhawk that Kelly had seen here Tuesday. Last year he photographed one here, but this is my first photo of the species.

Maybe an old Bell's Vireo mystery has been solved. (See post of July 5, 2012) I had found a sideways nest and couldn't see any indication that it had been predated. Now I'm thinking the vireo builds these nests (same tree as in 2012) deliberately with a side entrance to foil cowbirds. This nest has 4 vireo eggs in it, no cowbird eggs, although both Bronzed and Brown-headed Cowbirds are in the vicinity of the oasis.

The nest is hard to photograph because of the vegetation, and I had to lighten the photo quite a bit, but maybe you can tell how the entrance is nearly horizontal. She still doesn't seem to have mastered the technique totally, but this may be a glimpse of evolution in progress. I don't think it's tipped because the tree branch sagged under the weight. I think it was built this way. Otherwise, the eggs wouldn't be centered correctly in the nest. But I'll remain open-minded. I had to stand on a chair to peek inside and not wanting to disturb her, it was a very quick peek.

The oasis is immersed in the fragrance of blooming bee-brush. It's everywhere.

I was once told that it was invasive, and that I would regret not plucking the seedlings of it out as they sprouted under every tree I watered.  Still not sorry. Just sorry that it's covered with bees and not butterflies. Bummer! I have had years where it was covered with butterflies, so I think it'll happen this year. Butterfly numbers seem to have suffered from our recent long, cold winter.

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