Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Wednesday Vignette - For the Birds

Wednesday Vignette is hosted each week by the creative and fabulous Anna at Flutter and Hum.  Click here to see what's on her mind and in her lens this week.

A few years ago, I decided to take down my bird feeders due to many unwanted evening visitors. There are things I miss like seeing the flocks of American Goldfinches flutter through my garden. The chickadees still visit but they aren't as numerous as they were when there was a constant supply of black oil sunflower seed.   I don't miss the Starlings crowding out other birds and making a mess everywhere.  The humming bird feeders remain and get lots of visitors Surprisingly, there are still lots of other birds hanging out in my jungle.  Earlier there was a hummingbird gathering lint from the  dryer vent outlet and flying off with it so there must have been some nest building going on.  Last Wednesday, you saw one of the Cedar Waxwings that visited.  The Western Tanager still eludes the camera but I get a glimpse of that red and yellow beauty from time to time.  There must be a robin's nest in one of my bushes as a mother robin has been bringing her fledgling to the Japanese Maple by the back door and feeding him/her berries from  Mahonia × media ‘Charity.'  What a great plant that blooms in the winter providing nectar for the Annas Hummingbirdsand then produces berries for birds feeding their young in the spring.

On a recent morning while checking out the begonias on the back porch, a plaintive bird cry made me search out the source.  This baby hummer seemed like it may had dropped onto our wicker chair from a nest somewhere but none was visible.   As I grabbed the camera and went back, an adult flew by. Maybe mom was catching bugs for baby.

After snapping a picture or two, I went inside and watched through a window for a time and it eventually flew away but returned a few minutes later.  First flying lesson?

Later in the week I glanced out the kitchen window at 5:00 a.m. and noticed a Great Blue Heron on the path by the pond.  These birds love to eat koi and I rushed outside only to see a flutter of wings as it took off.  I've been told but don't know if it's true that these huge birds don't land directly on water but rather land on the ground and wade out.  Thus the unsightly electric fence around the pond deters them from wading in because it messes with their legs.  These are fascinating birds to observe but not when they want to eat one's pet koi!

A couple of weeks ago at Tsugawa Nursery, there was a mom who thought that a gallon pot of geraniums would be a great place to build her nest.

Mom stayed nearby and as soon as I moved away, she scrambled right back into her nest. 

Such a busy time for both flora and fauna in our gardens!

Brings to mind the lyrics of that sweet old song,   "I sing because I'm happy, I sing because I'm free. His eye is on the sparrow and I know he watches me."

" How lovely is thy dwelling place...Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself where she may lay her young."  from Psalm 84

There's always time for a little Brahms, right?


  1. Great shots of the baby humming bird, Peter! Their nests are so incredibly tiny... I recently saw one built on top of a cable of strung lights - but only after it was pointed out to me. How fun to have all that wildlife in your garden. A heron - wow!

  2. Great shots Peter, so lovely to see all the bride activities in the garden :)

  3. Birds are so active this time of year. At work there is a reoccurring evening drama; small black birds protecting their fledgeling chicks from crows (and anyone trying to reach their car in the parking lot). Fantastic aerial acrobatics. The sparrow, not bothered by all the foot traffic, building it's nest in a nursery pot, is astonishing.

  4. I don't refill my bird feeder any more either, it's been raided too many times by squirrels. I get a lot of bird activity now that I've turned the stream back on. Great shots of the baby hummer! The newsletter from Far Reaches often mentions the birds that are nesting on their plant tables and around the nursery.

  5. Now you DO have a hummingbird willing to sit for a portrait! Having faced you in his infancy, maybe he'll make regular return visits.

  6. Lovely to see your baby, how cute. Birds bring a garden to life and I am delighted to have so many. I love to see the different ones you have over there. I think herons like to wade in to the pond so I surround mine with pots full of plants.

  7. Sweet hummer shot, Peter. Birds add so much to a garden, particularly delightful during breeding season. We currently have many different nests around our yard, males singing their hearts out.

  8. I hope that little baby Hummer made it. Here I get to watch the fledglings as they visit all the flowers, flying in a clumsy slow way at first--after a few days more they zip around just light the adults.

    What I have read is that Herons like to wade into the pond via a beach. They will dive only if extremely hungry. Same with raccoons. Have not lost a koi yet to either, so maybe that is right.

  9. We have birds nesting in various places in and near our yard, some in bird houses we have supplied. Today as I was weeding, a junco kept clicking at me. I guess I was too close to her nest, wherever it might have been.
    Birds are so much fun to observe.

  10. A moment of serenity compliments of Brahms and you; thank you.

    I too have had an encounter with a clumsy little hummer fledgling who waited for me to go in and get my camera and memorialize some of his first moments out on his own. Seemed like Grace.

  11. What a sweet and calming group of vignettes, Peter. These photos made me very happy. The limited but welcome birds in my garden give me moments of sheer joy when they visit. Having just discovered a bush tit nest in my Eucalyptus, I'm even more over the moon about our little feathered friends in the garden.

  12. Great post! I have never seen a baby hummer. Does your fence deter the raccoons as well?

    1. Yes, it's the only raccoon deterrent that's ever worked well for me. Tried the motion activated water jet thing but our raccoons simply grabbed some soap and enjoyed the shower. Raccoon antics are swell but it's sad to find koi bits strewn around the pond as we grow rather fond of the fish over time. It was with a little bit of glee that I heard a raccoon yelp the first night the fence was up. The upper part where the water comes out of the filter and flows along before falling into the pond isn't fenced so the little buggers can still play in the water, just not in the fenced fish area. Downside - it doesn't look very good and I still get a shock every now and again when I forget or am too lazy to turn if off before weeding around the pond. Upside- it's way cheaper than clinical electroshock therapy.


Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.