Wednesday, June 11, 2008

weed flowers & house wrens

milk weed pink
giant rudbeckia
house wren's house
yarrow 's yellow flower and the soft fuzzy leaves of mullein  
This week we have butterfly weed and milk weed and yarrow blooming in our garden, and lots of buds on the cone flowers. The three wild mullein plants that have stalks are beginning to show some of their small yellow blooms and the tallest one is about to get lost in the dark red leaves of the Japanese maples. The giant rudbeckia which has a bloom like a cone flower has sent up nine stalks with a couple buds developing on each of them. This rudbeckia grows to stand six feet tall and the slow blooming tiny florets of the cone takes several weeks to move up to the tip of the cone.  I wonder why these regional flowers like butterfly weed are called weeds. They sure are great plants. Always drawing in the bees to drink their nectar and butterflies come in later then the birds look for their seeds to eat in fall. Milkweeds in our yard are tall and  new plants we got last summer at my favorite plant nursery up in Beltsville Md. called Behnkes . They have many native species of plants that the big box stores don't usually carry. These plants usually come back year after year and do really well at attracting birds and bees and butterflies better than the exotic stuff we get offered from climates that are different than our own in winter. Studies have proven that the lack of native species in our urban gardens and the reduction of native landscapes due to development cause stress and reduce populations of native birds and animals. So as lovely as the exotic geraniums are they should be balanced out with lots of natives to help support the wildlife that pollenate everything. 
This week I have a new camera and I got out after a friend suggested I do a film of the house wren and put it to the test. I got him calling on the long grape vine hanging over our lilac shrub from the choke cherry tree at the corner of our neighbor's yard. There are a few other birds singing too. If you look carefully you can see the wren throw back his head and sing which should help distinguish him from the others.  I think the other bird is a northern mocking bird but I didn't see it while shooting yesterday. 
Now that I have it loaded up on Blogger I see that it is sideways which is how I shot it but my edit to turn it upright didn't carry over to Blogger. In the future I will try to shoot the videos in this format rather than turning the camera on end. 

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