Wednesday, June 27, 2012

First Days of Summer Walkabout

Summer greets Western Massachusetts with a hot soup of humid heat. The rising sun casts a net of sweltering, swelling, sanguine rays piercing skin and leaf alike. 

Spreading landscape's spring green evaporates into a darker coating . . .  void of its former verdant glow. It is a great time for butterflies, except for all the many round eyes and beaks hunting and tearing at their lovely gowns. Catbirds and Phoebes especially are relentless in their pursuit of the many Tiger Swallowtails nectaring on the Tree Lilac and numerous other plants and shrubs in the North and Middle Meadow Gardens. 

Bluebirds are looking forward to a second brood and the female seems somewhat less concerned with my presence in the Middle Meadow Garden. Her gaze is a bit curious of my cutting, pulling and photographing. During the heat wave, she is busy building her new nest. 

Her fledglings are never far away. The first days of summer finally settle into more temperate tones and we enjoy cooler days and nights. The female bluebird is in the nest box sitting with her new eggs, while her fledglings perch patiently on the nestbox. They are a sweet family. It is quite impressive how quickly the fledgelings grow up and become self sufficient.

The parent bluebirds become even busier when the new brood hatch and are constantly bringing the nestlings bits of food harvested in the gardens. 

A new addition to the gardens. A simple metal arbor . . . something to grow on. I love how it nearly disappears into the garden green. Our 'New Dawn' rose took right to it, as did all the birds. They enjoy another perch to eye the gardens for flying, crawling or tunneling food. 

Those first summer hot days pushed flowers to their limits quickly. Japanese iris folds are simply elegant. Walking down into the Lower Garden seeing the apple trees and grasses rebounding there are many birds coming and going from the blueberry fields. Just today I saw a near head-on collision . . . there is so much excitement over the bumper crop of berries. Looking up towards the Rock Maples . . .  a hydrangea holds the light within the lace-like form of blossoms.

Entering the South Field I enjoy the sight and flights of the Tree Swallows. They are a favored and revered bird here for their constant sweeping the sky of biting bugs and their gurgling calls. I shall miss them, as they will be flying off with their fledgelings any day. 

This year the Tree Swallows in both the south and north fields were so tolerant of me and allowed me very close to their nest box . . . yet I did not get any photos of the young ones being fed. This fledgeling is trying to follow her parent back into the nest box. A sibling or two are still inside. Stepping back up towards the Upper Garden . . . wild roses stand just outside the downstairs apartment entrance. 

Phoebe nestlings are about to flee the nest too. It seems a bit crowded. Standing in the downstairs doorway I get a pretty good view. 

It is a privilege to see the gardens grow and these precious birds rear their young, even with all their antics that cause a bit of angst. I so wish they did not dine on butterflies! The birds are all so busy with their fledgelings and I cannot keep up with all that is growing in the gardens and in my other work. I finally found my first Monarch butterfly eggs on the milkweed within the paths. Life is full and it is good to feel strong. I wish as a citizenry we were stronger in our opposition to the outrageous injustices unfolding everyday. We are but stewards for the future and what will we be leaving them. 

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