Thursday, July 03, 2008

Changes week by week...

Answers to many of our questions become apparent over time. Each week life progresses and things unfold before our eyes. Last Friday I posted a picture of a red flower that I found on a shrub in a meadow. I looked in all my flower guides and in the internet and could not identify it. Well that is because the flower is white, not red. This week I took a picture of the same bush and saw it is a variety of Highbush Cranberry. The leaves had looked familiar but I had never noticed one with red buds before. Some cultivars of these bushes have pale pink or green buds, not the dark red of this particular plant. This native shrub is apparently fairly easy to grow and attracts a lot of birds. The flowers, fruit and foliage are all beautiful. Our soil is too dry for Dogwood, so this is a planting to consider for the yard.

Female Orchard Oriole

There really are few new birds about in July. I am seeing birds that look different and am always hoping to identify one I haven't seen before. There are a number of juveniles who have left the nest and are venturing out on their own. The spotted breast of a young robin is unmistakable, but others are not as easy. I have seen and heard Orchard Orioles frequently this year and recognized the female in the picture above. The mature males are easy to identify.(see here)

But what is this? I was thrown off by the dark eye marking and different throat colour. My guess is that this is a first year male Orchard Oriole. Again, time will tell for sure.

Insects sometimes appear and disappear in the matter of a week or two. This week we found hundreds of non-native European Skimmers in the Timothy grasses of the field. I never knew what a skimmer was before this. These tiny winged insects are part of the moth and butterfly family and are so small they were a challenge for me to photograph. I don't know if they are beneficial or harmful in North America.

An old Chinese proverb says, "One who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; one who does not ask a question remains a fool forever."

So I will keep questioning and looking for the answers.


  1. Things do change to reveal the answers many times. :c) My bird activity has been really low this past month. Thankfully, they are out eating natural food sources and only using the feeders as a supplement.

  2. Hi Ruth, I'm so glad you were able to ID your "red flower". I didn't recognize it either as a Highbush Cranberry. It's a very pretty bush. I'm hearing and seeing a few more birds now that many of the young have fledged, but it's still pretty quiet. Even the hummingbirds are not as active at the feeders - there's so many wildflowers this year for them. The butterflies and other insects are a lot of fun to photograph. It seems summer has arrived - hot here. :)

  3. Lovely shots and thought-provoking message. Things do indeed change and we must always keep on questioning.

  4. Ruth--true true. Yes, things do reveal themselves over time. It takes a wise person to have the patience to wait to learn more.
    I love your closing Chinese proverb--I think I will use that in teaching.

  5. It is amazing how quickly things change!

  6. I like the Chinese proverb. :D

  7. Anonymous8:32 pm GMT-4

    I too have seen less of "new" birds this past month, but the babies of the common birds are certainly in abundance. Last week I came across 6-8 young Blue Jays hanging out in a tree. I think they just received their flying wings. I see (and hear) lots of adult Jays, never the babies. I was thrilled.

  8. Ruth,

    Very interesting photos. I have never seen an orchard oriole and if I have I didn't realize what it was. We also have skimmers here this year and was just thinking they were some kind of moth. I wonder if they are beneficial insects? I will have to learn more about them.

    Thanks for another informative post. I always enjoy my time here.


  9. These are beautiful pictures! I, too, love the proverb! When I was in school, I was ALWAYS asking questions. As an adult, for quite a few years I felt "stupid" when asking questions. I'm finally willing to risk looking like a fool. YAY!


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