Male bluebird caught on the trail cam
It’s been a busy spring on Overlook Circle. Spring migration was pretty lackluster. We didn’t get much in the way of warblers or migrant sparrows. For several days early on we did have some yellow-rumped warblers, and small flocks of white-throated sparrows which are always nice. The most unusual thing I saw were sandhill cranes flying over (new yard bird!)
New bench by the water feature
The new water feature has been a big hit with our local residents. Robins are constantly taking baths, as well as chickadees, chipping sparrows, and goldfinches. Recently we’ve seen them joined by cedar waxwings and bluebirds. We had a fairly rainy spring, so perhaps the migrants didn’t feel the need to stop. I experimented with the placement of my trail camera and have gotten some good captures as a result. Recently I ordered an engraved stone that says “Welcome to Overlook Falls’a nd should receive that in a few weeks, I think it will be a nice decorative addition. I’ve planted some things around the edge of the water, and added a nice decorative bench by Painted Sky Designs
Red baneberry doing well in the back of the yard
Other things going on in the yard. I learned my lesson from last year and put up fencing around areas I don’t want the rabbits eating. A lot of things I planted last year are coming up nicely (wild lupine, lead plant, American spikenard
, red baneberry
. I planted a bunch of poke milkweed but am having mixed results. Hopefully it will do well in at least some places where I’ve planted it. I’ve really been working on the very back “problem area” of the yard, pulling endless amounts of creeping Charlie, putting down some paths and transplanting some things from the front yard to the back. Earlier in the spring, before things got too big, I pulled a bunch of garlic mustard. I also planted some golden ragwort
which is aggressive, but I’m throwing everything I can at that area to keep the invasives at bay.
Brown belted bumblebee on wild indigo
It seems like there has been a bumper crop of dragonflies this year. More than I’ve ever seen before. We also have many bees and various other pollinators. One thing I haven’t noticed a lot of is butterflies. There have been a few swallowtails, and I did see two monarchs, but only briefly. I’m hoping things pick up as the summer flowers start blooming. Everything is very tall now. The Joe Pye weed, coneflower and monarda are all right on the verge of blooming, so we should start seeing some more color soon and with that, some more visitors!
Female bluebird in the new front yard nest box
The front yard has really changed over the last few years. Our red oak had to be cut down due to a sudden case of oak wilt. It’s much more open there now, and we had Ecoscapes Sustainable Landscaping
install a new garden bed while they were working on the water feature. Recently I realized that it might be good habitat for bluebirds, so I put up a box last weekend. Less than 24 hours later, we had a bluebird pair building a nest in the front yard. There was a pair which had built a nest in one of the back yard boxes but they never laid eggs. Right now we have a just-completed nest in the front box, waiting on eggs, and it will be interesting to see if/how that location works for them.
Chickadee nest in the back yard
In the back yard we currently have house wrens nesting in one of the bluebird boxes. They are very disapproving of my presence anywhere in the yard, and are constantly scolding me everywhere I go. Earlier in the spring chickadees successfully nested in the Gilbertson PVC box I put under the pine trees a few years ago. Last year the nest failed due to house wrens throwing out the eggs, so this year I made sure to get a wren guard
up right away. There were 8 eggs, one didn’t hatch and I removed it. In the photo I see 6 chicks so I’m not sure if the 7th didn’t hatch or if the chick just isn’t visible. They fledged last monnth and the family still comes in for mealworms when I put them out.
Next update… our 2016 garden tour is scheduled for the last weekend in July!