July 9, 2007 [LINK / comment]

Midsummer nature break

While searching for birds a couple days ago, I noticed a cluster of thistle plants in full bloom, and was lucky to get this shot of a Honeybee licking nectar from a flower. Thistles are attractive for about one week, and then they go to seed, looking scraggly for the rest of the summer. Goldfinches depend almost exclusively on the cotton-like thistle fibers, so these late-breeders will soon be able to start building their nests.

Thistle, bee

Along the path behind the Staunton-Augusta Rescue Squad on Monday morning, I noticed many fledgling Chickadees, Titmice, and Cardinals making a lot of noise. Those year-round resident species will be able to raise a second brood later this summer and early fall, whereas most of the migrants will have to pack up and leave by September. If their first brood fails for whatever reason (snakes, Cowbirds, Bluejays), they won't get another chance until next year.