Sunday, May 15, 2016

A Rare Bird

April's transition to May occurred seamlessly with more cold, wet, rainy weather, while the spring blooms carried on. With the daffodils, hyacinths, tulips, and flowering trees fading, the lilacs began to dazzle, scenting the air with their intoxicating perfumes, but they, too, are winding down. What a shame it is that these beautiful spring flowers don't last forever. But May offers her own exciting fare.  The bearded irises are beginning to show buds, with the dwarfs already blooming. The peonies are still weeks away; hopefully by Memorial Day.

Here at the Garden Spot, we have a variety of lilacs. They make a nice backdrop for the water feature, along with the pagoda.

We have had so much rain that that lawn and pasture are green and healthy, including a bumper crop of dandelions. They have already gone to seed. The Head Gardener sprayed the pasture this week, hoping to mitigate the hefty crop of the weeds. I am sure that the neighbors trying to keep their yards dandelion free don't appreciate our pasture full. While the yellows do make for a scenic view, the weeds soak up a lot of water. We rely on the grass to supplement the horses' diet.  This week, he'll use the weed whacker to trim the edges. There is a lot to whack.

Can't wait for these peonies to bloom. The HG found the supports for them this year so that hopefully they stand strong and pretty instead of flopping all over the garden. We will see. 

Birds fascinate me. I love watching them. I was hoping to get a stunning photo of this handsome lad with the lilacs in the background. He actually is a proud papa standing watch as momma sets on her nest in the tall Blue Spruce behind the honey locust.

I am sure that I have shared this little clump of dwarf iris each year. They are a favorite and an heirloom. They have survived transplant from great grandma's garden, to our first house early in our marriage, to our next home, and finally to the Garden Spot. 

Unfortunately they don't last long.

A while back--a few years ago--we planted giant globe alums in the front circle. Their blooms are nearly the size of soccer balls. I always leave the heads on after the flowers have faded because they are so unusual looking with their star shaped, wheat colored skeletons accented black seeds. The grand kids love playing in the center garden and as kids do, they pick things. And shake things. And fly with things. And do all kinds of things with things. 

Thus I have hundreds of alums growing in the center circle. Not only are they growing, but some are mature enough to bloom. I cannot wait to see how many of them do bloom and how big the blooms are. 

This one found it's place in the courtyard right next to the sidewalk and bloomed last year. 

Speaking of birds. The HG first spotted this fellow in the pine tree near the swing set. I tried to get a good photo of him, but he was too far away and hidden in the tree.

While I was watching this fellow from the patio, the HG went inside to check the bird book to see just who he is.

Meanwhile, he was getting rather brazen, approaching the water garden It's hard to say if this was his first visit to the pond or not; he seemed to know where he was going and what he wanted.

I took dozens of photos of him from the patio as he stalked the goldfish in the pond. He was even successful.

A tasty morsel.

As it turns out this is a green heron, rare for our area. They will be found in eastern Colorado where they nest, but this would be considered a rare sighting. When I contacted the Ft. Collins Audubon Society, I was cautioned not to be too specific with the location of this sighting when I posted the sighting on their Face Book page, for obvious reasons. You won't tell, will you? 

This photo was taken May 9 and he is still hanging around. We have an algae bloom in the pond right now, so I don't know just how many fish I have lost. The koi thankfully are too big for him.  As I told the HG, we have had a water garden for years and never lost any fish to the fish eating birds. Our friends have had such problems with the blue herons that they have given up their water gardens. But we have been lucky. And now we end up a rare bird making his home here. Lucky, aren't we?

More welcome visitors to the Garden Sport are the orioles. We have 3 males coming regularly now and one female that we have seen. There is an oriole nest in the neighbors' cotton wood from last year, so they will nest and we will see them all summer. We put out grape jelly for them. The robins have learned to eat jelly, too. We will be going through a lot of jelly this summer, I think.

Yellow headed black bird. There were several makes in this cattail marsh keeping guard as their hens nest. I could have sat there all afternoon listening to them. What a variety of sounds they make. 

We like to take the country route home when we dive to Ft. Collins. I took my camera with me so we stopped by some farm ponds to watch the birds. 

Ducks are fun to watch, too. On this pond there are several varieties.

This cinnamon teal was fun to watch, along with his hen. 

And the red winged black bird

On another lake we found a fresh water pelican. Yes, we have pelicans in Northern Colorado. They are actually quite abundant on a good many lakes and ponds.

This lake also has a large variety of water fowl, including these western grebes, another bird that makes a variety of sounds.

The sun just hasn't been hanging around much lately. Our skies are more likely to look this one, with storms thundering in and out. While we tend to complain, the truth is the rain nourishes the land, feeds the plants, and makes everything grow green and pretty, so while I am eager for sunshine and warmth, I'll not take the rain for granted, for once summer arrives we may get very little rain.

This week, hopefully, we can get the vegetable garden planted and get some pots planted. What garden plans do you have? 

While Judith spends time tending her beautiful garden rather than Mosaic Monday, I am linking with Eileen's Viewing Nature Saturday's Critter's. I hope you will join me.  (There will be plenty of time for mosaics later.)

We have lots of work to do. I may talk hubby into a trip to Bath Garden center after church. (He's easy). Enjoy your week.

Thanks for visiting.


  1. Hello Ann, welcome to Saturday's Critters. I am so happy to see you sharing your post and birds. The Green heron is an awesome visitor to your pond. I will not tell anyone it is there. I love the Oriole too. The White Pelican is another one of my favorite birds. You have a nice variety of birds and photos. I like the cute dwarf irises. My silly hubby has mowed around the buttercups and dandelions anything he sees that has color he will leave. I am sure our neighbors think he is loony. I guess the bees will be happy. Thanks again for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Sunday, enjoy your new week ahead!

  2. Hi Ann! I'm sure you are inside today with all the rain. Me, too!
    I love the bird photos!
    One of our neighbors has a water feature backyard and there are herons there, but I don't think they are like your rare bird.

  3. Wow, some really great shots. You have a few birds here that I definitely have not seen before, AWESOME!

  4. Beautiful flowers Anne, I have always wanted a Peony bush but the deer tend to eat them first :)
    Iris however, they seem to leave alone, strange since they are the Tennessee official cultivator, maybe it's out of
    Your bird pictures are stunning, what a pleasure in seeing the different varieties.
    Thank you for sharing them.

  5. You wrote such a beautiful post my friend. And a green heron? WOW! How neat is that! I know we have them here in FL too but I've never seen one. The night heron has a similar look but different coloring. What a wonderful sighting. I love all of your beautiful flowers and colorful birds! Enjoy your week! Hugs, Diane

  6. Nice to catch up with what's happening in your garden Ann. Lots of birds captured although I'm wondering how you feel about the green heron eating your goldfish. I've had a blue heron and kingfisher at our pond in the past and they were going for the big goldfish!

  7. What a lovely set of photos this week Ann - I love the different variety of birds you have found - all so different to the birds in this country. Especially loving the heron - what a rare treat. Hope your sunshine arrives soon, grey, rainy weather can get you down after a while.

  8. I always swear that I don't really feed the birds. But I do put out hummingbird nectar, and I always like to have a finch sock for the goldfinches. And lately I've been putting out mealworms for the bluebird that hangs around. But now, I don't feed the birds. LOL

  9. Lovely photos, Ann! The lilacs look wonderful and soon you will enjoy some gorgeous peonies blooming. Your garden looks lavishly green indeed.
    I may be anthropomorphizing the birds in your (great) photos, but they so look like having their own personalities.
    We don't feed birds during the summer either, but we do have some great tits that have a specific call for "here I am!"... and for "thank you!" when they have received half a peanut. :)
    Have a happy Sunday!