Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Clear Air and a Clearwing

Thunder rumbled through our area around midday yesterday. Kodi and I were walking in College Woods at the time. As the skies grew darker and soft rain started to fall we picked up our pace and ran the last hundred yards to the car; Kodi arrived first. We drove home through a heavy, if brief, downpour that was most welcome. According to the UNH weather stats it amounted to 1/4 inch of rain. It's a start to replenishing the parched ground; more rain is predicted later this week.

The air cleared overnight with the temperature and humidity dropping. This morning was breezy, sunny, and lovely. I harvested a large bundle of fresh coriander, our first green cabbage, and a half pint of blueberries. A perfect summer morning.

On my mid-morning yard walkabout I spotted a hummingbird clearwing (Hemaris thysbe) on the purple bee balm. I paused to watch this colorful moth and the various bees gather nectar. One bumblebee was carrying large yellow sacs of pollen, so much that its flight seemed weighed down by the load.

Here is the clearwing, as it hovers like a hummingbird at the bee balm flowers.
The hummingbirds continue to focus on the red bee balm, almost exclusively. The red flowers though are fading and I wonder what the tiny birds will shift to for nectar. Robins, catbirds, vireos, kingbirds, and others visit the alternate-leaved dogwood. Crabapples have long been suggested as a good wildlife tree, but I've not had much luck attracting wildlife to crabs. The alternative-leaved dogwood would be my choice, especially since it also has beautiful form and doesn't require much if any pruning.

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