Monday, May 14, 2012

Today's visitors on the deck

It's warm and sunny and quite a few visitors have stopped by. First a purple finch early on. He sings the most glorious song which completely enraptures me.

Then a little chickadee perched on a silo feeder I've placed in a new spot which all the birds seem to enjoy... perhaps it's like a tree branch? Or the great view as it chows down?

Followed by a large male hairy woodpecker.
And who'd have thought that a large wasp - a paper wasp no doubt - maybe even a queen searching out the sugar in this hummer feeder, would visit the deck this morning. .

One fall the fellow who makes the blue bird nest boxes that border my property, found one nest box completely covered in the careful layering of grey paper, constructed entirely by paper wasps. It was a magnificent creation.
From wikipedia: The nests of most true paper wasps are characterized by having open combs with cells for brood rearing, and a 'petiole', or constricted stalk, that anchors the nest (see image, right).[3] Paper wasps secrete a chemical which repels ants, which they spread around the base of the anchor to prevent the loss of eggs or brood.

Earlier this year I found such an open comb - on a constricted stalk, pasted neatly into that same nest box... I took it out and put it on the snow, even though there were no insects inside. I did not want the wasps to attack the swallows and bluebirds that would inevitably inspect the boxes. However I have learned that these creatures unless attacked, do not go after others.

And so it was a busy morning. Now the song of the purple finch mingles with that of a song sparrow yet to be seen today and the hum of bees around the forgetmenots makes the afternoon feel lazy and warm... time for a nap! Such activity has made me sleepy. :)


  1. Nice post. We have an enormous number of paper wasps in this part of the world. They do not welcome visitors and can be quite stand-offish!

  2. thank you Bill - hope you are enjoying a lovely spring. Blackflies have found me here, and I'm nursing several itchy spots that will be with me for quite a while.