The Bees Will Not Be Happy

It was their favorite tree, but it had to go

This flowering cherry has been in our front yard every since we moved here. Each spring it would bloom profusely much to the delight of the local bees. With the tree and its blooms on their mind, they were fairly oblivious to anything else. Unfortunately, the tree itself was near the end of its lifespan. The first few years were great, but lately, it has not been putting on as much of a show. There are several other old cherries in the neighborhood and they have also been declining as of late.

The other problem with the tree is some damage to the trunk. Every year it seems to tip over just a little bit more. It is getting very difficult to mow under (a self propelled walk behind seems to be the only efficient way).

Last summer it lost it leaves very early, long before fall so we knew that its days were numbered. Early this spring, we had it cut down but plan to find a new flowering tree of some variety to take its place (and make the bees happy again).

Bird Feeder Problems

Not who we were intending to feed

Occasionally we run into an issue with our birdfeeders. This time the birdbaths were probably just as much to blame. Then again, the hawk knows that there will probably be something he/she? considers to be food here.We are not 100% positive, but we believe that this Coopers Hawk caught a young Northern Mockingbird in our front yard. While frequently seen attempting to scare insects out of cover in our slightly long grass, they also seem to have a fascination for Pennington seed blocks. Mockingbirds are also one the top three splashers (emptying the birdbath by splashing the water out while bathing) in our birdbaths. This happens sometimes and while it is a natural event, it is not necessarily one we like to see.

Black Swallowtail Caterpillars 2: July 30, 2018

A few more pictures from that batch of caterpillars

They start off so small. (There are 2 eggs in the picture above)On their way to becoming eating machines. (4 caterpillars near the middle of the picture, click on the image to get a full size version)The black swallowtail after pumping his wings full. This set of pictures was from a couple of years ago. Usually, the butterflies from the first batch of the year emerge around the beginning of July. As mentioned in the last post, we will often plant fennel for the purpose of hosting the caterpillars. It doesn’t cost much and seeing the new butterflies is definitely worth it. They (Black Swallowtail caterpillars) will eat parsley, carrots, dill and several other related plants. The ones in our area seem to prefer fennel.

One other interesting thing happened with the fennel. It grew back the next year. If the conditions are right it is a biennial or even a perennial. It was even bigger than the year before, but the caterpillars seemed up to the challenge.