Bees, butterflies, and birds

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It’s good to watch to watch plants coming to life again, and I’m also glad to see more wildlife. I’m seeing more bees – large and small. I can’t identify most of them, but I can usually spot Carpenter bees (Xylocopa spp.). I learned recently they’re not bumble bees, although they certainly look similar. Carpenter bees have a shiny black abdomen, and are often referred to as the bee with a ‘shiny butt’. This one was getting nectar by puncturing blueberry blossoms.

Carpenter bee

I’m not seeing many butterflies except the ones that have emerged from chrysalises I kept outside this winter. So far there have been two black swallowtails and three pipevine swallowtails, including this one shortly after it emerged.

Pipevine Swallowtail butterflyWe’ve also had a pair of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks at our bird feeder. We often see them in the spring and fall as they pass through Kentucky. The females resemble large sparrows, but males, like this one, are easy to identify.

Rose-breasted grosbeak

It’s fun to watch the comings and goings this time of year. What spring activity are you seeing?

6 thoughts on “Bees, butterflies, and birds”

  1. Gorgeous photo of the grosbeak Betty!

    After our harsh winter, I wasn’t sure if all of my Perennials would return but most have. From overwintering butterfly chrysalis so far have released 7 Eastern Black Swallowtails, 1 Pipevine, 5 Zebra S/T, 3 Tiger S/T, 4 Spicebush S/T and 1 Red Spotted Purple (overwinter as cat, emerged and chrysalised this past week). Still have approx 75 overwinters to hatch and release. And so it begins. Let’s just hope the Monarch makes a grand appearance. So exciting! Our Norfolk Botanical Garden is featuring and promoting the Monarch this year….their program “Mission Monarch, Project Milkweed” promises to be an opportunity to educate the public with regard to their decline. I’m proud to be a part of that endeavor!

    Happy spring and summer!

    1. Christine, Congratulations! I’m quite impressed with the number and variety of butterflies you have successfully overwintered. And overwintering the Red-Spotted Purple is especially impressive. And 75 yet to go? My hat is off to you and thanks for sharing. Glad to hear of the “Mission Monarch, Project Milkweed”. I like the title. I’m encouraged by other such projects. I think the word is out there and many folks are concerned and want to help.

    1. Judy, I hope you can see one – the males are quite striking. They seem to be drawn to sunflower bird feeders.

  2. Lovely photos once again Betty, and great to see Spring is now sprung!
    The Rose-breasted Grosbeak is a lovely little bird, a delight to have them visit your garden, i am sure. The Swallowtail butterflies are amazing and i love the photo of The Carpenter Bee on the Blueberry blossom. I have a Blueberry bush growing in a large pot, so will check it out when the blossom appears to see what sort of bees they attract, not sure if we have the Carpenter bee in Jersey.

    1. Pauline, Glad to know you are growing blueberries – tho I never thought of growing them in a pot. I’d be interested to know about your favorite birds on Jersey Island.

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