I was shocked recently to look out the kitchen window and see a tall (4+ ft.?) Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) in our backyard! Moving very, very slowly, it gradually made its way toward our water feature.
It was extra special last week to see a bright splash of blue in the backyard and to realize it was a male Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea). It’s a new member of our backyard bird list that we’ve kept since replanting the backyard with native plants in 2006. We’re now up to 66 different species.
I had a few butterfly chrysalises from last fall and kept them in the garage all winter. This week I decided it was time to put them outdoors. The next morning, about 10 a.m, I noticed a black swallowtail butterfly had just emerged! The yellow dots indicate it’s a male.
Yes, I think it’s ‘cute’. I first saw it about a week ago on the back of a dining room chair and again today on our kitchen cabinet. It’s a zebra spider (Salticus scenicus) and is quite small (about ½ inch). According to Wikipedia, they are common throughout the Northern hemisphere and are often found near humans – in dwellings or gardens.
When I saw these crocuses blooming on the 3rd day of February, I felt like I had discovered nuggets of gold. I’ve never before had garden flowers this early.
I’m amazed that something that appears so delicate can survive our below-freezing temperatures, but they seem to take the cold in stride. The blossoms close tightly at night, but open and seem to glow on sunny afternoons. Thanks be for nature’s February gold!