Connecticut has been experiencing unusually hot and dry weather the past two weeks, with daily temperatures often higher than those in Florida, reaching into the mid- to high 90s°F (35-36°C) with heat indices of 100- 104°F (38-40 °C). The bird bath is visited frequently and the hummingbird feeder empties out quickly.
We keep the sugar concentration low (4 parts water to 1 sugar) to provide adequate hydration for the little birds. Only female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds visited the feeders from spring into late July. Their numbers increased and were augmented by immature offspring with duskier plumage. Adult males do not participate in care for the young but often continue to defend their territory. Males migrate south early, beginning in late summer. Females and immature birds exit about 2-3 weeks later.
Two are company...
...and three's a crowd, but look who's coming!
A mob of 8 to 10! I never got more than six to fit in the frame at one time:
Then, on July 29, a single adult male appeared:
While several female and immature hummingbirds often fed together, the male threatened or chased away any other visitors:
The throat patch (gorget) of the male is actually black. It contains no red pigment. Its color is created by iridescence-- refraction and reflection of light from microscopic mirror-like scales on the specialized feathers. The backs of males and females reflect a metallic green:
American Goldfinches continue to gather fluffy down to line their nests. Now the work is mostly being done by males, leading me to assume that females are incubating eggs:
On July 26, a female White-tailed Deer reclined in one shady patch, in clear view for over 6 hours, from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM:
She may have simply been resting, but we suspected that she was in labor. She moved to a sunny spot a few feet away before disappearing:
On July 31 we caught a glimpse of a very young fawn which had been hiding in deep vegetation until the parent approached. We wondered whether this doe might be the same one we had seen earlier:
The fawn followed her and suckled as they disappeared into the trees. I shot blindly into the dark undercover and was lucky to obtain only a partial view of the infant:
On August 8, we saw this older fawn with its mother. It was possibly "Bambi" which we first photographed as a wobbly infant just one month previously:
Two days later the older fawn was eating the fresh leaves which sprouted around a felled maple:
White-tail fawns begin to forage when about 2 weeks old and cannot survive if deprived of mothers' milk before age of 10 weeks, but are usually weaned at 12-16 weeks. It is said that fawns born later than June in northern states may not be adequately developed to survive the winter.
A Monarch butterfly, the first I have seen here, appeared on the catmint (variety: Cat's Meow Catmint, Nepeta faassenii, similar to catnip, Nepeta cataria, but it does not stimulate cats). The migratory population of this butterfly species has just been declared Endangered. Any kind of butterfly is a treat-- some days I do not see a single one:
The swimming pool has provided entertainment for the younger crowd. Two of our granddaughters with our son and his wife flew in from Texas and visited and enjoyed short drives to tour Boston and Mystic, Connecticut. The lawn shows the effects of the heat and drought:
Rain threatened and fell over Hartford, eleven miles to the west, but we remained dry:
As expected, the sunset was gorgeous:
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Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday)
Please visit the links to all these posts to see some excellent photos on display