It's March 12 and already this month we've had temperatures in the 70's, temperatures in the 20's, tornado warnings and as shown on the left, a winter weather event that caused major highways to be closed. I know it's not much by Buffalo, New York standards, but it was enough to delight every kid in town and ice every overpass and bridge in the northern part of the state.
Welcome to Alabama! If you don't like the weather, hang around a day or so because it's sure to change.
I went out in my yard on Monday and noticed some unusual things. I did a little investigating and discovered there's been sexual activity in my backyard. *gasp* I live in middle-class suburbia. How could this happen?
I checked on the bluebird houses and one has eggs in it. I love watching the bluebirds. We never had bluebirds at our other house because it was in a wooded area, and the Eastern bluebird prefers open fields. Since our subdivision used to be a cotton field, it's pretty open. When I spotted my first bluebird three years ago, I made the DH buy houses and put them up. This is our third year to have bluebird babies. These photos are from other sources because I can't get close enough to the birds, but the photo of the eggs looks exactly like the nest in my yard.
Yes, that's what you think it is, and we have another nest as a result of their little rendezvous. But this nest is a little different. The kildeer is a member of the plover family and the first time I saw and heard it, I thought a shore bird had wandered way, way, way inland. It has a very loud call, and when it feels threatened, or feels its nest is in danger, it makes a screeching noise and will run along the ground, dragging a wing as if injured to lure the suspected predator away from the nest.
Instead of nesting in houses or trees, kildeer nest on the ground. These are photos of last year's nest, but if you look carefully to the bottom right of the spirea bush, you can see the nest and four eggs in the mulch. Here's a closer photo of the nest.
The mother lays the eggs over a period of days. I first noticed the nest late last week. Monday afternoon I saw one egg in it. As of yesterday afternoon, it still only had one egg, but the mama and papa are probably off somewhere having bird sex so they can fill the nest up with the usual four eggs. In about a month they'll hatch. Unlike the bluebirds which are tiny and helpless when they hatch, kildeer babies are born able to walk and fly right away. So within a few days of hatching, the mother will destroy all evidence of the nest.
My daylilies are sprouting up out of the ground, my rose bushes are putting out leaves and pretty soon it'll be time to plant flowers and spruce up the herb garden I planted last year. Most of the herbs are perennial but I'll have to re-plant my sweet basil. I sure enjoy having those fresh herbs to cook with. I don't think I'll bother with parsley this year, though, because an infestation of parsley worms destroyed it last year. But how can I complain when those worms become black swallowtail butterflies? And who eats parsley anyway (except those worms)?
Is spring showing itself in your neck of the woods? Do you garden or watch birds? If so, what birds do you see and what does your garden grow?
P.S. One of my bestest friends has a book coming out on March 25. FIRST YOU RUN is the first in a three-book connected series featuring Roxanne St. Claire's oh-so-hunky Bullet Catchers. You can read a review of the book here and her publisher, Pocket Books, has donated 10 ARCs for that review site to give away. All you have to do is comment on the thread by midnight Thursday (I think it's Eastern time). It's an awesome book (I'll be doing my own review of it on the Playground website next month) so here's your chance for an early peek.