Gratuitous Post about Birds, Plants, and Wine

This has been a pretty good year for bird watching.  I’ve got a couple of painted buntings that visit fairly regularly.  These are generally one-time-a-year birds here – at least that’s my experience.

I also have a fairly substantial flock of European starlings.  Theirs is an interesting tale and instructive on the cautionary side.  The starlings were introduced to this continent in the 1870s by the American Acclimatization Society as part of a dubious project to bring each type of bird mentioned by Shakespeare to New York’s public parks.  They were successful, and then some.  Since their introduction, more than 200 million European Starlings have spread throughout the United States, Mexico, and Canada.  They may be responsible for the collapse of native species due to their aggressive nesting habits.

starling

European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

Today is one of the first clear days we’ve had in quite some time.  It seems the haze that’s been hanging around lately is caused by a dust cloud the size of the contiguous United States which has drifted over from the Sahara.  It’s a relief to see blue skies again.

I recently enjoyed a very nice bottle of Sancerre (Domaine J. Gueneau, 2013).  It reminded me of a Grüner Veltliner – which I really enjoy.  It went quite well with vegetarian chipotle burritos.

 

Sancerre

Sancerre – Domaine J. Gueneau, 2013

Last weekend, I planted an Australian Long-leaf Acacia.  I’ve decided to call her Adelaide, a nod to both the Australian city and my grandmother.  Its long tapered leaves are a nice contrast to the neighbor’s fig tree, the Japanese black pine, and the crepe myrtles that surround it.

australian acacia jul 14

Long-Leaf Acacia (Acacia longifolia) – Adelaide

So here are the gratuitous plant photos – hope everybody has an enjoyable 4th of July!

bulbine  jul 14

Bulbine; Roses; and Buddleia

wisteria jul 14

Wisteria Bloom

crepe myrtle jul 14

Crepe Myrtles; Japanese Black Pine; and Pink Althea

morning glory jul 14

Morning Glory – Grandpa Ott – about to shut down for the summer

turks cap jul 2014

Turks Cap and Holly Tree

Update –

My Black-Eyed Susan finally bloomed yesterday!

Black-Eyed Susan - Jul 14

Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) and a Ghost Spider (Hibana velox)

And here’s a closer look at the edging…

Edging - Jul 14

Edging – Norman Arch-Shaped Around the Elm Tree