I’ve heard his chatter and song off an on for a week or so and I finally spotted him. The Baltimore Oriole is back in the back yard, leaping from branch to branch high in the maples, looking for a good meal of bugs and other good stuff. I first spotted one in my yard nearly 15 years ago and it seemed to be lured to the wild black cherry. Since then I’ve let a few extra mulberries grow because orioles do like their fruit and will nest near a good food source. I had found the hanging way at the end of a branch in the maple in the front yard, then a few years later in the maple in the back yard; somewhere I have a photo of it, but I’ll be darned if I can find it.
The leaves are just big enough now that birds are obscured, and the females are about the color of new maple leaves, so though I scanned the trees top to bottom with binoculars I did not spot the female. I’ll keep a lookout for this year’s nest, and keep my hummingbird feeders full and add the oriole feeder this year as well as put out some orange slices and other tasty fruits. The mulberry tree directly under this maple has the biggest, darkest, juiciest mulberries on any of the trees in my yard, in fact, they look more like big blackberries. The wild black cherries are small and turn a deep black-purple. This seems to be the fruit varieties and colors the orioles like best, although both trees are often considered “pest” or “weed” trees because from blossoms to fruits to leaves to branches they are “messy” trees. I’ve no doubt, though, they are two of the reasons I have so many bird species in my yard.
They’re not named for the city of Baltimore, but both the city and the bird were named for the British Baltimore family whose colors are orange and black.
These were the best photos I could get from the ground and from the deck. The maple trees are 70 to 80 feet tall and this guy was happily hopping along the tops of all the branches. If I can get a shot from the second-floor window I’ll be so happy! And I may have to seriously consider fitting a converter onto my 70-300 lens, or getting a lens up to 500mm.
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Nearly everything in the garden is fresh and new—and green. These nascent green berries by mid to late summer will be rich and vibrant colors.
The little frizzy cluster at the top are wild grapes which will grow to about the size of a marble and turn a dusty indigo, though most will be eaten by birds as they ripen; these grow on a vine and match with the leaves just behind them that resemble maple leaves, and while the grapes turn purple these leaves will turn bright yellow.
Clockwise is a cluster of little green balls which are Virginia creeper berries which will grow to about the size of a pea and turn deep red violet while the compound leaves—appearing like a cluster of five or six leaves in a circle—will turn brilliant red on the vine.
Hanging underneath them and off to the right are pale green mulberries which resemble blackberries in their elongated shape and cluster of smaller green spheres clumped together, and will turn first red then the same black-purple color as black berries while the leaves on this tree, the wide shiny elongated leaf with the notched edge, will turn yellow.
If you love gardening and watching things grow, please enjoy a recent post by composerinthegarden entitled “We Must Be Mad With Joy” so titled for a quote from Iris Murdoch, http://composerinthegarden.com/2013/05/24/we-must-be-mad-with-joy/.
Truly, I am mad with joy that there is so much life all around me that is constantly changing and growing, and all I need to do is watch.
Breakfast on a lazy Sunday morning? Berries are so June! Berries are everywhere, especially red and black raspberries. I have a few black raspberries in my yard which the birds generously planted, and a couple of years ago I took photos of the berries I harvested and used as models, then ate for breakfast, plus a few other berries in the yard. Just for good measure, here’s another one, and don’t forget to click the link at the bottom to see the slideshow of more berries.
Happy Summer Solstice!
Berries are everywhere, especially red and black raspberries. The photo from the other day was at the farmer’s market. I have a few black raspberries in my yard which the birds generously planted, and a couple of years ago I took photos of the berries I harvested and used as models, then ate for breakfast, plus a few other berries in the yard.
Happy Summer Solstice!