Terry’s blog #1 – Spring in the Comox Valley
It is finally beginning to feel like summer will actually arrive here on the island. It has been an unseasonably cool spring with temperature seldom even getting up to the average daytime high. It is quite pleasant today and the forecast for tomorrow is for a high of 21. The spring wildflowers are all in bloom and most of the migrant birds are trickling in from the south.
As a nature photographer I find myself with so many options at this time of year that I am torn as to what to do next. The migrating birds, the spring flowers, the emerging insects, all draw my interest and it can be tough to choose. Lately I have been spending time at Bees and Blooms Nursery in Courtenay. Carla, the owner of the nursery, has made her property into a haven for the birds. There are many hummingbird feeders as well as a large hopper feeder and a couple of finch feeders. She also has a couple of occupied Wood Duck boxes and a swallow box with Violet-green Swallows taking up residence.
The Rufous Hummingbirds are numerous and active and there is one male that tries to dominate the feeders, keeping them free of other birds besides himself and his mate. Of course, while he is defending one feeder the other birds simply go to another feeder. The aerial dog-fights make for a great show though. Because this is a nursery there are lots of hummingbird friendly flowers around and these provide other opportunities for the many hummingbirds.
Pecking order is not restricted to just the hummingbird feeders as there is a male Goldfinch that tries the same trick at the hopper feeder, chasing all the other Goldfinches and even the House Finches and Purple Finches. In this case though, it seems like it is a self-centered effort, the bird simply not tolerating any other birds invading his feeding space. Although the three finch species are most numerous at the feeder, there are also a few Dark-eyed Juncos and Song, Golden-crowned and White-crowned Sparrows that partake in the feast and every once in a while a lone Steller’s Jay that did not head further inland to breed will land on the feeder and scare everything else away. I also saw groups of Band-tailed Pigeons flying overhead and Carla told me that they regularly visit the feeder early in the morning and late in the afternoon.
For anyone interested in visiting the nursery, as well as the birds Carla has a wonderful selection of plants and she is doing it all organically.