Hummingcrow & Co.

summer

Seán   Pollinator Week: BC Bees & Wanna-bees

A bumble bee sipping at camas A happy bumble bee enjoying the offerings of a camas / kwetlal flower

A couple of years ago, Kate and I began our journey towards becoming certified Pollinator Stewards thanks to Island Pollinator Initiative's wonderful webinar series. The first session enlightened us about the importance of pollinators to food production and biodiversity, with a special focus on BC's native bees.

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Seán   Who Needs a TV When You Have a Bird Bath?  Kate

As the beaming rays of the summer sun begin to broil our hilltop habitat, rarely a minute of the day ticks by without some feathered visitor or other seeking a sip or a swim at our weather-worn stone basin. But a bird bath is far more than just a small pool of water providing relief for panting beaks – it's a crossroads of avian activity which sets the stage for all sorts of stories to unfold, featuring familiar characters, surprise guests, and thrilling plot twists.

Here's a sampling of the many fine programs on offer through BB-TV in case you're considering subscribing:

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Kate  Quinton the Quail... & Co!  Seán

One sunny afternoon in early July, we took a peek down our slope to find Quinton staring warily at us, seemingly on guard:

quinton watch

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Seán   Springy Summer Visitors

Kate's new friend

This spur-throated grasshopper nymph may be a major agricultural pest, but it sure is cute and fascinating to behold up close in person at this instar. Not all species in this subfamily are considered problematic, but this particular individual seems to be a two-striped grasshopper (Melanoplus bivittatus), which are highly problematic crop eaters. That being said, it's also a tasty meal for birds... and perhaps for humans as well?

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Seán   Hummingtunes III: Calming Music Edition  Kate

If you missed the other editions of Hummingtunes, you can find them here.

Next month, Bandcamp Friday returns once more to support the livelihoods of musicians around the world who bring much-needed light and relief to challenging circumstances. For this edition of Hummingtunes, we thought we'd take this opportunity to highlight and reflect upon some of the calming albums which have brought a great deal of relief to our heavy brains and anxious bodies during difficult times. We hope they do the same for yours as well:

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Seán   Pollinator Week Finale: A Tale of Two Pies  Kate

As you're all no doubt aware, today is Tau Day! So no further explanation is neede-

Quail ~ “...T..au...?”

Oh! It seems that Quinton is unfamiliar with this widely-celebrated and much-beloved human holiday. So before we continue, here's a brief bit of background:

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Seán ☀️ End-of-Summer Summary 🍂 Kate

oak leaf gradient

Now that two weeks of dense smoke have given way to both rain and blue sky in our region, an immense sigh of relief has swept across the land and through our bodies here atop the hill just in time for the autumnal equinox. We've also been treated to a flurry of bird activity over the past few days, as flocks of many species hop happily amongst the oaks and grasses, foraging and chittering after so many stressful stuffy days. The return of our Steller's jays, towhees, and robins signifies a much-awaited shifting of the seasons.

To be sure, summer brought energizing light and splashes of delight to hazy times, but the parting curtains of golden-brown leaves offer an opportunity for rejuvenation, deceleration, and transition. We'll have some big announcements to make about our autumn plans soon...

But before we wave goodbye to the last beams of the summer sun, we thought we'd take a bit of time to step back and reflect upon various happenings around the Hill during this year's dry months.

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Seán   Little Paintings: A Bumble Bee Rests in the Sun

Little bee painting

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Kate  #Meanwhile

A bottle fly blows bubbles to the soundtrack of baby house wrens getting fed in their nest box.

Kate   Little Paintings: Robin in the Bath

Seán and I have recently been scheming new ways to creatively capture scenes around the Hill, so I halved some card-paper offcuts I got from an art store. Now we have a nice stack of 3x3.5'' pieces that we're gradually making into tiny paintings.

One of my first attempts is a common sight around here: a fluffed-up, staring robin soaking in the bath:

robin bath in hand

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