Nature Notes (# 372)~When you put your hand in a flowing stream, you touch the last that has gone before and the first of what is still to come.~Leonardo da Vinci

nature notes logo

Join Nature Notes from Mondays at 11:00 pm EST  to Friday at 11:00 pm EST.

More information can be found at the top of the blog on a separate page, but it really is easy. What are you or have you seen and enjoyed in nature? It can be from your own backyard, the local park, out on a hike or anywhere. What plants and animals catch your interest? Do you garden? Have you read a good book on nature? 

Write a blog post with a photo, a story, a poem, anything goes because I love to see what Mother Nature is up to in your area. Please submit one blog post per week and link back to Nature Notes in some way.

Below is last week’s Nature Notes’ blogger thumbnail photos in a collage. If you photos are protected and/or you don’t want me to use them, please let know. Also listed are all the links to last week’s Nature Notes blog posts if you missed any.

AAACOLLAGE3

 

1. Donna@ Gardens Eye View- USA 7. Orchid’s Voice -(Japan) 13. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©
2. Berries, Cherries . . . and Beetles 8. Quirky Anonymous– SA 14. Raquel Jimenez Artesania -Spain
3. Anni -Painter’s Dozen -USA 9. Pau Mau, Finland 15. MP UPPAL- You and I -India
4. Krzysiek Helak- Pictografio -Poland 10. Adam Jones -Early Birder- UK 16. Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 29: 52
5. Sallie (Full Time- Life) -USA 11. Kelli- Mama Zen – USA 17. KL- Beautiful World- Novice Naturalist- USA
6. Summer Evening in Mostar, Mersad 12. Freda -Day One -Canada 18. JP-A Quiet Corner- USA

We’re now experiencing the most extensive severe drought ever seen in New York since the Drought Monitor  began compiling weekly statistics in 2000. “Severe drought” is the third-worst of five classifications used by the monitor. New York has never had acreage placed in the next-worst classification, “extreme drought.”

New York State Drought

New York State Drought

The reasons our severe drought is worsening are clear, it hasn’t rained substantially in nearly three months and nine months of dry weather is further parching our lawns and farms. This stems back to last fall and into the winter with a low snow pack.

Many area streams are nearing record low flows.

Ground water is becoming harder to access as the water table is lowering. Area wells, that are monitored by the United States Geological Survey, are showing that the water table has lowered by two feet in the past two months.

The New York Department Of Environmental Conservation has placed all of New York in a Drought Watch which means conservation is suggested but not mandatory. However the Drought Watch may soon be upgraded to a Warning or even an Emergency, the later making water restrictions mandatory.

We continue in our severe drought and I continue trying to help my trees, shrubs and plants. Everything with the exception of the spruce and maples had wilted and I have lost some new plants so I am doing some targeted watering with a drip hose which is new to me. This is a really sad thing to watch because drought damage in trees may not show up for several years. Area farmers and fruit growers are having to irrigate if possible and to lose crops if it isn’t.

So this being new to me, I am trying to learn about how best I can help support the wildlife and my wildlife garden during these challenging times and I am sharing some of what I have learned here this week.

Drip Irrigation & Soaker Hoses—Saving Water Partnership

Soaker Hose fact sheet (pdf)
Tips for Installing Drip Irrigation at Home – technical fact sheet (pdf)
Smart Watering Guide (pdf)
How to Water New Plants (pdf)


I have several bird baths which are filled with clean water every day and they are busy. Three are raised and two are on the ground for the young birds who can’t fly well yet and for squirrels and rabbits…

Providing Water for Birds – Cornell Lab of Ornithology

red-wing blackbird bathing

red-wing blackbird bathing

blue jay fledgling

blue jay fledgling


Bees also need access to fresh water as they often risk drowning in birdbaths or being eaten at rivers and lakes among birds, fish, frogs and other wildlife.

Kim Flottum, editor of the Bee Culture magazine, writes in her book The Backyard Beekeeper: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden: “Water is used to dissolve crystallized honey, to dilute honey when producing larval food, for evaporation cooling during warm weather, and for a cool drink on a hot day.”

“Bees know exactly where to return for the same water source. Foragers seem to seek water sources that are scented,” Flottum says.”Foragers will mark unscented sources of water with their Nasonov pheromone so others can locate the source too,” Flottum writes.

Make a bee bath
  1. Line a shallow bowl or plate with rocks.
  2. Add water, but leave the rocks as dry islands to serve as landing pads.
  3. Place the bath at the ground level in your garden. …
  4. Refresh the water daily, adding just enough to evaporate by day’s end.

I have two shallow pans with rocks or marble in them for the bees and they are so busy on these hot days. Marbles or rocks give a place for the bees to land and drink without drowning….They are really, really busy and the bees and wasps are not interested or threatened by me as I refill them as they are not defending a nest.

bee bath

 


I am also having to change my hummingbird nectar feeders every 3 days in this hot weather as the harmful black mold forms quickly.

Remember that hummingbird nectar is just three parts water to one part sugar and clean those feeders with a little white vinegar to remove any mold and rinse and rinse…

Directions for making safe hummingbird food:
  1. Mix 1 part sugar with 4 parts water. You can boil it, but it isn’t necessary unless there is some concern over the water.
  2. Cool if heated and fill feeder.
  3. Extra sugar water may be stored in a refrigerator for up to one week.
  4. Red dye should not be added.
ruby-throated hummingbird on one of my hummingbird feeders

ruby-throated hummingbird on one of my hummingbird feeders

I am considering getting a mister for the hummingbirds..

Attracting Hummingbirds – World of Hummingbirds .com

hummingbird mister

hummingbird mister

What are you seeing in nature? It can be from your own backyard, the local park, out on a hike or anywhere. What plants and animals catch your interest? What do you find interesting in nature? Take a photo, write a post, a story, a poem, anything goes because I love to see what Mother Nature is up to in your area. PS..please check back and visit bloggers who post later in the week!

Native, or Not So Much? – National Wildlife Federation

As research increasingly shows, native plants are key to creating a wildlife-friendly garden. By definition, a native plant (or “straight species”) occurs naturally in a given location or region. A nativar is sometimes a natural variant that has been found in the wild and brought into cultivation, but often it has been developed by a plant breeder and would never be found in nature. In the words of Doug Tallamy, a University of Delaware entomologist and author of Bringing Nature Home, the proliferation of nativars demonstrates the extent to which the nursery trade “is still stuck on the idea of plants as enhanced decoration” rather than as essential to wildlife.

Lovely Name, Less Nutritious?Razzmatazz Coneflower

One clue that a plant is a nativar is a fancy, marketing-driven moniker like Razzmatazz (above) or Pink Double Delight, two double-flower variations on the native purple coneflower in which the flower’s brownish-orange central cone has been transformed into flashy pink pompoms. Botanical oddities like these may be highly regarded by the nursery industry, but it’s difficult, if not impossible, for bees and butterflies to gather pollen and nectar from double flowers. Such enhanced blooms can also be sterile and therefore unable to produce seeds—bad news for the goldfinches and other birds that relish these nutritious treats.

While radically tampering with a species’ flower structure often comes at the expense of wildlife, other popular nativar traits may be harmless or even beneficial. But how can gardeners interested in nurturing wildlife distinguish the good from the bad?

To help answer that question, Tallamy and colleagues at the University of Delaware have teamed up with researchers at the Mt. Cuba Center, a Delaware botanic garden specializing in native plants. As part of the project, Tallamy and graduate student Emily Baisden have been studying cultivated varieties of native trees and shrubs to learn how different traits affect the plants’ palatability to caterpillars

“It is a bad idea to load the landscape with plants that have no genetic variability,” says Tallamy. “I’m not a hardliner on this issue, but gardeners ought to have access to straight species. We have to convince the nursery industry that native plants are about more than just looks.”

For the complete article…

Source: Native, or Not So Much? – National Wildlife Federation

Nature Notes (#371) – The average American family uses 320 gallons of water per day, about 30 percent of which is devoted to outdoor uses.

nature notes logo

Join Nature Notes from Mondays at 11:00 pm EST  to Friday at 11:00 pm EST.

More information can be found at the top of the blog on a separate page, but it really is easy. What are you or have you seen and enjoyed in nature? It can be from your own backyard, the local park, out on a hike or anywhere. What plants and animals catch your interest? Do you garden? Have you read a good book on nature? 

Write a blog post with a photo, a story, a poem, anything goes because I love to see what Mother Nature is up to in your area. Please submit one blog post per week and link back to Nature Notes in some way.

Below is last week’s Nature Notes’ blogger thumbnail photos in a collage. If you photos are protected and/or you don’t want me to use them, please let know. Also listed are all the links to last week’s Nature Notes blog posts if you missed any.

collage 371

 

1. Donna@ Gardens Eye View- USA 8. Nature Footstep Photo Art- Sweden 15. Freda- Day One Photography- Canada
2. Sofie’s World -Belgium 9. JBigg’s Little Pieces – Kentucky- US 16. JBigg’s Little Pieces – USA
3. Eileen -Viewing Nature – USA 10. orchid’s Daily Voice -(Japan) 17. MP UPPAL -You and I -India
4. Adam Jones -Early Birder- UK 11. Andrea Pure Oxygenerators- Philippines 18. Raquel Jimenez Artesania -Spain
5. Quirky Anonymous- Quirky World of Ann O-Nymous- SA 12. Andrea in this Lifetime- Philippines 19. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©
6. Sallie (Full Time- Life) -USA 13. Martina- Sign with Light- Germany 20. Bettyl- Photographing New Zealand
7. JP -A Quiet Corner- USA 14. Jesh StG -St. Germain’s Blog- USA 21. Kelli -Mama Zen -USA

More than 11 percent of New York state is suffering from severe drought including western NY where I live. There is no end to the hot, dry weather in sight. The forecast for the coming week is for warm temperatures and no chance of rain save for possible thunderstorms Monday. Beyond that looms a significant heat wave — the arrival of a “massive heat dome” that could bring record high temperatures to the central United States. The effects will be felt in upstate New York as well.

The last time any part of the state was in a drought was 2012 and I remember that summer well. It is not a good situation. We are lucky to get our water from the Niagara River which is at normal levels, but they are asking people to conserve water. I hate to see my neighbors running their sprinklers for hours every evening to keep their turf grass lawns going. My native plants and trees still need water, but I do it in a targeted way and certainly not dumping copious amounts of water on my yard.

I can see this graphic from the EPA being true as I see the water running down the street and into the pond…..

The average American family uses 320 gallons of water per day, about 30 percent of which is devoted to outdoor uses. More than half of that outdoor water is used for watering lawns and gardens. Nationwide, landscape irrigation is estimated to account for nearly one-third of all residential water use, totaling nearly 9 billion gallons per day.

water waste


What’s happening here… well we are working to make our lawn and garden conform to the standards of the neighborhood as all my native plants were assumed to be weeds and my raised beds were making it look too agricultural. So the front yard will conform and the back yard will be as I want it and they tried to have me mow down my big wildflower and Monarch Waystation across the pond, but that is protected land as it the woods and the town has no control over that. That made me smile…

Below is all milkweed and wild flowers and a wood duck nesting box that can’t be touched…. This is the view from our back yard.

Monarch Waystation

Monarch Waystation

I have to provide documentation of what is in the raised garden beds to see if I can keep them as they aren’t the usual for the town’s liking… Grrrrrrrrrrr

garden beds plants

This is the bed by the porch with the blooming purple coneflower and a question mark butterfly. Beautiful…

coneflower

So I will keep fighting the native plant fight in my yard by hubby thought we should just fix it as with my health this is not a fight I can do at this time. And he is right, I would just make myself more ill with the stress….

 

What are you seeing in nature? It can be from your own backyard, the local park, out on a hike or anywhere. What plants and animals catch your interest? What do you find interesting in nature? Take a photo, write a post, a story, a poem, anything goes because I love to see what Mother Nature is up to in your area. PS..please check back and visit bloggers who post later in the week!

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.-Mahatma Gandhi

 

maple tree

Sigh yes…. It took hubby a couple of hours to take out the plants that looked like forbidden town code “weeds” and we were told to remove. This is a Norway maple that was planted by the town and I can’t take it down so I planted under it.

It took three years to get native plants that were happy under this tree. That was goldenrod and New England asters. It was beautiful in the late summer and loaded with bees…..

bald-faced hornet

Goldenrod

new england aster

new england aster

when I saw the bare dirt, I had tears… And it was suggested that we mulch it???

So this is one part of yard that has changed so that our yard fits in.

I will not mulch it, but I will find a low growing native plant to put there, but it will take a couple of years to get going…. Again…