Sunday, July 14, 2019

The Threadleaf Sundew Has a Flower

This is a picture of a few leaves of the  threadleaf sundew plant, Drosera filiformis, that grows in New Jersey pine barrens bogs. It's a carnivorous plant that supplements its diet by capturing insects in sticky hairs on its slender upright leaves. The insects are slowly dissolved and the plant acquires nutrients from them. I am always delighted to find these pretty sparkly red plants at my feet in the mud at a bog's edge.
And it gets better! The threadleaf sundews are flowering right now. Here's a picture I took this week of a  single dainty pink flower. The flower stalk rises from the base of the plant and lacks sticky droplets. Each of the flower buds on the stalk opens for a single day.   Click to enlarge. Lovely, isn't it?

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Hummingbird Nest!

Meet my tiny neighbor, a female ruby-throated hummingbird, Archilochus colubris. She's about 3.5 inches long with a wingspan of just over 4 inches, and weighs 1 or 2 tenths of an ounce. The nest is about 2 inches across and an inch deep. It's made from plant matter like dandelion and thistle down held together with spider silk and covered with bits of lichen and moss. There are probably 1-3 tiny white eggs inside. I'll keep going back until I see them hatch and I will report.
Female ruby-throated hummingbirds do all the work of nest-building, incubation, and chick-rearing. The ruby-throated is the only hummingbird that breeds in eastern North America. Click on the photos to enlarge.
These birds are accustomed to human activity and have been known to build nests on man-made things like loops of wire or electrical cords. This little bird sat still at her post while an entire 4th of July parade marched past within 20 feet, brass bands and all.