blossoms and birdhouses

6.10.17 ~ Connecticut College Arboretum ~ mountain laurel

So… there were other treasures waiting to be discovered while we were on our long hike Saturday. In 1907 the mountain laurel, a lovely native American shrub, was designated as the official state flower of Connecticut. They are just starting to blossom and we saw loads of them.

wild geranium, another native wildflower

I was raised by the melody
Of the whispering grove
And learned to love
Among the flowers.
~ Friedrich Hölderlin
(Odes & Elegies)

eastern blue-eyed grass, another native wildflower
ferns and saplings filling the edge of a meadow

Now, the staff at the arboretum is keeping a meadow open for habitat for several kinds of animals and birds. They also erected several birdhouses and we did see a tree swallow looking out the “window.”

6.10.17 ~ Connecticut College Arboretum ~ tree swallow and orbs

These shots were very hard to get because they were taken from so far away. I didn’t have a tripod to stabilize the camera and the zoom lens. I climbed a bank on the side of the trail, through a thicket of plants and saplings, and then leaned one arm on a tree to steady my grip, trying to avoid the gypsy moth caterpillars. (I wound up bringing at least one tick home – I hope I won’t find any more…) Even though I had to delete most of the shots I took it was a thrill to get home and find that these three came out!

6.10.17 ~ Connecticut College Arboretum ~ tree swallow and orbs
6.10.17 ~ Connecticut College Arboretum ~ tree swallow and orbs

I love all the orbs I captured…

6.10.17 ~ Connecticut College Arboretum ~ mosses and grasses

We were just thinking of turning around and retracing our steps when Beverly was beckoned by yet another tree growing through the rocks. So we left the path and carefully navigated our way through uneven terrain of rocks and bushes. I found a spot to take the picture. More orbs!

6.10.17 ~ Connecticut College Arboretum ~ tree with orbs
looking up the same majestic tree

After finding our way back to the trail I finally put away the camera, took a long drink of water, sprayed on some more bug repellent and enjoyed the long walk back, hands free.

May 2, 2020: When this post was first published I misidentified the bird as a baby bluebird, a mistake that was pointed out to me recently by much more knowledgeable friends. Consensus is that the brightly colored bird is an adult tree swallow! I have edited the text above, but the comments below reflect my original error. Sorry about that!

12 thoughts on “blossoms and birdhouses”

  1. I always loved the mountain laurel. More than the azaleas, which were not bad. The stone in the “mosses and grasses” photo looks like a rabbit, with it’s head to the right. What a lovely walk in the woods!

    1. Me, too, Susan! Growing up we had a mountain laurel near our house at the edge of the woods ~ we buried our dog Skipper right by it. I see the rabbit now that you pointed it out. 🙂 It was good getting out a day before the heat and humidity took over.

  2. Thank you for this beautiful walk, including the Bluebird babies, Barbara. These walks give us the peace not often present in the hubbub of our daily lives.

    1. You’re welcome, Tiny, I’m so glad you enjoyed this walk in the woods. That peaceful feeling stayed with me for days, so refreshing. The bluebirds were a special treat. 🙂

  3. I hope you’ll be able to photograph the bluebird babies when they come out of the birdhouse. Even just showing the head, that bird is beautiful! We sure have very different species in the far north here. You have Cardinals? We don’t. Interesting to exchange notes on our bird sightings. 🙂

    1. Not sure I will be back that way to see the bluebirds when they fledge. 🙁 Most of my walks range much closer to home. Still, it was a thrill to see that brightly colored little head. We do have cardinals – I especially love seeing them on snow covered branches in winter. I’ve never seen a snow bunting, though… 🙂

  4. Lovely post, particularly the baby bluebirds and the gorgeous, gorgeous Mountain Laurel flowers neither of which we have anything like here in the UK. x

    1. Thank you, Val. It’s always interesting to see what differences there are in plants and birds from different continents of the world. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Pam! That would be fun to have a bluebird house nearby if you put one on your property. It was so exciting seeing that little head, waiting for the next parent to come by again. 🙂

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