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Crow’s Nest blooms, birds & bugs

June 18, 2011

Our native swamp rose (Rosa palustris) is now blooming at the preserve. You can find it around the pond and in the wetlands downstream and a few other places in wet meadows. It’s not nearly as aggressive as the invasive multiflora rose.

Winterberry holly (Ilex verticillata) is blooming as well; the flowers aren’t showy but you can hear the bees working the shrub as you get close and the fruit will attract birds.

Speaking of birds, did you ever wonder why we often place bluebird nesting boxes in pairs perhaps 20 – 30 feet apart? Tree swallows (such as this one) may occupy one but defend the other from being occupied by more tree swallows, leaving it free for bluebirds. The box next to this one does have bluebirds in it, but I’ll have to work longer to get a photo of them.

And here’s a reminder of one reason we plant native species: to attract other native species such as the pipevine swallowtail (Battus philenor), here eating its recently shed skin. This was found on the Dutchman’s pipe vine (Aristolochea macrophylla) growing up our porch. I read that¬†Aristolochea confers protection from predators to the pipevine swallowtail from the toxic qualities in its leaves much as milkweed does to monarchs, and that several other non-poisonous butterfly species also mimic this one and gain some protection from predators.