Going To Seed

The flowers are going to seed. The birds have waited all summer for the delicacies hidden in the dried flowers.

On the last Friday in August, a solitary goldfinch dug out the seeds in the cup-plant flowers in the garden. After a while, he paused and sang “Anybody there? … Anybody there?” When there was no reply, he flew off to find his family.

Earlier in the morning, a young female rose-breasted grosbeak looked for insects in the bushes by the stream in the woods. A great creasted flycatcher swayed in the breeze on a tree branch.

The rose-breasted grosbeak and the great creasted flycatcher are two of this year’s new-to me birds.

In March, I saw a pair of rose-breasted grosbeaks in the bushes along the road to the pond by the lake. They didn’t stay in sight long enough for a photograph.

At the end of May, a rose-breasted grosbeak sang from a high tree branch near the wren house.

On the second day of July, an immature male rose-breasted grosbeak rested for a moment on the fence across the road from the entrance to the woods. He still had a few youthful speckles on his breast.

May 30, 2017

A Rose-breasted Grosbeak singing from a tree in the woods at Jester Park, Iowa, May 30, 2017.

A Rose-breasted Grosbeak singing in the woods at Jester Park, Iowa, May 30, 2017.Β 

July 2, 2017

An immature Rose-breasted Grosbeak near the entrance to the woods at Jester Park, Iowa, July 2, 2017.

August 25, 2017

A young female Rose-breasted Grosbeak by the stream in the woods at Jester Park, Iowa, August 25, 2017.

A Great Crested Flycatcher on the edge of the woods at Jester Park, Iowa, August 25, 2017.

An American Goldfinch eating the seeds of the Cup-plant flowers in the garden at Jester Park, Iowa, August 25, 2017.

An American Goldfinch eating the seeds of the Cup-plant flowers in the garden at Jester Park, Iowa, August 25, 2017.

An American Goldfinch eating the seeds of the Cup-plant flowers in the garden at Jester Park, Iowa, August 25, 2017.

An American Goldfinch eating the seeds of the Cup-plant flowers in the garden at Jester Park, Iowa, August 25, 2017.

Take care and thanks for reading.



About Sarah

nature, outdoor, and health enthusiast, book reader, and story teller
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29 Responses to Going To Seed

  1. birdlady612 says:

    We see a lot of Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks throughout the summer.. We have been seeing quite a few goldfinches again after a short break- I’m thinking there are a lot of young ones as they nest later than other birds. πŸ™‹πŸ˜„

    • Sarah says:

      Hi πŸ™‚

      Thanks for visiting and your kindness! It is nice that there are a lot of rose-breasted grosbeaks around you. πŸ™‚ They have a pretty song. The red patch is very bright red!

      I saw at least one young goldfinch with the flock in the garden. He was shy and I didn’t get a photo of him. The flock left and the one male goldfinch was apparently so busy eating that he didn’t notice. I rarely see them by themselves. He looked up from eating as if to say…. “Hey… Where did everybody go?!?” and then he flew off. I am happy the goldfinches stay around all year. πŸ™‚

  2. Lovely post, photos and writing, Sarah! Thank you for this wonderful sharing. 🐦 πŸ˜ƒ

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Iris πŸ™‚

      Thank you for visiting and your kindness! I am happy you enjoyed the photos. πŸ™‚

      I was really excited when I saw the pair of rose-breasted grosbeaks in the spring. I was ambling down the road looking for birds and there they were for a few moments. Then, they disappeared into the bushes. I have been on the look out for them ever since. When I was watching the wrens at their house, I heard the song flitting about in the tree tops. It sounded a little like the American robin’s song to me. At one point, he stopped on a tree branch way up over my head. I could see the fluff of red feathers. “Ah,… it’s you!” was my thought. πŸ™‚

      The goldfinches are favorites. πŸ™‚ I see them around where I live even in the coldest part of the winter. They chirp and sing to one another and swoop as they fly. In the winter, they like to shelter in the bushes under the trees I can see from my apartment window.

  3. Shady_Grady says:

    That’s a hungry little goldfinch. I didn’t know that they stay around during the winter.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Shady πŸ™‚

      Thank you for visiting and your kindness! He was hungry. It takes a lot of energy being a bird. πŸ™‚ I looked at the map and they stay the year where you are as well. If you have any places nearby where the dried flowers are left in the winter, you would probably find them there. If you put a bird feeder in your back yard, you would see them out your windows in the winter and probably in the summer as well. πŸ™‚

  4. Jet Eliot says:

    Fantastic post, Sarah. Your cheerful birds, excellent photos, and video clips were a treat. I loved seeing the A. Goldfinch ravaging on the seeds, and hearing the rose-breasted grosbeak was heavenly. We don’t get that grosbeak on the west coast; we do, however, get the black-headed, and I never ever tire of them.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Jet πŸ™‚

      Thank you for visiting and your kindness! I am happy you enjoyed the post. πŸ™‚ The goldfinches are one of my favorite birds. He wasn’t about to let a little bit of dried plant get in the way of his meal!

      I was really happy to hear and see the rose-breasted grosbeak for the first time this year. When I heard him singing, I wondered who could be singing the beautiful melody. Then, one day when I was watching the wrens at the wren house, he perched right over my head to sing. I don’t think I was the intended audience, but I felt honored just the same. πŸ™‚

  5. Beautiful photo’s. We have a large bird feeder right outside our living room window. I love watching them!

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Diane πŸ™‚
      Thanks for visiting and your kindness! Yesterday, I was admiring the flowers and the landscaping in the photos you posted of your backyard. It looks very pretty. I imagine watching the birds out of your window is a lot of fun. πŸ™‚

  6. Sarah says:

    It sounds like your yard is beautiful. I am sure the birds appreciate the wild parts and the gardens. πŸ™‚

    I find the cold weather and the silence of winter challenging as well. I pay close attention to the outdoor experiences in the spring and the summer and replay them in my imagination during the winter to keep the connection alive. I get really excited when the first warm air drifts in and I start hearing the cardinals sing. They are the first birds to sing followed by the chickadees and the house finches. One of the things I like about having a camera is being able to keep the photos, videos, and audios to look at and listen to later. It is nice to watch a video of a bird singing in the summer when it is snowing outside! πŸ™‚

  7. Goldfinches are such beauties even if the American ones have so much more gold than our European ones. They camouflage well in the sunshine and leaves. Good to catch up your photos are an inspiration.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Georgina πŸ™‚

      Thanks for visiting and your kindness! The goldfinches are fun to watch. πŸ™‚ They travel in groups and chatter to one another while flying and eating. When one gets startled, they all fly away. The one in this post somehow missed the call to depart and stayed to eat until he realized everyone had gone! The male goldfinches have changed into their winter colors now and left behind the bright yellow of summer until next year. I am happy they stay around all year. πŸ™‚

      Thank you for sending me more of your story. πŸ™‚ I just replied to your email. I am looking forward to reading the new chapters and finding out what happens!

      • Oh missed that, good and hope you enjoy.

        • Sarah says:

          Your story is going to be my evening reading this week and I am very much looking forward to it. πŸ™‚ I remember where everyone was when the first installment ended. Now, I get to find out what happens next! πŸ™‚

          • That’s great. I’ll send the third part when in London because that’s where the final revision is. I have got confused transferring the updates and have to check carefully!

            • Sarah says:

              You have had a lot going on so confusion is understandable. πŸ™‚ I started at the beginning of the story last night even though I remember where I left the bee and the bee eater in the spring. I wanted to recreate the world of your story in my imagination. It is amazing to me how the imagination can create worlds in thought space from words written and then read. I love going on these imaginary adventures! Now, I have the world of your story sitting in the corner of my mind and I get to visit it each evening to watch the story unfold. Very cool. πŸ™‚

              • Thanks so much Sarah and it encourages me to know you are able to enter their world. An ecologist friend is going to read the story but might be too scientific about the characters! But he did raise a black kite when working in the Middle East. Sounds an amazing story!

                • Sarah says:

                  You paint a vivid picture with your words. πŸ™‚ I am very much enjoying spending part of my day traveling with the bee and bee eater! I would imagine your ecologist friend will have interesting comments. I am in the middle of reading the book “H is for Hawk.” The narrative is a bit chaotic. The story has drawn me in even so. I have learned a lot about raptors and raising them that I didn’t know. To be honest, my sympathies lie with the smaller birds. Although I respect the place raptors have in the food chain, I still root for the little birds when I see one circling in the sky. “Look out!” I say to the little sparrows and song birds I am watching. “There is danger afoot!”

                  • Yes, I hope my story can involve some of the lesser known birds and the problems for migratory birds. Interesting the narrative seems chaotic in H is for Hawk. I haven’t read it yet but we used to read Kes by Barry Hines in school, about a young working class boy in northern UK who raises a kestrel. I used to call it the Oliver Twist on childhood in the 20 th Century as it examines impoverished lives and the bird brings a richness not of course riches.

                    • Sarah says:

                      Thanks for letting me know about the book. I put it on my list. πŸ™‚ I like reading books about birds and birds and humans. I wish I could convince the little sparrows and other song birds to land on my hand. This will have to stay in my imagination. πŸ™‚ I understand that to them, I am just as questionable a watcher as the hawks! A couple of weeks ago when I was out at the park on the path near the lake, I saw a small hawk flying low over the dried plants where the migrating sparrow flocks were feeding. I could tell the sparrows were there because I heard them chirping and saw them flitting about in the stalks. They weren’t perching up on the top of anything for a photo, though. It would have made them easy to spot by the hawk.

                    • I guess it’s part of nature’s rich cycle. The presence of high level predators should reflect that the ecosystems around you are functioning well. Our little birds here are always very wary even the robins but they are still the ones who have come much closer to me when gardening. We’re just thankful they come to our bird bath. The woodland hides the various species so well it’s frustrating.

                    • Sarah says:

                      I am sure the birds appreciate your bird bath! It sounds like it gets pretty warm there. It seems spring is the best time for bird watching here after it has warmed up a little. There are bugs and the leaves aren’t out all the way on the trees. Once the leaves are out, the birds hide in the trees here as well. I hear them singing to one another, but all I see are the leaves! In the fall, the migrating birds leave before or while the leaves are changing. I see the migrating sparrows in the dried plants near the lake. There are quite a few birds that live here in the summer which I haven’t seen yet. I am still hoping to see some new-to-me migrating ducks. I don’t think they have all been through here this year. This state has a number of large rivers and many small ones. Most of the land by the rivers is wild or minimally cultivated. There are also parks and stands of trees and bushes good for birds and other animals. Before DDT was banned in 1972, the raptor population was in step decline. Since then, their population has bounced back. I see bald eagles near the lake and occasionally overhead where I live which amazes me since I think of them as wilderness birds found in places like the mountains of Colorado. There are many red-tailed hawks in this area. They don’t let me get very close for photos either. The one I saw the other day was smaller. I have to look him up. I tried to take a photo, but he was flying too fast.

                    • Sounds so rich for wildlife. I wonder whether here in Europe as we have cut down trees for much longer that the wild habitats have become smaller and smaller. And the Outsider rocks have been spreading for much longer too! Perhaps your state is very good at leaving wild areas by rivers. In the U.K. We have built on flood plains and now there is more flooding as the weather gets more extreme.

                    • Sarah says:

                      Happily, there is quite a bit of wildlife around here. I think there has been an increased understanding of the role of wetlands in the ecosystem. In this state, there are many who like to camp, fish, and hunt. I don’t do any of those although I wouldn’t mind camping again sometime. I like to walk around and watch the birds and admire the flowers, trees, and other nature and natural features. The fact that those who enjoy the out of doors can be found across the political spectrum means setting aside land isn’t the kind of political argument it is other places. I don’t really like the idea of hunting deer or ducks, but I realize this is part of the way of life for some passed down through the generations. It is rather like the eagle with the small birds. Humans eliminated the natural predators of the deer and if they were left alone, many would starve from lack of food. In other states like Wyoming, Minnesota, and Michigan, wolves have been either reintroduced or allowed to be in certain numbers along with the bear. In this state, most of the land is agricultural either crops or livestock. There are areas around fields and by the rivers and streams that aren’t cultivated because they are hilly or they flood. I have noticed in the last couple of decades both here and the last place I lived in a neighboring state that natural plantings of prairie grasses and flowers in the byways (along roads or in parks) has increased. This is useful both for the wildlife that use the plants and because they are heat resistant and don’t need to be constantly watered like the grass people put in their lawns.

  8. the Rose-breasted Grosbeak is simply adorable.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi πŸ™‚
      Thanks for visiting and your kindness! The rose-breasted grosbeak was showing off! He stopped there as if to pose on purpose. I am sure he appreciates your admiration. πŸ™‚ I was looking for them all summer after I heard them sing in the spring and early summer and very happy I found one if only for a moment.

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