Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

We visited the Meadowlark Botanical Gardens again this morning. It was warm and humid and felt like summer, particularly when the sun was out. There was still some smoky haze from the Canadian fires but luckily we didn’t smell it in the air. Many new flowers seemed to have bloomed since our last visit a week ago. And of course, many birds!

This seems to be the flower of a castor bean plant. At least, that’s what Google’s image search leads us to believe!

Nearby, we spotted a Chipping Sparrow on the ground. They are tiny!

This appears to be a variety of goldenrod, thanks to Google once again.

It is probably safe to say that unless we mention knowing what a specific flower is, we used Google to figure it out! This seems to be a variety of marsh mallow!

While we seem to recall seeing the unopened flowers of this plant before, the opened ones seem to be new to us. This might be Queen Anne’s lace or some similar variety.

Google has failed us with this one. There seem to be multiple possibilities. These insects seem to like it though!

We noticed this rather large flower more or less lying on the ground. Is this a zucchini flower?

Maybe a variety of spider flower? We saw many that hadn’t opened yet.

An artichoke?

Finally, something we’re more familiar with! A juvenile Eastern Bluebird! It seemed to be trying to hunt on its own.

We soon spotted another little Chipping Sparrow! We first saw it in the grass. It then flew to a tree. At least, we think it is the same one!

This adult female Eastern Bluebird was catching bugs. It has two in its mouth already and is about to grab the one on the ground! We assume it is gathering them to feed to its chicks.

There were quite a few Eastern Bluebirds around, though we only saw them one at a time. This one is a juvenile.

It looks like these two nest boxes are still in use by Tree Swallows.

We don’t recall seeing these before. They might be some variety of bear’s breech, or acanthus.

These also seem to have just bloomed. Not sure what they are!

We’ve seen a few of these partially in bloom before on their tall stalks. There were many of them today though! They seem to be a type of coneflower, though they look quite different from the more common ones in the gardens.

A daylily. The garden has huge numbers of this family!

Possibly smooth hydrangeas? We saw some of their flowers in bloom while others weren’t quite there yet.

The bees seemed to really like these flowers. The seem to be St. John’s wort. They have an interesting appearance that is quite different from most of the other flowers that we tend to see! There were many that haven’t opened yet.

This Tree Swallow was preening its feathers on a tree by the middle pond.

We briefly saw this Eastern Phoebe nearby.

As we continued to walk by the pond, we spotted these Barn Swallows! The baby, on the left, wants to be fed by the adult on the right. But the adult didn’t have any food and didn’t seem interested in going to catch something.

A closer look at the baby Barn Swallow. After the adult flew away, the baby stayed on its perch. Later on, an adult landed in the same spot. The baby asked for food but again none was given. Is this a sign that this baby should go out and hunt for itself?

These seem to be a variety of lily.

We came across this Song Sparrow in some foliage. At the time, we thought we were seeing a female Red-Winged Blackbird due to the location and general appearance. Birds often appear very different through a viewfinder!

We’ve photographed these hydrangeas many times now. They seem to be getting bolder in color over time?

These flowers reminded us of raw beef brisket from Korean BBQ!

A few daylily varieties. They are probably the most common flower in the gardens!

We briefly saw this male Eastern Bluebird hunting in the grass.

This is a female Red-Winged Blackbird! They don’t look anything like Song Sparrows when you can see them clearly.

The Purple Martins were present in large numbers today! They were very actively flying around and perched on the outside of their nest boxes. We also saw some heads inside, either chicks that have not fledged yet or their parents.

We saw one feeding, though at this distance we didn’t know it happened until looking at these photos at home.

The birds do seem to interact with each other while in the air, though typically it is incredibly hard to photograph. We got lucky here!

Last week, we found an Eastern Kingbird nest with two babies visible. It seems that the two chicks have fledged as the nest was empty. We did see at least three Eastern Kingbirds nearby though. We got a good look at two of them. One was an adult while the other seemed to be a juvenile. Possibly the family we saw last week?

The lotuses have started to bloom!

This tree had quite a few flowers.

A few weeks ago, we saw a House Wren family at the eastern edge of the eastern pond. They were using one of the nest boxes. Their babies have since fledged and the nest box seems to be empty. Today, we saw one adult House Wren. Maybe one of the parents?

We often see Gray Catbirds in the gardens.

Today, we found two fledglings wanting food from a parent!


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