A Harvest Festival of Feasting Finches

Summer is lazy around the garden. I water a little here and there. I weed a little. Mostly I'm enjoying the plants, and watching the wildlife enjoy the plants.

Today I enjoyed the house finches feasting on the blue elderberry bushes.

Blue elderberry is now called Sambucus nigra  ssp. caerulea - it used to be Sambucus mexicana. It is native to California. Several years ago, a row of them volunteered in my garden along the fence where birds sit — and poop.

Look at these luscious berries!

Difference between house and purple finches? House finches are a more orange-red and purple finches a more blue-red, is my main determinant. This 10,000 bird blog has a good visual comparison.

Females are easier I think- purple finch females have bold markings around their eyes, kind of like someone sketched in large human eyes around their bird eyes.

Here are a few photos from this morning.

Can you see three birds?

Bet you missed this one in the photo above.

The coffee berry (Frangula californica) next to the elderberry bushes is full of ripening berries too - but nobody was visiting them today. Orioles like them - those are visitors I look forward to every year.

Well time for a cup of tea, then off to my daughter's. It's world cup final day today. I won't be watching though - I'll be playing with grandchildren!


Diana Studer said…
we have a flock of red-cheeked mousebirds that feast on bunches of blue berries in my neighbour's garden. Something exotic. Your Sambucus!
Country Mouse said…
Ha ha - too ironic. Makes me think though about ecosystem, "novel ecosystem" and how thoroughly interconnected an evolved ecosystem is down to the bacteria and microbes, compared to cobbled-together, human-assembled groupings of plants and animals on our coarse level of granularity, or scale rather. Gardens with lots of local natives fall somewhere in the middle of that continuum maybe. I wonder if it's possible to garden from the bottom up, for wee wee wildlife things like microbes! and how that might cascade upward into things we notice.