Welcome to my zone 9a habitat garden near Houston, Texas.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


As I made my way around the garden this morning, deciding what I would work on today, I kept feeling that there was something different about the yard today. What was it?

No, it wasn't him. He was still there, sitting a few feet away from the nest box, standing guard. I didn't see his mate. Maybe she was in the box.

Now this is different! The only butterfly I had seen in the garden recently was the Question Mark, that strange butterfly that always looks as though something has taken a bite out of its wings. But today there were a couple of yellow Sulphurs flitting around the yard. Can you tell where the yellow gerbera ends and the yellow butterfly begins?

This is different, too. Suddenly there are honeybees in the yard once again, particularly on this Spanish lavender. Its blossoms were heavy with bees all day.

Could this be what I was sensing as a "difference"? The 'Russian Banana' potatoes that I planted back in late January are finally coming up. I had just about given up on them. But, no, there was still something else different...

The apple tree blossoms! Overnight, the tree opened its first blooms. But, no, that wasn't it either. What was it that was so different about the yard today?

That's it! No, not the presence of the cardinal at the feeder. It's the absence of something that is different. There are no goldfinches! This is the first time this cardinal has had a feeder to himself since the goldfinches arrived in December.

And now they are gone, just like that. They were still in the yard and at the feeders yesterday, even during the rain. I think they were just stuffing themselves for what they knew would be the long flight ahead, because sometime during the night, they packed their bags and left.

And that's what was different about the yard today. The silence. No large flocks of golden birds flitting about the trees and trilling their spring songs. No squabbles at the bird feeders as the birds jostled for position. True, there were still plenty of birds around, but the most dominant bird presence in the yard for these last three months was gone.

Safe flight, golden beauties. I'll have the thistle seed ready for you next December.


  1. It's hard to take a bad picture of a cardinal. Even I couldn't manage it.