I have developed a habit of strolling around my driveway most mornings as a break from my work. It's a short walk, but I generally go out armed with my camera and my binoculars, just to breathe the fresh air and see what I can find. It rained really hard this morning, but then the sun came out and the sky turned blue, and I couldn't resist a little walk outside. My driveway is roughly circular, and has a little area in the middle that I've taken to calling "the grove" or "the glade," depending on the day. I often see birds in the trees there, and it feels like a private little oasis of calm. I really love being out there!
This morning I found a new flower blooming. It's kind of exciting to see what is opening in this new garden each day. This is some kind of lily and I believe it's Lilium canadense, which has the common name of Canada lily or wild yellow lily. I'm not sure though, so let me know if you think it's something else. It's growing in the shade area of the grove.
There was also a beautiful little devil's paintbrush, or orange hawkweed (Hieracium aurantiacum), which is a wildflower, but so cheerful and vibrant.
I noticed that the second peony bush has now come into bloom and it's a gorgeous pale pink. I adore peonies - such an old-fashioned flower but always so beautiful, and their scent is heavenly.
I wandered around the house and into the backyard to see if I had any little feathered friends there, and I saw a flash of red beneath my feet as I was walking across the grass. Upon further investigation, I discovered that sections of my lawn are not in fact lawn, but rather they are carpets of supreme strawberry goodness, providing tiny, fragile wild strawberries by the handful. I stopped and sampled for quite a while! Each tiny berry is such an explosion of flavour. Enchanting!
I ended up back in the front yard and spotted a bird because of its rather alarmed call. I think it's a hermit thrush, but I'm not 100% sure. The hermit thrush is quite similar to the veery, and a number of other thrushes, but in listening to the calls on the website for the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, I do believe it's the hermit thrush. You can see it almost in the centre of the picture below. Unfortunately I couldn't get it to turn around and show its speckled breast, but hopefully I'll get a better shot another day. I wish I had a camera with better zoom capability.
Yesterday I bought myself a treat. My bird identification book was quite old (published in 1999) given that bird breeding and migration patterns are changing these days, and furthermore, my book was for all of North America, meaning that it had a lot of birds that weren't ever likely to be seen in this area. I bought myself "Birds of Eastern Canada," which is a regional guide that is much more suitable for my area, and it is a really well presented guidebook. Hopefully it will help me keep on identifying the residents of my yard! This one is from 2013, so it should be relevant for a long time to come.