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More Links: Firefly Watch and Mosquitoes

Tricia shared a link that relates to the Summer Series of Outdoor Hour Challenges. Thanks Tricia!

Firefly Watch

Here is another opportunity to participate in a nature study related science project. Easy and fun…too bad we don’t have fireflies here to observe. 🙁

Lisa shared this link to some macro photos of mosquitoes being hatched:
Mosquitoes Emerging


Enjoy the links.

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Great Sunflower Project 2010

Guess what I got in the mail???

Great Sunflower Project -Seeds
We participated in the Great Sunflower Project last year and it was a wonderful experience. I encourage all who can grow and observe sunflowers to participate. I know it seems early to start thinking about growing sunflowers, but this is really the time of year to start the planning aspect of the garden.

bee with pollen on sunflower
Get more information about this fun summer activity here: Great Sunflower Project.


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Great Sunflower Project

Today we did some observations as part of the Great Sunflower Project. We signed up earlier in the year to participate and they sent us some seeds to plant in our garden. Our job was to observe the sunflowers once they bloom and count how many bees visited our flowers. You are asked to observe until you see five bees or for thirty minutes.

We did not have to wait even a minute before we saw our first bee! We had five bees observed in less than five minutes.
unfolding sunflower
Here is one sunflower that is just unfolding its bloom. I love the way it looks.

lemon sunflower
I love the patterns in this sunflower. You can really see how it is a composite flower with its rays and florets.

bee crawling inside sunflower
This bee couldn’t wait for the sunflower to open…he had to push his way into the inside to reach the pollen.

bee with pollen on sunflower
Have you ever seen so much pollen on a bee before? I couldn’t stop watching this guy and his overloaded pollen sacs. Wow! He is one busy bee.

Mammoth sunflower with blue sky
This is my favorite sunflower in the whole garden. We grew it from a seed saved from last year and it is a Mammoth Sunflower. It is really tall and the bloom is huge.

Mr A with mammoth sunflower
This is my son who is six feet tall….he is dwarfed by this sunflower. Look at how large the leaves are!

finches eat the leaves
This is what the finches are doing to the leaves. They sit and nibble every afternoon. I guess there is enough to share.

This is a really fun and easy project. Check out the Great Sunflower Project for your family next year.

Gardens ebook Outdoor Hour challenge

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Great Backyard Bird Count Starts Today!

great backyard bird coutn
Don’t forget to check out the Great Backyard Bird Count because it starts today!

So far we have:

  • 37 Dark-eyed juncos
  • 4 White-crowned sparrows
  • 4 House sparrows
  • 3 House finches

This is a pretty unusual day for us since we woke up to two inches of snow and it is still coming down. The birds are all hunkered down somewhere out of the snow I am sure.

We have officially called it a “snow day” from school so we can do some fun stuff… watch birds and paint some wintery trees.

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Counting Birds for the Great Backyard Bird Count


We have been counting birds for the Great Backyard Bird Count. It started on Friday and will continue through today. We have had all the usual customers at the feeders and a few surprises too!

The white-crowned sparrow usually feeds in our front yard in the forsythia bush which has a blackberry vine tangled in it with some of last summers berries all dried up and ready for eating.

The dark-eyed juncos are a frequent visitor to our feeders and they enjoy both the platform feeder and eating from the ground beneath it.

The hanging feeders were filled with sparrows, finches, and the occasional nuthatch.

Here is our official bird count for Friday:

  • 5 Western scrub jays
  • 2 titmouses
  • 1 red-breasted nuthatch
  • 1 spotted towhee
  • 2 California towhees
  • 6 white-crowned sparrows
  • 12 dark-eyed juncos
  • 1 house finch….probably more we just didn’t catch them when we were counting
  • 7 house sparrows

Those were in the feeders but we also saw in our yard:
1 American crow
2 American robins

In our travels yesterday, we saw:
3 turkey vultures
40+ Canadian geese
6 wild turkeys

This is a great family project that we have participated in for the past three years. If you miss it this year, mark your calendars for next February so you won’t forget!