Here is a photo of our male Eastern Blue Bird. My "camera" is really a Blackberry. The photo function works well but has an annoying characteristic: there is a several second pause between clicking the button to snap a photo and the photo actually being snapped. Produce doesnt move very fast, so the photo function works well enough to capture photos of sweet corn, etc. But birds move much faster. So I am particularly pleased with this photo ... which is to say I got very lucky.
This year was another successful for our Blue Birds. There were two broods. The first brood contained five eggs and all 5 fledged on June 2. The second brood contained four eggs and all 4 fledged on July 26. The Tree Swallows also had one brood with seven eggs and all 7 fledged on June 26. The protective guards worked as intended and we lost no eggs or birds to predators.
We finally planted the winter rye cover crop. Ideally we like to finish fall tillage and plant the cover crop second to last week of September. But we will delay tillage and sowing if the cash crops are doing well. This year we didnt have a choice and had to delay due to significant rainfall.
The conditions never were ideal and more rainfall was always in the forecast. I had a very narrow window to get it all done so I put fresh batteries in the headlamp and worked until 3:00 AM to turn under the crop residues and sow the winter rye. Let's just say no neighbors stopped over to thank me for getting the work done. But it did rain every day for the next six days and conditions only dedgraded from there.
We wont get much top growth this fall or next spring, but will get sufficient root growth to make it worth the effort.