Finally Spring!

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It has been winter for a good long while in these parts. And only recently has it finally begun to act like spring! That means bees are buzzing, buds are blooming, and birds are….birding. Obviously I have an obsessive need to document everything and have been taking lots of pictures of the little creatures enjoying the warmer weather as I sit outside and read through The Gulag Archipelago (because it’s such great springtime reading?). I guess you can take the girl out of the poli-sci but you can’t take the poli-sci out of the girl. The birds at least provide a nice counter balance to the sad gulag human rights abuses.

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Goldfinch! We only ever get one or two of them in the spring and summer, and he’s pretty elusive. I guess he was hungry this day.

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A plucky little cardinal.

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House finch sitting in a tree.

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Here are the two of them sharing the feeder! The cardinal looks terribly suspicious of me.

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From top left, clockwise: chickadee, house finch, grosbeak (female), and nuthatch.

We have also seen a new face at our brand new hummingbird feeder!

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It’s a ruby-throated hummingbird! He’s quite small and difficult to spot as he flits back and forth.

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Flapping those wings very hard and fast.

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Getting a hit of that sweet, sweet sugar water. He’s actually pretty frustrating to photograph because he moves so quickly and is so tiny.

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I think I might name him Waldo, after the eponymous and elusive striped-shirt wearer. Relatedly, I wish I had one of those enormous NatGeo zoom lenses the size of an 18th century cannon. Anyone wanna loan me $10,000?

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The caterpillars and the dandelions are also out in full swing. And, finally, the cherry tree in our yard is blossoming! It’s nice to finally see signs of life after all the snow.

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Adventures in the Botanical Garden

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So I found myself at the United States Botanical Garden this weekend! Sort of by accident. I initially set out to the National Gallery of Art to see an exhibit on marginalia in books (yeah, I am super fun at parties), but when I arrived, I was informed that it was not open on weekends. I would love for someone to explain to me how that makes any sense. I was already at the National Mall, so I decided to go to the Botanical Garden, since I had never been there.

I only had my camera phone with me, so I had to make do. I honestly feel like photographing flowers is a lot like shooting fish in a barrel, but whatever. In celebration of summer, here are some moments in the garden I thought were beautiful:

(Click any picture to make it bigger…they look better with details!)

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A cactus flower and a peony. 

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A monarch butterfly and some kind of…flower (I’m a photographer, not a botanist).

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A happy little bumble bee and some kind of….other plant. 

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The back of a leaf and some prickly plant thing.

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A pretty flower and a honey bee. 

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A rose (finally something I can identify!) and…something else.

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Flowers growing out of the separation between the stones and a little bug on a flower (if anyone knows what this is, let me know!)

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A honey bee going about his business and a leaf with thorns.

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More of the same leaves and the top of some kind of plant.

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Some colorful orchids and the craziest looking leaf I’ve ever seen.

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Colorful flowers.

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More pretty flowers.

I had a lot of fun taking these pictures and was very impressed by the patience of the bees. I had to get very close to take those pictures, and they didn’t mind at all….except for a particularly nosy bumblebee who tried to fly into my phone.