Spring migrants: Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Late April is when we start looking for the arrival of the dashing Rose-breasted Grosbeak. The males arrive earlier, sporting a black tie & tail that flashes white as they flitter around in the hemlocks. Their white cummerbunds sport a rich rose sash that trails off to appear underneath their wings. You’ll find it difficult to photograph them at a feeder without getting seed hulls in the image. They have something of a reputation as “feeder hogs,” using their powerful bills to industriously hull and eat sunflower seed. Fortunately for our sunflower supply, the grosbeaks will soon head north and to higher elevations to breed. 

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (c) Jim Greenway

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Blooming this week: Foamflower

One of our streamside wildflowers this week is Tiarella cordifolia, or Foamflower.

Foamflower
 We see these in late April through May, when they usually form small clusters of plants in damp and shady spots. Never growing much taller than mid-calf, Foamflower is reportedly a great native ground cover for heavily shaded areas in the lawn. Get out and enjoy our native flora this week!

Want to learn more? Visit the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service’s Foamflower webpage.