We never know what to expect on the farm. A few weeks ago we noticed two birds that clearly were trying to lure us away from a nest. Not being birders, we had no idea the species nor where to look for the nest. We had some knowledgeable visitors at our open house who identified the birds as killdeer and also located the nest:
You have to look closely for the four eggs because they are camouflaged to look like pebbles. We've been watching the nest carefully, waiting for the chicks to emerge. Saturday night we checked the nest, as usual, and here's what we found:
Aren't they adorable? As I was trying to take photos both mother and father were extremely distressed. The killdeer try to distract threats to the nest and even resort to the "broken wing" tactic. Here I caught both parents pretending to be injured:
This photo gives a better shot of one parent trying to fool me in order to save the chicks:
While I was photographing the parents, this little one decided it was a good time to leave the nest:
Another surprise this week was this:
My research confirms my suspicions - it's German chamomile that has naturalized. When we first bought the farm, I saw this growing everywhere and was pretty sure that's what it was. But then, once we built our house, we didn't see it anymore. I suspected that it preferred the poor soil from the worn-out tobacco fields to the pesticide- and herbicide-free soil that we now have. Turns out I was wrong. I also spied some thistle among the chamomile. This plant isn't so good as it's got sharp thorns and spreads seed like a dandelion:
My plan is to harvest and dehydrate some of the chamomile.
Have a great weekend!