Sunday, July 19, 2009

Slow Growth

This summer has been unusually cold with the temperature dropping as low as 7 degrees celcius at night, so growth has been slow. As a layman, I have noticed a dramatic decline in the butterfly and bee population. The number of white admirals, pink ladies and monarch butterflies seems to have decreased from previous summers. I’m not certain if this is due to dwindling habitat, change in weather patterns or other factors.

It is of note that the Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is on the species at risk list of Ontario. For more information please see

The Ruby Throated hummingbirds however, appear to continue their migratory patterns and we have the usual two to three pairs fighting over the hummingbird feeder. They also enjoy the nectar of the various garden flowers, especially the foxglove and lilies.

Both the males and females like to perch on the “weather” stick which is placed a few feet below the feeder. From there they keep a watchful eye on whoever invades their “space” and then an air battle ensues. It is an amazing show to watch as they navigate feeding and dodging each airborne assault.

The pencil sketches are a result of happy observations of these amazing and at times ferocious little birds.

Below is a small watercolour of the Ruby Throated female hummingbird with Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

Watercolour sketch Foxgloves (Digitalis purpurea)


Heather said...

I haven't noticed as many butterflies this year either, and I'm hearing that from lots of folks. Love the paintings, esp the one of the hummer on the Cardinal Flower.

Eleanor Thorel said...

Thanks Heather,

The weather has been unusually cold and wet this summer, how has it been in your neck of the woods?

Heather said...

This summer has been one of the wettest that I can remember in recent years. I don't think it's as wet here as in, say, the New England states, but certainly more wet than we are used to. The temps have been below normal too, mostly for July, so we haven't yet had any sweltering summer weather! It remains to be seen what August and September hold for us.

Eleanor Thorel said...

The same here. Although, today it was warm and sunny and lo and behold, I saw a monarch!

Col said...

Your blog rocks! I'm going to come back and have a leisurely look around!

Eleanor Thorel said...

Thank you Col, your comments are very much appreciated!

Gabrielle Andersen said...

I love your sketches and photographs Eleanor. I haven't really been on the computer for most of the summer and have really enjoyed your blog. Bravo!!

Eleanor Thorel said...

Thanks Gabrielle,
I know what you mean. I've been very busy this summer as well..changed jobs and need to get back to my art!