In case you haven’t figured it out yet, there’s very little that I like about winter. Actually, that’s not exactly true. I don’t truly mind clear, cold and windless days (as if I can order up the weather. I always joke about that. All winter it seems to be very windy here–and then in July when you’re dying for a breath of air–nothing. Weather seems terribly fickle that way).
What I do mind–and this has to do more with the vagaries of my particular ski slope of a driveway and the fact that I have to navigate it with a dog several times a day and with a car at least twice daily–are icy and sleety storms, both of which have become more common. Snow is even acceptable until it starts melting and re-freezing into that icy mess that it makes.
But one of the beauties of winter is that it reveals all the hidden things from the other three seasons. Mind you, I am not talking, as the landscape designers do, about the “bones” of the garden design (and I am probably not talking about that because my gardens don’t have any design!)
What I am referring to are the lovely little hidden things like tiny birds’ nests. Or, in the case of the above tree, large scary wasps’ nests. But if I were this homeowner, I would much rather know that this was here before next season rolled around, in case the queen wanted to reuse this for her colony!
I am always amazed, as I am out walking with the dog, how many birds’ nests I see in the deciduous trees once the leaves have fallen. There are probably just as many in the evergreens that never get seen because those trees and shrubs don’t defoliate.
I know a robin always makes a nest in a blue spruce that I have, but the only reason I see it is because the tree is relatively near a window and I can watch. Otherwise, even though I know the nest is there, I probably wouldn’t see it if I didn’t know where to look.
It’s the same thing with a large eagle’s nest in a tall spruce. Even though the platform has to be several feet across, it can only be seen from just the right angle. Birds are amazing at concealing their nests, as I suppose they need to be to protect them from predators.
So the annual leaf drop gives us a look at their secret world after their have abandoned those nests. It’s a treat–even if I am sometimes too cold to enjoy it for long!
I am trying to figure out whether a similar structure near the top of my weeping cherry is a squirrel’s drey or a wasp/hornet nest. I did discover an underground wasp nest under that same tree – or rather, a helpful raccoon discovered it for me and ate the occupants before I could accidentally stumble upon them. I should probably get out the binoculars and try to determine which kind of nest it is. Not that I am about to climb up and do anything about it, of course! :-O
I find that squirrels usually make a much messier sort of home for themselves–at least my squirrels do! There are always leaves sticking out of the sides, all over the place.
Binoculars would probably give you a definite idea. And if it did turn out to be certain types of hornets (you would have to research what they want in your area) they might come collect it for you if it becomes reoccupied. Certain hornets are valuable for their venom and they are collected–at least here they are. I have never had the right kind so I can’t tell you what they want, however.