Bobolinks and Brandywine

Several weeks ago I realized that the straw sitting in my Brandywine tomato plant was actually the start of a nest. I’m fairly certain that the eggs that eventually appeared, and the bird sitting on them were boblink. This bird normally nests in meadows and fields (it is now quite rare due to disappearing nesting habitat). With the hayfield next door harvested, they needed a new spot. My thick “hedgerow” of tomato plants was ideal.

The bobolink chose the right plant, as this particular one was producing an unprecedented number of large tomatoes providing terrific camouflage. Brandywine was the first heirloom tomato I became familiar with when I started growing my own tomato plants from seeds many decades ago. Their fruit is usually quite large and the nest was eventually barely visible among the slowly ripening fruit.

Once the chicks had hatched and left the nest, it was safe for me to sit by the plant and try to capture this unusual scene (drawn fairly quickly on a hot, sunny day and finished later). I’m not sure if it’s a successful sketch, but it’s a better record than a quick photo.