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applestar
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2014Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

I see a pair of mourning doves trying to mate on the slippery arch of the honeysuckle arbor.... 8)
I'm not sure if it's the uncertain footing or the dove hen is not quite ready, but they are not quite succeeding so far. Still, I'd better get those vines pruned before they decide to build a nest.

I have been listening to a Song sparrow singing... trying to spot it. Looks like spring is on its way. :D



... So what's going on in YOUR garden? :-()
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imafan26
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

I saw a dragonfly yesterday around the fish tank. The first one this year. Unfortunately the cabbage butterflies are around year round, I wish they would take a season off.

The Pacific Golden Plover migrates here with the other 'snowbirds' every winter.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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applestar
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

It was really nice today so I walked around a bit and puttered. :D

Just in the front yard alone, I found a bunch of praying mantis ootheca. Some of these are older ones from last year that I recognize -- surprised that they have held up even after the babies had hatched. The new this year ones are much lighter in color, and you can see some of the year old ones starting to mildew. (Sorry the first one looks side ways in the preview, but it will rotate if you click to enlarge)
Praying mantis ootheca on red Japanese maple -- at least two more in the background in addition to the one in foreground
Praying mantis ootheca on red Japanese maple -- at least two more in the background in addition to the one in foreground
Praying mantis ootheca on green Japanese maple. There were five altogether on this tree, but two of them are from last year and starting to mildew.
Praying mantis ootheca on green Japanese maple. There were five altogether on this tree, but two of them are from last year and starting to mildew.
Praying mantis ootheca on American hazel -- I counted four and all are new this year.
Praying mantis ootheca on American hazel -- I counted four and all are new this year.
Oh, and I discovered the probable reason why I didn't see many hornworms in my Spiral Tomato Garden last year. I didn't take a picture because I wasn't sure if my neighbor would mind, but there was a HUGE full sized hornets/paper wasp nest on their ornamental plum tree just on the other side of the fence. It's the quintessential football-sized nest everyone is familiar with from Winnie the Pooh. It was broken open on one side so presumably, the neighbors dealt with it during the winter.
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applestar
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Another nice day. I was clearing the Creeping Charlie from a small bed to prep for planting and spied this tiny BRILLIANT RED critter ambling around. Just gorgeous! ...anyone know what it is? It's much bigger than a Red Spider Mite that sucks on house plants -- maybe about 1/32"-1/16"
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

This turns out to be a member of my Garden Patrol in dress-uniform. It was ID'd for me as Red Velvet Mite. I looked it up and here's an exerpt:
...a critter that dwells in soil and leaf litter...

Young RVMs are parasites (blood-suckers) on grasshoppers, daddy long-legs, beetles and other ground-dwelling, cold-blooded critters (including plant hoppers, apparently), which they attach to and ride around on. Adult RVMs eat insect eggs and prey on very small invertebrates (like ants) (if RVMs are on your plants, they’re hunting for something you probably don't want there). Because they consume some planr-eating insects and because they eat the animals that eat the organisms that carry out the important work of decomposition, RVMs are considered helpful to ecosystems.
https://www4.uwm.edu/fieldstation/natur ... t_mite.cfm
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

I saw my first hummingbird of the season today. :D

There was a carpenter bee buzzing around and I was thinking it was unusually loud when I noticed the hummer. I think it was a male scout passing through. I'm not sure if my garden had much to offer yet -- it checked out the trumpet honeysuckle vine on the wall trellis, but I think there were only a few clusters of unopened buds. It went around the corner of the house like it knew where to go to find the gate arbor trellis of 2nd trumpet honeysuckle there, but I recently pruned it, cutting off some nearly open buds... so I suspect there weren't much there either.

I was looking at the apple, cherry and redbud blossoms hoping those might meet his approval....

...I also found this fellow on the patio table as I was putting the pepper and eggplant seedlings back inside for the night. I think it was in one of the trays or containers or it was on the table where I almost set down one of the containers because it was all of a sudden there, hopping away from my hand :D
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valley
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

applestar, I like your sanctuary, I can picture you in a white flowing dress at midnight running from flower to flower. You are a romantic. Very nice, carry on.


Richard

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applestar
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Wow I think YOU are the romantic :D Thank you for the lovely vision and compliment. :flower:

Today was FUN! :D

I was clearing my New Kitchen Garden bed because I want to sow these pre-germinated and getting too long cucumber seeds, and two smallish black colored birds were whizzing around -- one closely following the other through the trees, past me, skimming the house wall, over the fence, through the shrubbery, past a cardinal proclaiming his territory, between the pea trellis, past the patio, past me ...around and around over and under and almost never breaking formation. Making chirruping noises the whole while.

I'm thinking this must be some kind of a courtship ritual but I couldn't focus on the birds to identify them because they never stopped. :shock:

Then I got a break because the two must have got on the male cardinal's nerves and HE started following them in close formation, except that his joining them somehow distracted their close tracking system and they slowed down. But I was kind of amazed that the cardinal kept up for at least three laps around the backyard. Anyway, it also helped to see that the pair were clearly about the same size as the cardinal, and I began to suspect that they were catbirds, when the three of them barreled into a male housewren trying to entice a lady wren who was about to inspect his housekeeping skills by giving the decorated wrenhouse a peek.

OMG all kinds of fuss ensued :lol: and the catbirds got separated. They started calling to each other in the classic cat(bird) call mixed with chirruping so I was able to definitively ID them. :()
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Pre-germinated cucumber seeds
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applestar
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

BABIES! NEW MEMBERS OF THE GARDEN PATROL! :()

There are a dozen or more praying mantis ootheca in my garden. I think I mentioned them before. Sometimes there are several ootheca within a small area, so I clip the branch it's attached to and relocate. Since spring, whenever there's an above normal hot day, I see some signs of advance hatching, but not a full scale hatching event.

But today, the ootheca I placed in the Sunflower & House (planted with onions and greens this year) "exploded" with new life! :clap:
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Young explorers
Young explorers
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Even my humble city garden is visited by wildlife. I love my mockingbirds. The Jays are beautiful but a nuisance. Humming birds spring and fall. Doves nest in the Azalea bush. Cardinals visit the bird bath. Butterflies and humming birds like my milk weed, red penta, zinnias, red Mandeville, dill and fennel when they go to seed. Even the most un-kept garden can host an abundance of wild life. I do keep humming bird feeders up year round.

Love the sound of the birds in the yard when I sit on my patio with my morning coffee.
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When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

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applestar
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

I've been seeing hummingbird visits. I don't get many so this could be just one bird returning for multiple visits.

This morning, it's here at 5:30am. Officially sunrise isn't for another 10 min., and the light is what I think is called "crepuscular." I can hardly see it, but it looks like it's determined to sip from every red trumpet honeysuckle that is loaded on the garden gate arch trellis.

It disturbed a song sparrow pair out of the vines. The male woke me with his morning call and he sings all day in those vines -- they may be nesting in there but I can't see the nest.

The hummingbird will probably hit the other trumpet honey suckle on the patio side wall trellis next and disturb the robin sitting on her eggs.
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

I've been trying to enjoy my garden here and there, but there's a pair of starlings nesting in the hedge along my fence. I thought they were cavity nesters, but there they are. I can hear their nestlings every time they fly into the bush with a bug or a piece of cat food they stole from the patio.

It would be completely fine with me, except that they're very angry every time I go out there and resort to a barrage of alarm calls delivered from the top of the fence or the edge of the house. They also try to strafe me when I'm bent over weeding or examining seedlings. Every time Third Cat comes by, they dive bomb him.

About a week ago, I actually trapped the male by accident in my raised bed. It was covered with bird netting, and I saw him climb in under the edge of it so I got up to chase him off and he flew right up into it. That precipitated several frantic minutes of me trying to flip the edge of the netting up over the 6' stakes to let him out but he found a gap in the trellis and scolded me from the fence. :roll:

I wish I had praying mantises, sheesh.

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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

We had another hatching event -- this time, on this Whorled Milkweed. At first I thought it was an invasion of yellow milkweed aphids, and I was getting ready to sacrifice the entire floral cluster.... But when I looked closer I realized these are baby spiders :D
Mass hatching of yellow spiders
Mass hatching of yellow spiders
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Bumblebee with full pollen baskets buzzing the comfrey flowers -- really, it would land on a bloom and buzz at it, then look busy for a while then fly to the next one. Do you suppose comfrey anthers release pollen when buzzed like tomato and pepper blossoms?
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I was cleaning up a corner of the patio where there was a stack of plastic film and frost covers. I spread each shroud out on the grass to dry so I could shake off any debris and fold up to store away. When I was unbundling a large slitted 3mil film, I realized there was something white clinging to it. On closer examination, it turned out to be an Eastern Grey Treefrog. I felt so badly that I was taking away it's hiding place. I tried putting it in the garden....
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...but it disappeared, so I hope it found a better place it preferred.

...later on, I saw what I thought was the same kind of bumblebee --with full pollen baskets-- fly under a picnic bench and crawl into what I thought was a recessed bolt hole in the diagonal strut securing the leg and the seat together. Maybe it's a queen carpenter bee instead, though it seemed kind of small for a carpenter bee.... :?
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Found INSIDE the Spiral Garden, etc. enclosure this morning....
image.jpg
...no I did not kill it or chase it out. It's safer in here from the neighborhood cats. It won't fit between the pickets anymore after it grows a little bigger. We'll see if it will stick to clover, dandelion and plantain or.... :roll:

I found it because it was rustling around under the clover:
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applestar
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

House wrens are funny little birds. I know they can be aggressive birdhouse hoarders, and I suspect they have chased off potential chickadee and titmouse tenants, but I have to admit they are entertaining. And of course the male sings all day long if he's not being bullied into helping with the house chores by the female.

They make a noisy racket when there is a potential threat to the house they are nesting in. I've been on the receiving end of their hopping mad chatter with which they yell at the perceived threat, though of course they are hardly intimidating. :wink:

But they can act as a warning system if you pay heed. Today, I was coming back from a garden bed on the other side of the house, headed for the kitchen door, when I heard the wren making a ruckus around the corner. So I put my stuff down and went around to see if the neighborhood cat had gotten in the garden.

The wren was on the top of the SFH arch trellis, but when I approached, he flew into the arrow wood viburnum. I looked around but didn't see the cat, but the wren was still making a fuss in the viburnum, so I crouched down and peered in... And found myself staring right at the cat, looking guilty with round saucer eyes in the back of the viburnum. :evil:

From the corner of my eye, I saw that the wren, mission accomplished, had flown back to his house. :lol:
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ElizabethB
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Applestar - I love both your pictures and your narratives. I also visualize you in a flowery dress flitting from plant to plant taking pictures. Much like a butterfly seeking nectar. Reality is that you are probable like me - a pair of old cut off jeans and a tee shirt, grubby hands and nails that you have to scrub each evening. Please keep the photos and the narratives coming. I really enjoy them. :-()
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When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

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applestar
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Thanks ElizabethB :D

...well, let me tell you... I am -was- rapidly losing the warm and fuzzy feeling for the "Baby Fweddy-Fwed" (someone named him :lol: ). I was seeing remnants of beet seedlings which I sowed along and among the Onions (if you remember from my Spiral Garden thread) and then started to see rows of decapitated bean seedlings with no true leaves. This bunny is selective.

Well the beans were gamely trying to grow new true leaves from just above the seed leaves when "someone" went around and chomped them off below the seedleaves. :evil:

But because I had been sowing the beans as they pre-germinated, over several days, there were new seedlings coming up.... But then more decapitations :roll:

...but then, today, I was going around one more time as the sun was lowering, and something started rustling in the Garlic Chives which is next to the arch trellis where the runner beans had been meant to grow. WhenI leaned closer, Baby Fweddy-Fwed fwed -- I mean fled the scene. :o. He ran to the stinging nettle patch, then decided that wasn't enough and dashed right out through what I call the "knee fence" which has openings that are small enough to keep out mature bunnies but not little ones like this.

When I told him to stay hidden and safe from the cats, he kind of revealed that he was indeed the culprit that decapitated the row of tiger beans in the Spiral Garden by running right past them along the Spiral Path :| ...and dove into the clump of Monarda.

:!: takeaway :!: planting garlic or onions, or strong smelling herbs, to keep out rabbits is not going to work. :roll:

...but oh he was sooo cute! :() -- I decided to soak and pre-germinate another batch of beans to sow :wink:

I also decided instead of replacing the beets or sowing carrots, I'm going to plant hot peppers in the space that opens up as the Egyptian onions are harvested. BFF needs to learn to eat his clover and dandelion. :>
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

While Mama robin was away taking a bath in the main birdbath, I took a picture of the baby robins in the Patio Side Tomato Garden trumpet honeysuckle trellis ( I mentioned the nest and eggs back on May 19) :D
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Apple, I finally too a stroll through your own wildlife sanctuary. Impressed to say mildly! It takes years of work, study and knowledge to work a balance such as you have, especially in somewhat limited space. I grew up with natural history, biology in college, and with moves, family, lifes twists and turns didn't stay close to it.
Your peaceable kingdom is an inspiration to do better, do more with my urban corner lot.
Have fun!
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applestar
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Thank you, Susan. :D I think it's really rewarding to foster a small patch of oasis where (I hope) they can actually find real food and not worry about chemicals. My postage stamp stewardship. :wink:

...but I feel it's not complete until I get a non-freezing pond going, Maybe this will be the year that I'll get it done. I loved it the one year I had my experimental tiny earth pond going and both in spring and fall, the migrating robins absolutely mobbed the tiny waterfall and circulating stream. Unfortunately the design was faulty and I had to take it down, and I haven't had the right set of circumstances to recommence with that project.

...

Today, I found Baby Fweddy-Fwed in the Kids' Garden when I was about to step inside to pick some strawberries. :roll:
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As it turned out, he was eating the weeds along the inside fence where it's hard for me to reach.
As it turned out, he was eating the weeds along the inside fence where it's hard for me to reach.
I thought he was going to eat the strawberry I had my eyes on, but he left without sampling it. maybe he hasn't "discovered them" yet.
image.jpg
...yes... He is so tiny still that he can easily slip in and out of the enclosure. When I walked around to the other side looking for a better photo angle, he dashed out, and when I came around the other way, he went right back in. "Now, I'm out" "And now, I'm in." :hehe:
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Baby Robins' eyes are open now... And their beaks open wider!
Baby Robins' eyes are open now... And their beaks open wider!
Baby Fweddy-Fwed's ears are getting longer
Baby Fweddy-Fwed's ears are getting longer
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

I have a little flock of grouse that visit my yard twice a day for seed. In the cold winters they also come and in blizzards they often just bury themselves in the snow close to the bird feeders and dig themselves out when things calm down. They are very skittish birds and make a great squawk when they take flight. Took a picture this morning of two of them and there's pic in winter of some making little shelters for themselves in my back yard. I also have a little Merlin hawk that comes in once in a while hoping to get a sparrow.
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applestar
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

These are cool pictures! Grouse, eh? And good job capturing the hawk. Red tailed hawk and kestrel fly through here once in a while, but I've never been able to photograph them, though I might have a picture of a Turkey vulture somewhere.

I love your use of whimsical garden ornaments. So is the bench the birdfeeder?
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pow wow
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Hello applestar,
The bench is the feeder in the summer. I hang feeders in the winter and also toss seeds up into the blue spruce trees.
Mentioning ornaments, I just bough another addition for my little side garden. I think I have a thread on my garden, i will post the pics in the morning.

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Cola82
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Beautiful birds! Thanks for sharing. :D

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applestar
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

This morning I was watching a grackle picking up the blackest mulberries on the ground (they fall off first so I think the robins and catbirds up in the branches tend to end up NOT getting them).

He would eat one, then remember that he was supposed to be GATHERING them, pick up a nice black one, then a second one, then put down the two to readjust and pick up a third one. I kept watching because I wanted to see if he was going to fly off now -- nope, put the bundle down again and do a complicated head turning maneuver to pick up a fourth blackest mulberry, THEN fly off back to the nest.

-- But apparently, he was head-heavy because his take-off was wobbly and he almost flew into one of the 3-gal Square tomatoes. :o

I watched him come back and repeat the berry picking behavior (including eating one for himself first :lol: ), but this time he had better flight control. 8)
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Look at those hungry baby robins! They're so cute and little Fweddy looks like he's growing from all those weeds he's been helping you out with :)

I just posted a thread about a wren nest (I'm guessing) in my flower pot. Hopefully I'll get some photos of the babies this year. My photos of last year's clutch turned out terrible and aren't worth posting. They're such little things and their nest is like a little den so pretty dark for photos. I loved watching their eyes open and see them take flight one by one, until one day the last baby was gone :(
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applestar
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

I replied in your thread. Hopefully you can get a picture. :D
It's so much fun to have the birds nest in your garden. :()

I'm smacking myself right now. I caught a moth I'd never seen before by accident the day before yesterday while picking strawberries. It looked like a crumpled brown leaf stuck on the strawberry, and I was going to get it off after straightening up from an awkward position. But when I did, the "leaf" started to flutter in my hand. It was a moth, and I had accidentally held it's legs along with the berry stem.

I cupped my hand over it, berries and all, and transferred it to a holding container so I could photograph it and look it up. As it turned out, the soda bottle container made it difficult to get a clear shot and this was the best I could get.
image.jpg
Using a 2 L soda bottle bottom with holes in it was an accident, but to my surprise, the moth started to hover inside the roomy container. It was one of the hummingbird moths.
https://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/spec ... loridensis

I waited too long for chance to show the kids, and they didn't look at it until evening. I tried to let it out on a plant anyway, but it wasn't moving so I gave up and brought it back inside. In the morning it was completely still in the container and I thought it had a short 1 day moth lifespan. I kind of forgot about it all day yesterday and today. Daughter mentioned something about adding it to her bug collection.

Then just now, not 1/2 hour ago, it started to fly up and hover inside the container again to our complete surprise. What will to live! It must be FREE!

DD let it out of its container just outside of the back door, and it flew up onto the Chibikko micro dwarf tomato. A photo op! I ran back inside, got the iPad, aimed and focused... And somehow tapped the wrong area on the screen. By the time I got it back to camera mode, the moth decided it was time to go and took off. O:)

(...how often do I take pictures with this thing? :oops: :roll: )
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Yesterday's special sighting was a male hummingbird. This one was in full gorget that give it the ruby-throated name. Even though I was watching from the upstairs window above, I could see the iridescent feathers spilling out of his neck every time he turned his head. Gorgeous! :D

Today, I heard a timid cheeping sound in the middle of the front lawn. Thinking it could be an unfledged baby bird that fell out of its nest, and knowing the neighborhood cats walk this area, I started to cautiously walk toward the sound, trying to locate it.

Instead of a baby bird, I saw a vaguely familiar tiny bird almost as small as a house wren hopping around in the lawn and pecking at something. It wasn't until I could clearly see the red Mohawk streak on its head that I recalled the bird's ID as Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Not a regular, but a rare visitor. 8)

Now, *some* birds are not as welcome....
I enlisted the kids' help to make some birdscares <br />to protect our still-green blueberries
I enlisted the kids' help to make some birdscares
to protect our still-green blueberries
The blueberries are not producing well this year. I think it's because they were in bloom when we had that unexpected late frost. :(
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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

This evening, I got caught up in doing something on the iPad and didn't realize sun had set and it was dark. So when I got up, first thing I did was to go to the open window to close the blinds so I could turn the lights on.

Well, I was caught completely by surprise to see the garden filled with quietly flashing lights of fireflies. (I had no idea they had emerged) :D

Fireflies are a good sign and welcome sight -- not only are they lovely to see in the summer night, but they and their larvae eat slugs and snails. :twisted:
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

pow wow
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

I like your birdscare!! I guess there are fireflies up here but I've never seen them. Did see them one night in Florida when my dad, my sister and i were out for a walk.

pow wow
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Along the river and creek at the bottom of my hill.
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The osprey nest along the river
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And my favourite for last lol
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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

I love the white hare (is it hare?) -- so that's the winter coat? So lucky you get to see that -- with the grouse too. Love the rest of the photos, too. That piece of board the robins are nesting on, is that intentional?

About the bird scare -- in addition to reflectively flashing and the big google eyes, the closer one bangs against the trellis as it turns and swings in the wind. And the farther one, though I didn't do it intentionally, travels along the string through the day as it turns and swings, and usually I find it up against the far trellis by morning so I slide it back to the near trellis.

Yesterday, I was able to harvest the first 4 ripe big cultivated blueberries (under the near birdscare) and a handful of tiny wild ones (protected by the traveling birdscare) so I do think it's working for now. :()
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

pow wow
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

That's actually a cotton tail rabbit, lots of those because i live next to a natural prairie area. I also get the huge jackrabbits visiting in the winters when food is buried in deep snow out on the hill. Coyotes have dropped in a few times, ducks and the other morning i was sitting in front of my greenhouse watching the birds eating seeds when I heard something come up right beside me. It was a huge skunk! I'm a farm boy so I didn't freak out but I was rather worried. lol The critter hadn't noticed me and hoped for the best. It was so close I could have reached over and touched it. I cleared my throat and didn't make a move. The skunk looked up at me sniffing the air then fled to opposite side of my backyard, paused, then slid under the fence. Close call that's for sure.
The board I put up because it looked like the robins were having difficulty building a nest there but were determined that their nest must be in that spot. Worked out well for them.

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applestar
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

I harvested a 2nd nearly full 1 gal freezer bag of stinging nettles a couple of days ago -- just in time!

I saw Red Admiral butterflies visiting the nettle patch today. They are probably laying eggs, so no more nettle harvest. :mrgreen:
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pow wow
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Very exciting moment this morning as i was sitting in front of my greenhouse. I've been putting a big tin full of seed on top of my garden shed for the birds lately. As I was watching the sparrows and red wing blackbirds eating suddenly all the birds scattered as a little Merlin hawk dived in, missed his catch and it came shooting right by my head as it pulled out of it's dive and streaked out of the yard. If i had blinked i would have missed the whole scene! It was crazy cool!

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applestar
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Wow that must have been something! I've had red tailed hawk fly through on occasion, but the grackles around here are pretty fierce about driving off the predators, and I see the chase scenes more often than a plunging swoop.

Though that's happened, too, a burst of scattered feathers to mark the hit... the sudden hush that falls is eerie... then one or two birds -- I somehow always imagine youngsters -- make tentative querying calls, and everybody starts chirping and warbling at once. :lol:

My contribution tonight is a much more quiet one. DD called to me and said the fireflies are like little explosions tonight because as soon as one flashes, ten or dozen burst all around. There are so many it looks as though someone strung clear mini Christmas lights all over the trees. :D

I was watching out of my favorite window overlooking the Spiral Garden, Sunflower House, and Haybale Row, and found myself muttering "uh oh, uh oh...." Grabbed a pair of binoculars to see better, and yes, "uh oh" indeed.... There is a lone firefly :idea: flashing :idea: INSIDE the protective squash tunnel :shock:

Unless there is a gap somewhere -- another reason to "uh oh" -- that one climbed out of the soil INSIDE the tunnel when it came out from its pupa.
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applestar
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Yesterday, I was watching a very newly fledged robin yelping to be fed under the mulberry tree. There are a lot of fallen berries under there, but it's apparently too young to figure that out. All of a sudden, something moved in the grass, and (I could almost hear the baby think "Ooh! What's dat?" -- the fledgling jumped on it. ...and I saw something under the grass and clover rapidly streaking/moving a couple of feet away.

Now it's a game, jump -- streak -- jump -- streak... Then a chipmunk popped it's head up out of the grass. :lol:

Today, I saw the same (or another) spotty-chested fledgling, this time at the birdbaths. I have two in that particular location, both directly sitting on the ground: One is a flat terracotta plant saucer about 2" deep that immediately gets splashed out to 1-1.5" deep. I call that the "kiddie pool." The other is a bowl shaped planter 1/2 filled with gravel . The water in it could be 3 inches deep, though there is a concrete toad sitting on a brick in the middle of it in case any bird needs to climb out and can't make it to the edge.

This baby was sensibly playing in the "kiddie pool" -- just getting her feet and legs wet, barely soaking her belly. Then a catbird winged in and hopped into the grownup pool. I'd just filled it for the hot day, so the water was pretty deep for it -- all the way to its wing shoulders -- and it flew off after a couple of tries, looking a little put out. But now, the baby was curious. She hopped onto the rim and looked into the depth, then hopped over to a log next to it. I couldn't see her there from my window, but It seemed like quite a while. Then I saw the baby flap back to the "kiddie pool" without attempting to jump in the deep end. :lol:
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applestar
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

O:) I was so excited to see a MONARCH BUTTERFLY today O:)

After a whole year, I'm not so good at differentiating them and will have to re-train my eyes to recognize the males and females while in flight, but I believe this was a male. If this is the first of northbound migration through this area, the females should follow in the next week or so.

He was checking out the different milkweed patches. I hope they met with his approval. :D
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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