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Lindsaylew82
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

My new bird feeders has about 6-8 house finches ,or maybe wrens?, they fight over the perch and do a rotation type turn system.. It's hanging from an old clothes line T-pole. They are pretty territorial over the new feeder. They even run off the cardinals. EVEN the doves picking the fallen seeds on the ground!

I'm curious to know what is everyone's favorite bird seed?
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Rairdog
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

I use Nyjer for the finch. The sparrow and chickadee will use it also. Next to it is my suet feeder with woodpecker blend on one side and chicadee/nuthatch? blend on the other. The downy woodpecker, northern flicker, nuthatch, chickadee, sparrow and occasional grosbeak will use it. I quit the suet after spring or the starlings will invade and wreak havoc. The downside is the redtail hawks ambush them every couple weeks. Everybody's gotta eat I guess. Just had one take out a robin feeding below yesterday.

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

I love goldfinches. They come for all kinds of flower seeds including kale and Brussels sprouts, shiso, and coneflowers.

I've pretty much given up putting out feeders during the growing season and am concentrating on growing things they like. Hummingbirds too -- I decided I'm doing them more harm than good because I can't keep up with the regular clean (and bleach) routine. So instead, I just grow flowers.

In winter when the fall seeds and berries are mostly gone, I do put out suet and some sunflower (harvested/saved striped and store bought BOSS), sufflower, and niger seeds, and fruit scraps, leftover chips and nuts. Regular visitors are chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, downy and red bellied woodpeckers, blue jays, and cardinals, goldfinch, house finch. Then we also get some rare and unusual visitors as well.
Lindsaylew82 wrote:Silly raccoon! :(). Is he just playin in it?
I found Mr. Toad had been toppled over :lol:
He's *supposed* to be looking like this....
He's *supposed* to be looking like this....
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

applestar and everyone else -

I've really enjoyed reading (and re-reading) this thread. I have learned one main thing.

I gotta start paying more attention.

I recently spoke with a neighbor of mine (about 1/10th mile away) who was listing the hummingbirds, falcons and such that they spy from their front yard. I only see robins, blue jays, cardinals and a bunch of black/grey birds for the most part, but apparently there is much more there to see.

Does anyone know of an online resource (of any merit) to help identify birds?

Thanks - meshmouse

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

This one
online guide to birds and bird watching
https://www.allaboutbirds.org/Page.aspx?pid=1189
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Thank you applestar

Very nice site. The audio of calls is a cool feature. Sometimes that's all I get.

meshmouse

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

I like that feature too! :D

Let us know what you discover around your garden :-()
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

applestar - I'll be sure to do that.

Right now I'm thinking about places in the house and in the yard where I can blend into the background, open a wobbly pop and observe. I'm looking around for the binoculars, but I think the zoom on my camera will prove more powerful as well as allowing a record to search and share.

The only real attractants that I have are a birdbath and a compost pile, worms all over the place and very few cats in the neighborhood. There are trees and all sorts of plants surrounding me (most of which are just wild). I exert a little effort now and then to favor ones I like and discourage ones I don't.

I'm taking notes on things to plant to attract certain birds. I would love to have hummingbirds about. I'll be limited to plants that can do well with 4-6 hours of sun a day.

I'll let you know what I see. Thanks again.

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

Loads of butterflies and moths here today. Some were too quick!

Image

Image

Image

Image

That last one is so old and faded. It's all tattered up, too. I'm guessing it's probably his last day... :(. Glad I could provide a feast for him! (Or her)
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applestar
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Nice! But if that's a silver spotted skipper, you better watch out! Their babies love beans.
I usually mostly find them with their weird heads in folded soybean/edamame leaves.

When I opened the front window this morning to catch some cool breeze, I saw this little visitor :D
Can you see she's staring at me?
Can you see she's staring at me?
(I wish I had a better camera, but with an iPad Air through the screen, this is about the best I can get.)

Later on, FOUR of them were duking it out in too-fast-too-see aerial display and no doubt what to them were loud and aggressive battle cries, though they only sounded like cute chittering sounds to me :wink:
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Lindsaylew82
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Ain't gots no mo beans! :()

But not for long! We are planting more beans and peas this weekend.

I'd say they're the most numerous butterfly we have.
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Lindsaylew82
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

:shock: :shock: :shock: EW! They ARE ugly with weird looking heads!!!
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applestar
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Yep, my daughter calls them alien monsters :lol:

This spider was guarding the back doorframe above the faucet. I think it could be one of the yellow mass hatched spider babies?
Unknown yellow spider
Unknown yellow spider
ETA -- Now that I'm seeing the fully grown Yellow and Black Garden Spiders around, the markings are distinctive enough to think this one is too. I guess the black color of its markings (and legs) start out brown and darken more as they mature.
Last edited by applestar on Thu Aug 21, 2014 10:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: ID'ing the spider as Yellow and Black Garden Spider
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

I was looking out of my favorite window at the Spiral Garden today, and noticed I couldn't see the last melon in the melon patch. It's the smallest one, but after eating the two other melons, we've been looking forward to thus one ripening.

So, grab the birdwatching binoculars and scan the area... There's the OJ lid I used as pedestal to keep the melon off the ground... But it's flipped on its side... Did something get in? Did the groundHOG????!!!! ...any signs? Trampled leaves? Are the trick fences still up and not pushed over? ...hmmm everything looks normal...

Ah ha! I see it! It slipped the vine and has rolled down the mounded bed to the garden path! :lol:

...oh! A Monarch! (Picture the dog going "squirrel!" In UP) ...yikes! Forget the Monarch -- get out there and go get the melon before something REALLY happens to it! :-()

~~~ Monarch migration and layover through our garden is still very sparse. Insect activity on the milkweeds are delayed this year also. I'm only now seeing Milkweed tussock moth caterpillars and they are normally all over the milkweeds in early to mid-July. Am not spotting any Monarch eggs or caterpillars, though I did see a chrysalis about a week ago.

I saw a Monarch flying through the garden today (Yeah, I said that already) but I don't know if it was a visitor or the a newly eclosed butterfly from the chrysalis I saw.
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Writing spiders are all over my front bed!

Image

Image

Image

When I pulled in my driveway tonight, there were hummingbirds, bumble bee moths, and swallowtails all over my lantana!
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

...and this morning,when I was opening the windows and curtains, I saw a HUGE Black and Yellow Garden (a.k.a. Writing) Spider with an equally large catch in her web. I was surprised because even though I know they are in my garden, I hadn't seen any at this size before -- where was she hiding all this time?

As I stared, I started to make out suspiciously familiar black markings in her bundle which originally appeared brown in the early light.... oh no... It's not... A quick grab for a pocket size binoculars and --- :cry: --- it's a Monarch Butterfly.

Life is hard. I'd successfully freed one from a (Brown Garden Spider) web last summer. But I didn't go outside all day yesterday (well, except to go fetch that melon, and that was on the other side of the house) -- I wish I had... Maybe I would have been there at the right time to help it.
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Today's visitor is a FEMALE Monarch butterfly :cool:
image.jpg
I'm going to look extra carefully to see if she laid any eggs. :bouncey:
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

I have been chasing these guys for a month trying to snap a pic. They just keep moving. Hummingbird moth.
Image

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

Well, THAT is a great shot! Look at the shadow, too, showing the clear wings :clap:
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

applestar wrote:Well, THAT is a great shot! Look at the shadow, too, showing the clear wings :clap:
Just a phone shot..I thought he was gone. They are cool until you think of them as a hornworm.. Here is a predator...

Image

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

Well, clearwing hummingbird moths are not the hornworm that eats your tomatoes.
Those turn out like this:
image.jpg
...and this praying mantis -- maybe it's the posturing, but it doesn't look like the ones I see in my garden. It maybe a different species....
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

applestar wrote:Well, clearwing hummingbird moths are not the hornworm that eats your tomatoes.
Those turn out like this:
image.jpg
...and this praying mantis -- maybe it's the posturing, but it doesn't look like the ones I see in my garden. It maybe a different species....
Good....now I don't feel bad about murdering all those hornworms.

The PM was unusual with a short turned up abdomen. Normally we have the large green ones.
Image

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

We have had hundreds of bird in the trees around our house lately. The fly back and forth between the tall trees, sometimes in groups of 40 or more. I looked them up in a bird book and I think they are Blackpoll Warblers. Then just as we were watching about one hundred of them took off at once and the rest followed, then they were gone. They have been coming back every night for days now. Before that there were a good number around but not hundred like lately. Bet of all they have not dropped any bird bomb on me.
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Are they migrating?
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

I got out a long lens and took some photos of a couple of the birds so I could study them better. They are still a long ways up the tall trees so the photos are cropped and not so clear. I now think they are a different bird than i at first thought, they may be an American Goldfinch, although tall trees are not where they are found; but it may be a migration thing. they do look a little like a Bullocks Oriole also. Here are a few photos of the birds, what do you think they are? the bottoms of the birds is yellow even if this first photo is a bit washed out.


Image

Image

Image

Image

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

Most of the other birds I see that look like them are not from here. coast to mountain area of Oregon. I think I need a better bird book that shows local birds as I often can't find birds I am looking at in my field guide.
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

I can't tell what it IS tom, but it doesn't look like American Goldfinch. The shape/silhouette is wrong somehow. Hopefully, another member birdwatching enthusiast from your neck of the woods can help with the ID. 8)
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

I'm so excited :D
I was looking up for corn to harvest -- the Bloody Butcher corn all bore ears on their stalks higher than my head -- and saw this Saddleback Caterpillar.
image.jpg
It's the first one I've ever seen in my garden. It is clearly eating the corn leaf, but I had no idea corn was a larval host for them.

Looking at the photos of the adult moth in the above link, I think I've seen them around.

I had considered trying to catch it to bring inside, but it was a bit too high to reach, and now that I had the chance to research it more, I'm glad I didn't risk getting stung :shock:

...hopefully, that tiny shadow next to it is not a parasitic wasp... :|
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Rairdog wrote:Here is a predator...

Image
I was puzzling over this and realized what we may be looking at. Notice how it's abdomen is exposed? It doesn't have wings -- or actually only has very stubby looking wings.

I think it might have just underwent metamorphosis and is trying to pump up and dry it's wings and wing casing.... Is that likely?

I saw this one in my garden. Looks like the same or similar coloring to the one in your photo, but this one is starting to transform into the green adult instar by first growing green legs.... 8)
image.jpg
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

I've been hearing an unusual bird all all day, but hadn't been able to spot the bird. Earlier, I even went outside on the driveway looking for it because I hear a chickadee making a fuss and mingled with the chickadee, I hear this call.

But just now, I looked out the window and finally spotted it. At first I thought it was eating my raspberries :x but I haven't noticed any berries missing. Then I saw it hopping among the perennial wild ageratum (Eupatorium coelestinum) ...so I grabbed my binoculars, and noted the olive back and lemony chest. "Vireo" cam to mind so I looked it up and sure enough it's the Philadelphia Vireo which had me in knots last year because the one in my garden didn't have red eyes and had the eyebrow streaks.

The linked site has birdsong recording and it matches. 8)

I watched it cleverly cling to the stem of the ageratum and snatch a green caterpillar from among the flower cluster. :D
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Saw the saddleback caterpillar again, then found a second one with my hand :eek:
Posted about it here: Subject: Grow your own on-site garden remedy for stings • bites

I was able to take a picture of the praying mantis in the Good Mother Stallard beans today. I was reaching for a browned leaf to clean up and she was right there! :shock: her head swiveled in that creepy way they have, and she looked at me....
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

You know how you are supposed to eliminate every little standing water to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in them? Well, each time I find a standing water I hadn't noticed and try to get rid of it, I find tree frogs in them. :D

Today was a 5 gal bucket I had shoved halfway under the patio table. I looked in it and saw that it had a couple of inches of water in it. I was about to tip it out and realized there was this frog clinging on the inside wall :shock:
image.jpg
It appears to be a Northern Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer crucifer)
Northern Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer crucifer) Identification: 3/4" - 1 1/4". Spring Peepers are marked by an imperfect, dark-colored “x” on their backs. Peepers can be olive, brown, gray, yellow, or any shade in between. This particular subspecies has a plain or virtually plain belly.
https://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/ensp/pdf/frogs.pdf
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

We have a pets and friends corner in our garden under the mulberry tree where our gerbils and goldfish and any dead critters found in our garden have been buried with great ceremony ever since my girls were little. The process generally involved finding an appropriate casket box/basket, lining it with something pretty, laying the remains in state, adding toys and food, covering with flowers picked from around the garden, then conducting a funeral.

The other day, the girls were still asleep when I found a dead catbird. I was busy and was fully intending to just toss the dead thing into the woods behind the back fence, scooped it up with a soda bottle hot cap that was laying around and was purposefully striding towards the back of the yard,... But as I looked down at the bird that has probably stolen countless number of my blueberries, cherries, strawberries and blackberries, I just couldn't throw it away. We had a history.

So I broke down and decided to give it a place under the mulberry tree -- its favorite haunt -- but still unwilling to spend too much time on it, I just grabbed a little perennial trowel and dug a shallow grave. There was drought and the ground was hard with lots of roots. I layered some leaves to cushion it, and was about to just cover with dirt... But I couldn't.... So next thing I knew, I was picking wildflowers -- just a few -- turned into a meandering stroll around the garden collecting a sizable bouquet from all over the garden ...something from the blueberry patch, something from under the blackberries.... I made myself turn around back to the mulberry tree because otherwise I would have had to dig a bigger hole. I laid the flowers all around and over it, covering it's face with the last flower and a little prayer, and I was FINALLY able to finish burying the silly thing. O:)
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Rairdog wrote:Here is a predator...

Image
Look what I found on a hanging pot :o
image.jpg
...so what are these? Different species? A male? In molt?
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Closest I can find is a female Budwing Mantis

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

OK you got me looking. Budwing is apparently flightless mantis from Africa kept for pets, so it didn't seem likely to find in my garden... So some more looking around and I came across this reference:


https://bugguide.net/node/view/4821
Species Stagmomantis carolina - Carolina Mantis - BugGuide.Net

Head and thorax almost as long as the body. Antennae about half as long as middle legs. Pale green to brownish grey, often inconspicuous on vegetation. Males usually brown, females green or brown. Wings do not extend to tip of abdomen, especially in female. (Females apparently flightless, or nearly so.) Abdomen of female strongly widened in middle.
https://bugguide.net/node/view/491302
Muscatine County, Iowa, USA
August 5, 2010
does anyone know the species?

Stagmomantis carolina
It's a Carolina mantis. This one is a female nymph; based on her appearance and the date of your photo, she is the last instar before adulthood.
This was particularly interesting to me because I posted about this egg mass that turned out to be a Carolina mantis ootheca:
applestar wrote:Which kind of praying mantis ootheca do you usually find? This kind?

Subject: Some kind of egg casing? Good or bad? >> Carolina Mantis
applestar wrote:OK -- it's so nice out I was giving my garden a once over patrol and discovered this half way up on the main trunk of my little ginkgo tree -- t's only knee high and can't afford any munchers. :x

It looks like an egg casing -- approx. 3" long from top to bottom. Hopefully someone can help me ID before it's too late. :shock:

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

applestar wrote:Photos from around the garden:

Brown Garden Spider that keeps weaving a 3-4 ft web across my path
d8d6cef93cd2861280d704f4d3da5d83.jpg
Here's one packing up a yellow jacket lunch bucket. :D

ImageDSC_0073 by schabefrank, on Flickr
ImageDSC_0069 by schabefrank, on Flickr

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