LIcenter
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2015 Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Not all birds at the feeder are interested in seed or suet. I knew this male Cooper's hawk was stalking my feeders for quite some time by the way all the birds, and squirrels would scatter at the drop of a hat. Then two weeks ago I see a Red-belly woodpecker slam into one of my windows followed by this guy. Woody never had a chance, and the hawk ate well that day. After many attempts of trying to eyeball him when he would show up, I finally got this photo on the 16th of Feb.




ImageDSC_0028 by schabefrank, on Flickr

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

What a great photo of the hawk!

...and I missed your spider photos before. Fantastic! Image
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LIcenter
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Why thank you applestar!
Can't beat these new digi camera thingies. Way back in the yesteryear I would have had to refi my house in order to develop all the pics I take now. ;-)

imafan26
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Someone posted about the disappearing monarch butterflies. I just visited the butterfly garden a couple of weeks ago and the monarchs are not endangered there. There were dozens of them flitting about the milkweeds. I even found a monarch butterfly in my yard. My neighbor has a crown flower up the street.
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

That's fantastic! Do you kniw if monarch butterflies somehow drifted to Hawaii on the air or if they were introduced? Do they still migrate -- to huger altitudes or across islands?

Is there any program in place to preserve/protect them?
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applestar
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

I don't really "clean up" in the fall and leave all kinds of plants standing because the birds come to eat the seeds and berries.

Junco's were all over the grass and Shiso (perilla) seedheads that were still above the snowcover the other day after the big snowfall, and yesterday and today, a mockingbird has been picking off the red berries from the Purple Passion Asparagus right outside the Family Room window... and this normally cautious and house-shy bird is making all kinds of fuss (I think it's warning off the reflected OTHER BIRD in the window) while gobbling up as many of the red berries as it can. :D
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Lindsaylew82
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

We had some little finch that saw himself in the side rear view mirror of my car. That sucker made one heck of a mess trying to fight the "other bird"... Poor thing. He came back 3 days in a row to duel it out!

Messy little booger.
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applestar
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

It was rather noisy outside today, so I looked out the window to see what's going on... I immediately saw a female Robin fly into the honeysuckle coveeed gate arbor, followed by not one, not two, but THREE male suitors. :D

...but snowbirds -- Junco's -- are still around, and tonight's forecasfed low is 27°F... It will probably be as low as 24 or 25°F in my garden, and there's a forecast for 24°F later in the week.

So Spring is not quite here yet. :|

Also spotted Blue Jay strutting around in the garden beds, Song Bird and Cardinal singing, a Mockingbird eating the asparagus berries, and a pair of mourning doves nesting at the top of a 5 ft foundation shrub....
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LIcenter
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Junco's and Gold finch are all but gone, and now the Grackles and Redwing blackbirds are all the rage. My trees are full of Mourning doves. It looks like miniature vultures watching my every move when I go out to refill the feeders. I think the Pine Siskin's skipped right over me this year, or are taking the long route. Now that the lakes and marshes are thawing I'm seeing Great Blue Herons flying over.

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

Licenter, check out my post here https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... er#p351197
about how to feed birds without attracting hordes of them or undesireables like the grackles.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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

Thank you rgb, yes I did read your original post. I may not post much, but I do read just about everything on this site. I only have one seed feeder, one thistle sock, and two suet cages up. It was never my goal to feed all of Long Islands birds, just the handful that stick around or pass through my area during the harshest months of the winter. If I come home from work and see the feeder has been devastated in what I consider a short amount of time, I will not fill it for at least 24 hours knowing it has been hit by the large bird transients. As soon as the temps climb and stay above the 45°F mark, the seed, and suet feeders will come down for the year. Then the sugar water kitchen opens, and the hummer feeders go up. ;-)

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

Gloomy day here...but the finches are eating fast. I have limited them to 1 -$17 bag a year. Half for spring and half for fall. After that they need to fend for themselves.

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

A robin's nest in the Hawthorn tree:
image.jpg
... You see all that grass? DD reported that the robins are stealing the grass thatch
I raked up and used as mulch in the garden. :roll: All that mud is from the garden as well. :lol:
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LIcenter
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

The only nests here so far are squirrels, and Mourning doves. Now that I have a Sharp-shinned hawk as a regular morning stalker; I'm betting the doves are none too happy of where they setup house.

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

So happy the humming birds finally showed up yesterday - at least it was the first time I caught them at the feeder. I love watching the tiny little guys! :)

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

skiingjeff wrote:So happy the humming birds finally showed up yesterday - at least it was the first time I caught them at the feeder. I love watching the tiny little guys! :)
I saw my first of three yesterday also. All were transients stopping in for a quick bite, and then moving on. Guessing my regulars should be here shortly.

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

Yeah, its hard to say if mine are staying for the long haul but eventually they will. :)

I also enjoy the gold finches. I always put some water in the ant trap in the center of the hummer feeder and they love to come and hang upside down and take a drink. Such beautiful birds there are....

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

Yesterday, I heard an elusive chittering at the honeysuckle gate arbor in full bloom. A sound that I should recognize but couldn't. ...then I saw it -- a HUMMINGBIRD! :-()

This is Memorial Day weekend -- typical weekend for them to start flying through. I think it WAS just passing through because it was very nervous and also because it rested often instead of hovering to drink.

It was a female though, so the males should have been passing through already -- maybe just that this was the first one I noticed. I'm really hoping they will nest in my garden but so far every year, I see them sporadically around this time as they pass through, then not until beginning of July when they start making regular daily visits.

I wonder what the Robin nesting near the top of the honeysuckle thought about the hummingbird.... :D
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(No you can't see the hummingbird in this picture... But here is my lopsided gate arbor honeysuckle in full bloom along with the rhododendron which is probably attractive as well)
(No you can't see the hummingbird in this picture... But here is my lopsided gate arbor honeysuckle in full bloom along with the rhododendron which is probably attractive as well)
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applestar
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

I'm having a late morning and am still up here in the bedroom looking out the window (I was out there in the Spiral Garden planting tomatoes by this time yesterday...) -- I'm seeing lots of activity :

-- two sets of songsparrow fledglings are clamoring to be fed by four adults flying hither and thither with what would have to be some kind of bugs in their beaks.

-- I saw a hummingbird sipping from the honey suckle again -- a female so it could be the same one... More stable flight with strong hovering pattern this time.

-- I saw a bluejay swoop in and start scooping a bunch of tan-looking things from the surface of the spiral rows... Gobbling and storing in the throat pouch... -- What ARE they? They can't be pumpkin seeds.... Pick up the binoculars for better look -- Then I saw it duck into the Seascape strawberries in the center of the spiral and came out with a very fat SLUG in its beaks and take off! (Well thank you! Grab all you like for your babies and yourself!) ...this might explain why I'm not seeing many slugs when I'm out and think to look after first light. 8)

-- In the mean time, a mourning dove was picking up hopefully weed seeds from the paths.
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LIcenter
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Sounds like a great start to your morning applestar! I'm sitting in my Florida room surrounded by windows, but not one bird frequents this side of the yard unless the feeders are up. Need to grab another cuppa joe, and head out to the backyard. Saw my first female ruby-throat on Saturday.

Image

And here's hubby.
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GardeningCook
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Have had female Ruby hummers at my feeder for the past couple of weeks, but no males yet. The females tend to arrive just as the rhododendrons are blooming; don't tend to see males for a couple of weeks after that. Rhodos are just finishing up, so males should be around soon.
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LIcenter
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

The males always arrive here first, that's why we call them scouts. They check out the area, and if they like what they see they stick around. A couple of weeks later, if you listen real closely you will hear very tiny wedding bells. ;-)

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

Wow - how odd that you see the males first since you're so further north of us. In the almost 20 years we've lived here in VA, the females always show up first.
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skiingjeff
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

We found these guys in the Taylor Holly in front of our house. First time I've seen baby birds so young. Mama Robin was yelling at us but we were only trying to weed the bed.
image.jpg
It will be fun to watch them grow! :-()

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

Cute, don't blink they grow up fast! ;-)

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

Yeah just a couple days and there's sprocky fur started :) It will be fun to watch the daily progress.

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

We're having an extra hot week and this usually signals when the groundHOG arrive, so I'm constantly looking out the window and occasionally using my birdwatching binoculars. This PM, a grackle family had descended and were noisily making a mess of the birdbath. One bird was somehow bathing or trying to bath in a full 2 gallon bucket of water I left by the seedling table.

A wobbly-footed youngster was actually trying to stand on the rim of a 4" square pot containing a tomato seedling that I'd uppotted for some TLC, lost its balance and tried to HOLD ON to a taller tomato seedling in front of it with its beaks!!! :x THATS IT! I banged on the window frame until they all flew off. I'm not going out there until tomorrow morning, but DD1 went out to check and said she thought "all your little babies look OK"....
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applestar
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

...so... I discovered HOW that grackle was managing to bathe in the 2 gal bucket without drowning.... :|

I had a dawning realization when I went out this morning and saw that two potted seedlings that had been on the end of the bench above the bucket was missing. One was flipped completely upside down, and the tiny dwarf seedling was buried among the grass. OK, here's "Demidov", so where is "Dwarf Arctic Rose"?

...It was submerged at the bottom of the 2 gal bucket full of water, container, potting mix, and all...

That dratted grackle was using the seedling's container as STEPPING STONE :evil: :roll:
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applestar
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Today, I was crouched down in the Spiral Garden trimming off lower tomato leaves with any septoria spots. I stood up to stretch my back, facing the central clump of hot pink Coral Reef Momarda, and realized there was a hummingbird :D busy sipping from each trumpet shaped flower, into which she had to carefully insert her beaks while airborne. Monarda flowers are long and narrow.

Even though I was maybe only 4-5 feet away, she paid no attention to me and I was able to watch as she occasionally ended up with the close-fitting, loosely attached older flower come away and get stuck on her beaks. It was just so funny to watch her methodically -fliiing!- the tubular flower away with a quick motion.

Then it started to sprinkle... A little rain, not enough to send me inside, so I continued to watch as she settled on top of one of the tomato stakes. I noticed she was darting her tongue out and in. At first I thought she was just "licking her chops" and cleaning herself, but then I realized she was turning her head this way and that while darting her tongue Into the air in a deliberate manner... And I really think she was catching raindrops. :o :lol:
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Coral Reef Monarda -- this is from another day (no camera/phone today)
Coral Reef Monarda -- this is from another day (no camera/phone today)
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LIcenter
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

They consume an enormous amount of gnats and skeeters too. I always see them hovering in the shade of the maples attacking the gnat swarms. Not enough light to get a decent pic tho.

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

I've had a male hummingbird guarding my trumpet honeysuckle for the past few weeks but yesterday I saw a female visiting my flower pots on the front porch. She even hovered around the sliding glass door for a bit looking like she wanted to come in for a visit. I just love them!

Not exactly along the lines of birds and pollinating insects, but I've loved watching the bats on my back patio. We have about 5 of them darting around every evening, probably enjoying the insane numbers of mosquitoes we have.

I've also had lots of lovely praying mantises this year as well as dragonflies!

On a not so happy note, my dog got into a fight with our resident groundhog. The stupid guy keeps digging holes under my fence to get into my yard (he lives in my neighbors yard). Fortunately my dog backed off a bit so no physical damage was done but it was loud and scary because my dog is significantly faster and was able to corner him far from his escape holes.
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GardeningCook
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

pinksand wrote: Not exactly along the lines of birds and pollinating insects, but I've loved watching the bats on my back patio. We have about 5 of them darting around every evening, probably enjoying the insane numbers of mosquitoes we have.
I cannot begin to tell you how much I envy you your bats. They're one of my all-time favorite wildlife (have been a member of Bat Conservation International since the '70's). Unfortunately, while I absolutely adored watching dozens & dozens & dozens of bats in multiple sizes every evening from late winter/early spring through late fall, that spectacle bit the dust around here around five years ago. I've been keeping a running spreadsheet of flora & fauna "Seasonal Firsts" since 2008, & just as examples, in 2013 I saw NO bats at all, in 2014 one, & this year just one so far as well. It's puzzling since I live in a rural area with lots of open fields, farm ponds, old barns etc., & the infamous White Nose Syndrome really shouldn't be an issue since the bats in our area aren't cave dwellers. Very sad.
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pinksand
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

That's really interesting and sad GardeningCook. I don't live too far from you in Columbia, MD. Going for a walk in the evening they're constantly in sight if you look up.
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GardeningCook
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

I wish. Am out at dusk & beyond every single day doing evening horse chores. Skies here are empty.
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applestar
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Today was full of "encounters"

I didn't have the iPad with me for the first one -- I was clearing some weeds to "paper and mulch" and noticed a green approx. 3" praying mantis on the grass just outside the bed. Thinking I disturbed it while randomly weeding, I did a quick check to make sure it had all of its legs and was unharmed -- it was. Then I thanked it for the service, and promptly forgot about it while I finished weeding and papering, then dumped a bag of mulch. At least it was out of the way.

I had just finished casually spreading the mulch around to hide the paper when I noticed a long bright/frosty green leg sticking out of the dark brown mulch and frantically waving :shock: .

I realiy had no idea what it was, but I scooped and loosened the mulch... And out tumbled that little praying mantis! Quick check to verify the number of legs again (I do this because most of the time, I seem to manage to mangle a leg or two) -- legs were intact but the abdomen seemed bit flattened and slightly kinked. But it was moving OK so I think it got bent a little by the mulch being piled on top of it. Hopefully it will straighten out....
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applestar
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

Next I saw THIS among the blackberry canes and an arch trellis with runner beans -- a huge bug? What IS it? Then realized it was a cicada pupa...
image.jpg
...And on closer examination saw that the back was split and it was empty.


i was beginning to wonder how I missed seeing it before, when a I noticed the cicada about 6 inches above the shell. Hah! It had just emerged and was drying its wings. :D
image.jpg
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GardeningCook
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

While unloading hay bales yesterday afternoon (SO much fun in the heat & humidity - lol!), I did get to enjoy spotting a beautiful Yellow Warbler insect-hunting around a Choke Cherry. One of the few easily-identifiable warblers around here. :)
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MichaelC
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Re: Backyard bird and butterfly (and dragonfly too) watching

We've got lots of bees and birds here. I put up a new feeder in the backyard this year, and we're getting lots of visitors. Unfortunately, a trio of scrub jays seem to be hogging it. Many hummingbirds come by at various times of day, visiting both the huge agapanthas in the front yard and their feeder.

I planted a large patch in my front yard with a "pollinator" mix this spring. It's produced a lot of beautiful flowers, many alyssum and poppy flowers among many others. This patch is very close to the agapanthas. To my chagrin, I don't think I've seen a single pollinator at this patch. The bees prefer the clover that co-mingles with the grass, and the hummers prefer the agapantha. Go figure.

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

The cicada's are starting to harmonize around here. I really hope this does not mean the true hot weather is on it's way. Haven't heard one Katydid this year, and have not seen one Mud Dauber as yet this year either. Butterfly's are non-existent as well. hmmm

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

No Cicadas here yet, but I am hearing Katydids.
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