LIcenter
Senior Member
Posts: 269
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2014 2:23 pm
Location: Long Island, NY Zone 7a/6b-ish

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

Interesting Rairdog, can't say as I've ever seen the queen before.

Rairdog
Green Thumb
Posts: 373
Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2014 8:46 pm
Location: Noblesville, IN Zone 5

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

LIcenter wrote:Interesting Rairdog, can't say as I've ever seen the queen before.

You will know when you see her by her longer golden furry abdomen compared to a male. She comes out often but I only see them a couple times a year. She is also much more graceful in her pollen collecting technique. The males are jumpy and fast and she is smooth.

Here is another interesting bee. The leaf cutter. They are the only ones that collect pollen on their belly instead of hind legs as far as I know.

Image

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27726
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

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

When I'm out in the garden, I wear my jeans with suspenders. I have bunch of stuff in my pockets weighing them down, and over the course of the season, I lose weight, so I need something to let me garden without stopping to pull my pants up and tuck my shirt in every 5 minutes. :>

Yesterday, I was busy trying to take a picture of something and heard something chittering right behind me. I turned around, and there was a hummingbird hovering in mid-air just at my head-height. :D

We stared at each other, me completely forgetting about the iPad I had been aiming at the squash. As the hummer angled from side to side, I realized that it's throat that looked completely white -- female I had thought -- had a tiny patch of iridescent red gorget :-() ...it was a juvenile male just starting to grow adult feathers.

-- the reason
I explained about my suspenders at the beginning is I finally realized he had been attracted to my RED SUSPENDERS. :lol:
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.

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27726
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

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

There was heavy fog this morning, which meant spider webs were spectacular :D
image.jpg
Also, I think there must have been some kind of hatching event going on in my front yard, though I wasn't able to find out what -- Around noon, there were SEVEN huge dragonflies flying sweeps all over the airspace above the front yard and the house, occasionally venturing above the side yards, and rarely above the back yard. Normally, there might be two flying at a time in a given area.
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.

User avatar
pinksand
Greener Thumb
Posts: 870
Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2012 6:13 am
Location: Columbia, MD

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

This saddleback caterpillar stung me multiple times before I finally found him hiding under an azalea leaf. He's a pretty cool looking guy but it looks like he turns into a pretty boring looking moth :(
Image

I'm also seeing tons of the bumblebee moth caterpillars on my honeysuckle now that I've had them IDed on the forum :)

Oh and also so many hummingbirds!!! They love the cardinal climber around my mailbox and have just been zipping around busily visiting this flower and that flower. They also seem interested in my dog... who's gray. Fortunately he just watches them and doesn't try to eat or chase them. I love them so much!
USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32
"The earth laughs in flowers" -Ralph Waldo Emerson

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27726
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

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

Oh, Those saddleback caterpillars are SO sneaky :evil: At first it just feels like a scratch or a pinch, then it starts to hurt and intensify like a burning pain. Did you use plantain leaf juice on it?

The bumblebee moth caterpillar is really cool. They turn from pale green to pinkish color as they mature. And the adult moths are cute.
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.

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27726
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

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

These are peppers I harvested today. Yeah the huge Chocolate Cake sweet pepper is impressive, but that's not what I want to show you.... See the orange pepper? Notice the tiny little teeth marks?

I spotted that pepper on the mulch maybe several inches behind the plant. I hurried to it thinking some critter got to it, but these tiny marks were the only damage.

...and no wonder! This is my (not quite right for) Scotch Bonnet. Yeah, the shape might be wrong but it's got the heat, and it has juicy thicker walks. So you can just imagine what might have happened. :twisted: :lol:
Attachments
image.jpg
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.

LIcenter
Senior Member
Posts: 269
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2014 2:23 pm
Location: Long Island, NY Zone 7a/6b-ish

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

As of this past Saturday I had never seen, nor heard of a Saddleback cat til I spotted this one zipping along at the speed of .00001 mph on my spa cover. :)
Notice the Braconidae on it's back? My guess is this guys life will be ending rather shortly.

Image

User avatar
pinksand
Greener Thumb
Posts: 870
Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2012 6:13 am
Location: Columbia, MD

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

applestar wrote:Oh, Those saddleback caterpillars are SO sneaky :evil: At first it just feels like a scratch or a pinch, then it starts to hurt and intensify like a burning pain. Did you use plantain leaf juice on it?

The bumblebee moth caterpillar is really cool. They turn from pale green to pinkish color as they mature. And the adult moths are cute.
Ah, that's exactly what it felt like! I also read it can cause nausea, but I didn't experience that. I didn't put plantain on it... I always use plantain for bee stings so I feel silly for not thinking of it for a cat sting. I even keep a little plantain patch just for that purpose lol. Oh well!

I'd never heard of saddlebacks before but they were super easy to search for online having such a distinct appearance. Although we had a painful encounter, I thought he was a pretty cool looking little alien creature.
USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32
"The earth laughs in flowers" -Ralph Waldo Emerson

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27726
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

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

I think I posted about one of these before -- there was some kind of insect hatching event in my garden again. A little after 11 AM, I noticed there were a huge number of swallows zooming and swooping over my house and garden. They were flying overhead near roof level and just a little above all over the back yard and front yard.

I pointed my iPad at the sky and took videos and as I was doing that, realized there were not only swallows but dragonflies too.

Since I was looking up and recording, it became more and more obvious that they were *really* only flying over my garden -- making sharp turns to come back and swoop through over and over again. I walked to the front yard/sidewalk to one end of the property, turned and recorded over my house, to the front, then turned around slowly recording the neighborhood, then to the other end, there was no doubt.

As I walked, I looked everywhere, on the ground, in the air, and including the house siding just in case it was something nasty, but I couldn't see what they were so excitedly feeding on.

I see this kind of localized swarming over my garden at least a couple of times during the summer. I remember seeing all the little black ant queens and drones taking off at once from their ant colony hills one time (they seem to do this together -- out of all of the anthills in the garden), and another time, something else that I couldn't identify. So maybe one of those? But I guess I missed the initial takeoff at ground level today, and they were all already a-wing by the time the birds and dragonflies were feeding.

It's really kind off odd to see the aerial activity from all different directions around the property and at the surrounding neighborhood, and realize it's just going on here. (But it also makes me happy to feel like this is an affirmation that my efforts to create a biodiverse wildlife habitat in my relatively tiny postage stamp of a garden are effective.) And I'm glad I took the videos because in a matter of 1/2 hr or so that I was looking up at the sky, both the birds and dragonflies started to disperse, and in an hour they were gone.

The videos I took today were pretty low quality, but, someday, if I ever learn to edit and splice these videos together into something presentable and learn how to post it in a way that can be shared, I will.

Here are a couple of stills extracted from the videos (tap/click to enlarge):
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg (21.12 KiB) Viewed 2221 times
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.

User avatar
Beverly
Full Member
Posts: 25
Joined: Thu Aug 20, 2015 4:02 pm
Location: Colima, Mexico (USDA Zone 11)

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

Hum...swallows and dragonflies...do you suppose they could be eating mosquitoes? as well as the ants? I sure would appreciate if you would send them over to my house after they have finished with your garden Beautiful blue sky with puffy white clouds...looks just like my sky today :-D

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27726
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

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

If they were eating mosquitoes, too that would be a bonus! Do you suppose if there was an expanding cloud of flying insects (I'm assuming there was judging by the way the swallows' and drangonflies' flying pattern altered over time, even though I couldn't see any) they might have caused other flying insects in the area to fly up along with them?

I forgot to mention that shortly before I saw this, while I was washing some apples on the patio, a large shadow blocked the sun, and I looked up to realize there was a Monarch butterfly flying erratically in the air. I followed it and noted that it was a freshly eclosed male butterfly with a slashed wing. I suspect it had flown up there only to be nearly caught by one of the swallows....
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.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

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

Went out on the deck this AM and there was this guy, just sitting on a cap of a deck post. It was still a bit chilly for him I think, so he just sat there and posed for me.
IMG_0438.JPG
IMG_0438.JPG (25.46 KiB) Viewed 2141 times
IMG_0435.JPG
IMG_0435.JPG (32.75 KiB) Viewed 2141 times
He is 4" long from head to rear end and about 6" from head to the end of extended front legs.

It is interesting to me that we have hummingbirds here, a number of butterflies, a ton of squash bugs ( :( ), and now this guy. There are no gardens around. I don't know why, but no one on my little street that I can tell, has hardly anything planted except grass and some trees. We put up a feeder for the hummingbirds after we started seeing them, and are still having lots of activity.

Glad to see the preying mantis, since it is one of the things that will eat the squash bugs.
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

User avatar
tomf
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3234
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 12:15 pm
Location: Oregon

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

This weeks spotting include, Piebald deer, normal deer, grouse, Pleated Woodpeckers, and an assortment of birds and critters.
The things I do are an evolution and I am always learning. My way is not the only way of doing things, and I may and will change the way I do things as I learn better ways. So any advice that I give is in that spirit.

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27726
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

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

This robin's nest has been empty for a while and I think it won't be long before the last of them will migrate south. In the meantime, the Arrowwood Viburnum leaves are changing color, and the berries will be available for the winter birds:
image.jpg
image.jpg (48.61 KiB) Viewed 2399 times
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.

HoneyBerry
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1125
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 5:10 pm
Location: Zone 8A Western Washington State

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

You are lucky to have robins. I used to have them but they don't come around anymore. My yard is all natural and full of worms.
ISFP "The Artist"

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27726
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

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

Do they specifically not come to *your* garden or have they stopped migrating to your area entirely?

Migrating robins passing through go crazy over birdbaths and water features. When I had a little waterfall and a tiny stream going a couple of years ago (had to be abandoned due to defective design on my part), robins occupied every level of the waterfall and all along the stream. I'm definitely going to try setting one up again when I manage to finish my pond project.

...

Here are a few more pictures I took today (well, yesterday)
image.jpg
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.

HoneyBerry
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1125
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 5:10 pm
Location: Zone 8A Western Washington State

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

I don't know. Too much development probably. Things have changed alot over the years. I'm sure it's some sort of environmental thing. I saw a tree full of robins not too far away - about 6 miles away - so they are around. It's more woodsy there so they probably like that better. The tree had orange berries. It was January so they were robins that stuck it out through the winter, didn't migrate. The tree was packed full of robins. Seeing so many robins at once like that was a once in a lifetime experience.
ISFP "The Artist"

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27726
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

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

Snowbirds (Junco) are here, mingling with remaining/migrating through robins at the various birdbath stations in the garden -- changing of the guard as it were.

More fall leaf photos (actually from the front yard :wink: )
image.jpg
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.

User avatar
digitS'
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3507
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:10 pm
Location: ID/Wa! border

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

I have not seen a robin in several weeks.

However, the juncos arrived only a few days ago :). At first, the residence song sparrows seemed all aflutter, trying to keep up with the juncos.

Now, they are going their separate ways.

Steve
Make everything as simple as possible but not simpler. ~ Albert Einstein

LIcenter
Senior Member
Posts: 269
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2014 2:23 pm
Location: Long Island, NY Zone 7a/6b-ish

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

According to a couple of bird sights I'm on, we have two types of seasonal robins here. One will show up in the spring, and stay for the summer for breeding. They will then leave in the early fall, and the winter robin will take it's place living mainly on berries in the area. I'm seeing a handful now, but couldn't tell you which one it is, as we are still very mild here weather wise.

Return to “Wildlife - Gardening with Local Critters in Mind”