Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Brief Season of Liatris Spicata

For a few weeks the lavender colored blooms of Liatris spicata attracted all sorts of insects to my back yard garden.  Butterflies and bees particularly enjoyed it.  I grew these plants from corms then transplanted them to my garden during early spring.  They grew rapidly and required little care. Little did I know that the field across the road would be full of Liatris spicata blooms!  I may just dig some of those plants up and bring them to my garden next year.  

Thank you for stopping by!  I hope your summer is going well. 
It's been a busy, busy one for me- I need some time off to catch my breath!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Lady & The Skippers

The local butterflies love Lantana.  One species or another flutters around the blooms consistently throughout the day.   If I were a butterfly, I'd probably like the bright, colorful blooms too.  

The American Lady allowed me to get fairly close while I photographed her.  What a beauty she is!  I believe the small yellow and black butterflies are Fiery Skippers.  I have difficulty with identifying the Skippers- there's so many of them that look closely similar.  

I hope you've had a good week so far- thanks for dropping in!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Morning Mourning Doves

A pair of Mourning Doves foraged for seeds in our back yard a few mornings ago...

I love Mourning Doves.  I love the bluish circle around their eyes 
and the hint of blue-gray in their feathers.  

Wishing you all a beautiful morning, and a great week!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Titmice Pair

I usually hear the titmice before I see them.  Their unique, squeaky little voices give them away.  I just love to hear and see them at the feeders.  It's not easy to capture good photos of them because they'll appear for only long enough to grab a seed or nut then poof!- gone, just like that.

Most often they'll sit on a nearby branch in the tree where they'll crack open the sunflower seed or break the nut into smaller pieces to eat.  But occasionally, one will stay on the ledge of the bird feeder and eat.  I'll watch that little head bob up and down as the tit cracks open the seed.  Just precious!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  I'm off this weekend, but not really off.  There's the usual work around home to catch up with- laundry, general house cleaning, yard work.  I'd get it done much quicker if I wasn't distracted by all the birds and butterflies in my back yard ;)

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Still as a Stone

He caught me watching him and became still as a stone.  For several minutes he stayed in the same spot and made occasional, cautious movements as he intently watched my movements. Did he think that by staying so quiet and still I wouldn't see him?  It's good for him that I'm harmless- I only wanted to "shoot" him in action.  

I enjoy watching these little squirrel critters in my back yard, or anywhere else for that matter.   I know plenty of folks who detest squirrels because of the property damage they've caused to their homes.  I can understand that, I'd be angry too.  So far these have kept their distance from our home and porches.  Hopefully, it will remain that way.

Below is another one of our squirrel groupies.  I threw this one in today's post because I think he (or she) is cute.  

Have a great day everyone!  Thank you for stopping in!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Purple Martins

While visiting my Dad a couple weeks ago, he and I watched the Purple Martins from his front porch. This martin house and gourds were put up several years ago by my aunt and they're really showing their age.  However, the martins don't mind at all- they've used these temporary homes over and over again.  

My aunt said the birds begin arriving in February and stay through late June or early July.  The martin pairs will usually produce one to two broods during their stay.  She has two martin houses and two sets of gourds and most all the cavities are filled with nestlings during May and early June.  I was entertained by the adults as they captured insects in mid-air- their aerial acrobatics are quite amazing. 

It was a cloudy day and the houses & gourds are pretty high in the air, so my photos aren't clear. Most of the martins are gone now.  I'll have to plan on photographing them again next year, on a clearer day of course.  

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

"News Bee"

As I was sitting on my back porch the other day, a large flying insect landed on the chair next to me. I had never seen one like this one- brightly colored in stripes of yellow, black and brown.  It reminded me of a hornet or some kind of yellow jacket.  I thought to myself that this one could probably cause a deeply painful sting.  

Of course, I had to know what kind of insect I was dealing with here.  Come to find out, it's neither a hornet or a yellow jacket.  Rather, it's a fly.  That's right- a fly, a flower fly in the family Syrphidae. This particular species is known as Milesia virginiensis.  In American folklore and superstition, it's called the “News Bee"- for it will sometimes hover in front of a person, as if it were “giving them the news.”  It can be easily mistaken for a European hornet or queen yellowjacket.

I found an interesting and informative blog post about this hover fly at Bug Eric's site.  I was relieved to find out that this colorful insect is basically harmless to humans.  

One more tidbit of info: Milesia virginiensis' image was used on the 33 cent US postage stamp in 1999.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Little Lizards

A small lizard appeared from the shadows of a milkweed plant 
and creeped along one of the long leaves as if he were checking things out-
"Things look pretty quiet out here right now".  After a few moments, he was gone.

Seconds later, another lizard was seen easing along the edges of a leaf.
Only this one was smaller- a wee baby lizard.  So tiny and defenseless, 
so vulnerable to predators that are everywhere around him.

So new to the lessons of survival in this great big world around him.  
I hope he's a quick learner.