July 31, 2012

Spicebush Swallowtail

Saw this beauty today.

Spicebush Swallowtail

Goldfinch on Sunflower

The beautiful large sunflower has faded and its seeds have ripened. The goldfinches have been plucking the seeds out daily now. Being surrounded by tomato plants, I could not see the action from the windows of the house, so cut the sunflower and hung it on the shed. This I can see from the kitchen, dining room and bedroom windows. Once I spotted the goldfinch, I had to go outside to take its picture!

July 17, 2012

A Hot Summer Day Filled with Wildlife Activity

The front and back porches are too hot to sit on right now and I want to be outside while reading and taking notes.  The temperature is 90 + or - a degree or two. I moved one of the cushiony chairs and side tables from the back porch out to a shady spot on the grass overlooking the hummingbird feeder, butterfly bush and perennial garden.  Turning my head to the right, I can glance out over the meadow and see the pond. A slight turn to the left and I can see what is going on at the bird feeders.

There is a lovely breeze that cools the skin and sends the luscious fragrances of lily, buddleia and greenery past my nostrils.  Yellow tiger swallowtails, a black swallowtail, monarchs, cabbage whites, sulphurs, azures, and a variety of bees and wasps, including the large blue ones, are flying about and feeding on the nectar of the catmints, butterfly weed, buddleia, cosmos and other flowers in the garden, as well as on the white clover blossoms in the lawn.

The neighborhood is quiet except for the passing cars. No lawn mowers or weed wackers today. No radios or people swimming and shouting in the pool across the street or the houses behind the woods.  No children shouting, no dogs barking.  Quite nice for meditating and watching the butterflies silently flit about.

I borrowed some books from the library yesterday that I hope will help to identify all of the varieties of pollinators I encounter in the garden and also learn which host plants are needed to keep them around year after year.

The hummingbird just came to the feeder.  This is the closest I've been able to see it. I hope she comes back and isn't startled by movement from me. I'd like to put the binoculars up to my eyes to get an even closer look, but that may frighten her away.

July 3, 2012

Blue Dasher

Blue Dasher

Spied this beauty a few minutes ago.

Rose Breasted Grosbeak

I saw this Rose Breasted Grosbeak at the bird feeder this morning around 6:40 a.m. This is the first time I have seen a real one. Yesterday I went outside with binoculars to get a closer look at what I thought was a new sparrow to the garden. I had noticed white stripes along either the side of the head. I then looked in my Birds of Connecticut book, but could not identify it. I did see a photo of a female rose breasted grosbeak that looked similar, but without seeing them here before, was reluctant to identify it as such. Spotting the male this morning does confirm the bird I saw yesterday. Though it could also have been a juvenile grosbeak. This is probably the case because it was the size of a sparrow with a larger-than-sparrow-sized beak.

July 2, 2012

So Much Living and Activity Going On in My Big Backyard

I've been spending quite a lot of time outside gardening, weeding, watering, filling bird and hummingbird feeders, birdbaths, and walking, roaming and sitting. It is amazing what you will see when you are outside, quiet and observant.  Today I discovered that it is a chipmunk who made a hole in the hill behind the perennial garden. I saw him go up the hill to feast on fallen seeds from the bird feeder. When I got too close (he did let me get quite close!), he scurried down to the hole and sat very still in the opening, hoping I wouldn't notice him I suppose! Again when I got too close, he turned and went inside.

The Monarch butterflies are enjoying the butterfly weed flowers. They stay put on them sucking out the nectar with their proboscis. Again, I was able to get quite close to observe this. Cabbage butterflies, sulfurs, blue azures, commas, red admirals and painted ladies all can be seen flying around.

Then, while picking blueberries, a mass of ants came from under the fence, across the grass and seemed to be heading to the exact spot I was at! I moved out of the way. They continued on their way, like a river swimming through the grass, up the raised bed, across it, down the other side and kept going! I went back to picking the blueberries, then looked for them when I was done, but could not locate them. They moved quickly! I have never seen that before!!

Again I saw the hummingbird at the feeder. As always, the house finches, maybe purple finches, assorted sparrows, cardinals, titmice, chickadees, hairy and downy woodpeckers, nuthatches, mourning doves, bluejays and grackles took turns at the different feeders and the wrens,sparrows and catbirds foraged the plants for insects.

I really must bring my camera with me every time I go outside.
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