Monday, August 03, 2015

Lady Butterfly in my Garden

I have had no luck this summer of seeing a Monarch butterfly or a Viceroy.  all I seem to see everywhere are Great-spangled Fritillaries in abundance!

I even hang out in two Milkweed patches almost daily!
Here's a sad story.  One day in July I was in a milkweed patch looking for butterflies and caterpillars. and then I heard a train coming. While hurrying too see the train and take pictures, I brushed against a few milkweed plants.  Later that day ,while in my bedroom in my bare feet I stepped on something soft and squish, and I wondered what my cat may have left behind?  I wiped it up with a tissue and saw to my incredulous surprise, it was a monarch butterfly caterpillar!!!!. It must have attached itself to my clothing while I was in the milkweed patch!That was my only glimpse of a monarch caterpillar this year! The caterpillar didn't survive my stepping on it! I haven't seen a monarch caterpillar since, and  to think that one had been in my own bedroom even!!!

But this post is not about Monarchs, rather it is about the beautiful American Lady butterfly I found feeding on yellow cone flowers in my back yard garden yesterday! This was the first Lady species I have seen this summer.  I think they are very attractive butterflies!

The two eyespots on the lower hind wing identify this Lady as an American Lady and these eye spotsaren't real eyes, only camoflague to frighten away predators from attacking and destroying this lady

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Heron

I have only seen one groat blue heron fairly close so far this summer.  this heron had a lot of white on its head!... does the white indicate age? I have looked for this heron again but have failed to get another good view of it.

The heron had a lot of white on its head
                                           bye-bye heron!
I am linking today to viewing nature with Eileen at Saturday Critters at: http://viewingnaturewitheileen.blogspot.ca/
Have a wonderful day everyone.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Canada geese


Update: I haven't been posting much recently.  We have had visitors and my camera has mostly been taking pictures of grandchildren.  I have seen very few birds this month, just a few Chipping sparrows and Goldfinch at my feeders.  I have taken only one picture of a Great Blue Heron, the only close heron sighting I have seen and recently I have seen a few Canada Geese, however I missed the cute fuzzy yellow stage and now the young ones look to be almost in the teenage stage.  The best way to pick out the families is to see the groupings swim over the pond with an adult at each end of the swimming file.
One thing I have noticed recently was behavior of Canada Geese that I had not observed before.  I watched the adult geese stretching their long necks out before them over the water.  I wondered if this was a technique for searching for and finding food.  Here are a couple of pictures of their long necked behavior.

                             
  All for now.  This morning I think I will go searching for this group of geese again and maybe if I'm lucky I will see the Great Blue Heron again!  I hope so.

Monday, June 22, 2015

An Unwanted Nighttime Visitor, a Raccoon..

It was around 10 p.m. one evening last week and my husband grabbed my camera which was nearby, and he took pictures out  of our window in the evening darkness when he heard sounds outside in Bird Alley..

With the help of a good photo editing site I was able to lighten them all somewhat. What he had heard outside the window was a hungry Raccoon in Bird Alley.
  It has reached the bird feeder by standing on one of our pergola railings.
It was helping itself to the finch seed in one of our feeders.
 
All finished with that feeder for now.
 
Back on the ground, looking around.
It found a few seeds which had dropped onto the grass.
It had such a beautiful tail!
My husband had opened our back porch door and yelled at it and it had ran to the bower at the back of our backyard.  Bye, bye Raccoon. What a nuisance you are! And don't come back!
Thanks for the great pictures DAVID!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Clearwing Hummingbird Moth

The 'clearwing' significance of its name is emphasized in these photos of a Clearwing Hummingbird Moth   that was seen feeding on a yellow Devil's Paintbrush.  The Transparency of the Moth's wings allowed the  beautiful yellow of this wildflower to show through as you can see by the pictures included below.

 I think this little moth is delightful and such a pleasure to look at!

Have a wonderful rainy, Father's Day everyone!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Snapping Turtle Laying Her Eggs


June is snapping turtle egg laying season in my community.  Ever since having discovered a snapping turtle laying eggs in June 2001, we have become aware of this annual happening and every June we are on the lookout for this happening. Sometimes I find turtles  like I did earlier this week when I was standing on an observation deck overlooking the river and I saw two snapping turtles in the water of a pond below. They looked like they were resting., perhaps they had already laid their eggs.  When the turtles come out of the river they have a long steep climb up the river bank to find their nesting areas.  They use the same area to dig the nest  for their egg laying year after year!
               

above, a Snapping Turtle in the pond below with its head above the water surface.


above, the second Snapping Turtle I saw in the pond below.

 
 On Thursday I decided to check out a small sandy strip along the railroad tracks where these huge turtles lay their eggs every year, and WoW!  luck of all luck, there was a turtle laying her eggs.  She had already dug her nest and her body was angled at an incline. and although I did not see any actual eggs , she was in the process of laying them.  It looked like serious business as she progressed.  Mosquitoes were biting and I did not stay around until the turtle completed her job.  Experience from observations of other years told me that when she completed this job she would cover her eggs with sand and then she would return downhill to the river.
 A few pictures of this sighting below.

 
The turtle's body in an incline position as she lays her eggs.
In about three months time, if all goes well and no scavengers have  unearthed and eaten the eggs, babies turtles will dig themselves out of the nest to the surface. I have seen this happening twice  before and the baby turtles orient themselves to face the river and hurry over the steep embankment until they jump into the river.  This year we have a family of foxes in the area adjacent to this nest of eggs so chances are that the eggs may be discovered soon and destroyed.  Such are the hazards and dangers of nature.
 
I am liinking today to Eileen's Saturday Critters which can be found at:http://viewingnaturewitheileen.blogspot.ca/
Have a wonderful weekend everyone!
 
I am including below three  pictures of hatching baby turtles leaving their nest. These pictures are from the first year we had seen a turtle laying her eggs and I kept watch over the nest every day in hopes of seeing the small turtles emerge from their nest, and they did!!!!!  It was a wonderful, magical event!
                                                           "Hello World"