Just the back yard!? Nah, I want the front and side yards landscaped in natives too.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Swallows Return

The first time I noticed the swallows swooping at insects in the backyard, I missed my chance to film them. However, I did get a chance to film the dragonflies that came that same night.

The other day, my partner told me that the dragonflies had returned. Sure enough they had, but with them came the swallows, too. This time I was able to get it on tape. They move so quickly, the filming was pretty hit or miss. At times, I'd look up with the naked eye and try to determine if they were barn swallows or tree swallows. The barn swallows have a forked tail. At one point I thought I caught a brief glimpse of a forked tail as one darted high above me. Later, I thought I saw the tail of the tree swallow. I was hoping to get at least one clear freeze-frame on the video...After going through the tape and editing it together to try to recreate what I was seeing, I did freeze one blurred image that did seem to have the forked tail. I'd love to attract barn swallows to actually nest in our yard on the shelves I provided. I think they are attractive, cool birds. Time will tell, but at least they seem to be visiting the yard...although I can't get a good look at their beautiful colors of blue, buff, and rust.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Flitting and Swooping

The other day I went back outside after working on the back patio. As I so often do, I study what I got done that day, plan for other projects, and just enjoy the peaceful country setting. I was very pleased to see about five swallows swooping around in the early evening sky. They darted around catching insects on the wing. As fast as they were moving, I couldn't tell if they were the family of tree swallows or barn swallows from the nearby farm. Either would make me happy.

Hoping to catch them on tape, I ran inside for the video camera. Unfortunately the lens fogged up due to bringing it out of an air conditioned house into the heat and humid outside. They left before the condensation cleared up.

In short time later I went back out to sit on the back stoop. Again, I saw a lot of flitting around and swooping. I grabbed the camcorder again. Just in time to see the swallow fly off...but still there was a lot of activity. Quickly, I realized that about half a dozen dragonflies were darting this way and that so fast that I couldn't even see what color they were. It was amazing to watch, and luckily, I got this on tape. Editing together the few I captured on tape, I know have a video clip that gives an idea of what I witnessed.

Anticipation: The Wait is Over

For the first several days that Ichecked out my butterfly weeds, I saw no butterflies and little activity. Maybe I was just there at the wrong time or didn't stay long enough, but probably it just took the butterflies a while to find it. I only have three plants of the five I put in--plus the one I just added near the house this spring (which is finally in the ground). I have a few that came up from seed and plan to collect and plant more seeds this fall. I'd love this plant clumped and dotted throughout our field.

It is so gratifying to see this beautiful flower being utilized...and polinated by a myriad of insects.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Special Moments

For the past two days, I've been moving a lot of rocks, shoveling sand, and digging up plants and planting them elsewhere. These rocks are not for the streambed and pond that I'm planning, instead they are bluestone slabs that I'm moving from the front to extend the stone path by the back door into a stone patio. This is an old house that needs a LOT of work--but those stories and pics are for another blog--LOL...who knows, maybe I'll make one about the renovations, but don't hold your breath.

Anyway, after a working out back for hours on end--and loving it--I finally forced myself to go inside as it was beginning to get dark. As I often do, I went back out to look at what I'd accomplished. I sat down on the back stoop and, that movement caught my eye. I'm not sure why but my first thought was a snake. As my eyes zoned in on the movement, I saw a toad scrambling up the 45 degree slope of a rock leaned up against the sand pile. It was such a cool thing to witness as he finally made it to the top. That is when he caught sight of me and froze. I ran in to get the camera and he was still there frozen in place. I guess he missed his chance to hide. So, I was able to get a few shots, and thanks to adjusting the brightness and contrast, I have some half decent shots.

I enjoy seeing glimpses of the lives of animals in our yard. That is part of the joy of native gardening

Recognizing Mom and Dad

I've been posting (sporadically) about our bluebird babies. Rarely have I taken the time to get some shots of their mom and dad. Today, I tried to get another shot of the babies developing. It is cramped quarters and I can't see what I'm snapping with my cell phone (which fits inside). At least the shot I got shows the feathers developing.

When I was done I used my other camera to try to capture the parents. The father bird quickly went to see that his babies were okay after my intrusion. I really lucked out and got one picture of both mom and dad on the birdbox--I didn't even know that until I uploaded the pictures to my computer. Unfortunately, I live by a fairly main road, hence the interesting background in the one shot.

I'd also, like to take this time to recognize my own mom and dad in raising me with a love and respect of nature.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Bluebird's Second Brood

Three of the four bluebird eggs have hatched! ~smile~