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

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Good Day

Today was a good day for encountering and capturing (in pictures) wildlife in the yard.

Goldfinch. These were taken through a window.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Saturday, July 23, 2011


It seems only four chicks, not five. One egg did look discolored to me, I wonder if it never hatched.

Cute little chicks, aren't they?

I might as well take this time to state that the tree swallows have not been seen at the box for a long time now, the eggs never hatched. I was told from a wise member of Wildlife Gardeners that it is likely that something happened to the female as it is not likely they'd abandon a nest.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Finally Five

I can't actually see all five, but I believe they've all hatched and are just on top of each other.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Another Hatchling

A third bluebird has hatched. :)

A Smattering of Butterflies

I've been meaning to post on this (and so many other things): I've noticed, this year, a huge lack of butterflies. It is not only me, but other members of Wildlife Gardeners have mentioned it as well.

Maybe the tide is starting to turn. Today I saw a tiger swallowtail and what may have been a red admiral. The other day I spotted what looked to be a monarch (finally), but it may have been a viceroy--it fluttered by too quickly for me to attempt an ID.

This time last year, our butterfly weed was full of quite a variety of species. That is one of the main purposes for this blog, for me to be able to look back from year to year and compare what we have and when.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Welcome to the World

Introducing the two newest members of the bluebird family:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Perching and Powerlines

I have to say that I'm not fond of powerlines and telephone poles, but the birds seem to like them. Honestly, I barely notice them any more unless I get a photo opportunity when I see birds perched on them.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Quaking Aspen Supporting Life

Quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) has long been a favorite of mine. Today, while taking photos, spotted a tiny caterpillar on one leaf, then another of the same species on another. Just last week, I had taken pictures of the larvae of a species of moth. And just today, I discovered that the leaf miners that I sometimes spot on (or should I say in) some of the aspen leaves are actually the larvae of a tiny moth.

I had no idea, that one of my favorite trees supported so much life. Aside from providing food for the larvae, the larvae in turn all too often become food for baby birds.

In the few minutes I was observing the one aspen, I was able to take pictures of all three species. Had the tree not been so small and I hadn't been looking, I'd not have seen the life this tree supports. Since I was a child, I've enjoyed the beauty of this tree...thanks in large part to my mother and father pointing out how much they loved to see the leaves quake in the slightest breeze. In all of this time, I've never seen these hidden treasures...they apparently do not do much noticeable damage so one can have one's tree and let them eat it too! :)

The Little Guy is Growing Up

After checking out a link from WildlifeGardeners to a buttefly identification site, I was reminded to check on the spicebush swallowtail caterpillar.

He looks like he is now in the fourth instar and has changed color with the even more obvious false eye spots. :) How cool that it has survived and stayed hidden so well, in the exact same spot where I found him before.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Little Detective Work

After another trek out to the butterfly weed with nary a butterfly to be seen...and no obvious signs of monarch caterpillars munching away, I eventually decided to check out one of the spicebushes closest to the house. There I found evidence that something had been munching away at the leaves. Moreover, I found a leaf or two folded over. After gently prying one or two open, I took a blurry picture or two of whatever was inside--later, on closer inspection of the photos, they seem to be tiny spiders...not the caterpillars I was hoping for. However, that was no huge disappointment being that I'd already spotted what I was looking for before I went in to upload the pictures.

In the fold of one larger leaf, I found what I'm assuming is a spicebush butterfly larva. I'll check with the people on WildlifeGardners to see if I'm right.

~smile~ This helps with the disappointment of not seeing any butterflies or monarch larvae yet this year. Obviously, a butterfly had to be in the yard to lay eggs, or I'd not have this cool-looking caterpillar to post about.


Eastern red columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) seedpods.