Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #4

claireplymouth z6b coastal MAJuly 16, 2012

This thread is intended to give people a place to post photos and/or talk about birds, critters, wildlife, fish, whatever - topics you might not want to start a whole thread on, but are still garden-related. You can see the range of possible topics in the previous threads:

All of the threads in the Birds and other mobile features in the garden series prior to 2012 are now stored in the New England Garden Forum Gallery. See the top of the main page to switch between Discussions and Gallery. For 2012, see Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #1, Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #2, and Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #3.

This morning I walked out to deal with the birds and I saw a mass of ants swarming on the bluestone pavers. I knew there were ants there because of small hills, but I've never seen anything like this. Yesterday I noticed a small swarm coming out of one on the holes between the pavers but nothing like this.

About 9AM there were two separate centers with some ants moving in between:

A few hours later they had coalesced into one long narrow swarm:

I couldn't see any obvious food source and there didn't seem to be a battle going on (although I'm not sure I'd recognize an ant battle if I saw one). No winged ants and no eggs being carried around like I saw when I disrupted an ant colony in my compost pile. I hope it doesn't mean the woodchuck is digging a subway tunnel under my bluestone path and uprooting the ants! Otherwise, I have no idea what's going on.

I don't mind the swarms but I wish they didn't do it in the path where I drag my hose. I reverted to using a watering can to refill the bird baths this morning, but the hose is much easier. I'm envisioning running the hose over the top of my garden cart to span the swarms if it doesn't rain soon and I need to water the garden again.

Claire

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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

OK, I checked again at noon time, and the swarms are all gone - only a few ants leisurely walking around. I haven't noticed a giant anteater in the yard, or heard a neighbor with a loud shopvac. No swarms flowing up the porch steps and into the kitchen. Where'd they go? At least I can use the hose again, but my curiosity is itching.

Claire (reminded to pull out some of the grass growing over the stones)

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 12:57PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Well, this thread is becoming more special day by day. Everything from a chipmunk hackin' up a furball, to a lonely snake looking for love, and now ants. Just when my poison ivy stopped itching, whammo! great pictures of ants.

Thank goodness for Bill's bunny and Molie's extraordinary heron! (Molie I'm coming to your house - you are the closest one with water!)

Claire, we've had an ant hill in the exact same spot in the middle of the back yard for the 37 years we've been here and every year around this time, one day they disperse themselves outward into the yard - have no idea why. Seems like one day their calendar says "MARCH" and they do, but it's always in my July. Maybe the queen is finally sick of them all and says 'get out!'.

The 2nd brood is getting there. Been through 30 lbs. of seeds in two weeks. I'll miss the crowd by the end of August. But, hummers are happy here - filling container every other day. A friend, in a more country setting than mine, is filling her two feeders twice a day. She has 8-10 hummers. Lots of open meadows around her.


I know most folks don't give a tinker's dam about sparrows, but I like everything. ('cept sn*kes... can barely type the word. Sigh! I'll never make a good Buddhist)

Jane

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 1:41PM
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molie(z6 CT)

Claire, I'm no entomologist but I can say with certainty ---- yep, those ants are swarming! I did a little research online and found out there's such a thing as "swarm intelligence" which causes all the ants in a colony to act as one for a single purpose. Don't know what their problem was, but obviously your ants solved their problem quickly.

Jane --- we love sparrows! They're the birds that nest on our deck so of course I'd never turn my nose up at a sparrow picture, and that one is fantastic. We also go through lots of seed and are regulars at Agway. But no hummingbirds here since early spring. Don't know why. Maybe the territory we live in ---- or the fact that not everyone around us has flower gardens --- or the wrong kinds.

Thank you, all, for your comments on the baby Heron. Now I make sure my camera is nearby and charged every time I head outside.

On a sadder note, here's some news from the terrible storm we had last night. At one point in the evening there was a thunderous bang and a bolt of lightning that lit the sky lit up like day. We were sure something nearby had been struck. Then today as we were driving down Woodmont Ave. in Milford, we noticed that all evidence of the osprey's nest was gone from the telephone pole! I checked online and several people in the area posted that the nest had been struck by lightning --- killing all the babies! Those who posted said that the power was out for several hours but felt that fact was insignificent compared to the loss of the neighborhood ospreys.

Wish it were not so.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 3:32PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Sad. Just plain sad, Molie.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 4:57PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Jane: I like the idea of an ant diaspora every year; sending the youngsters out into the world (reminds me of when I went off to NYC to see the world....). Now I need to figure out where the new colony is. I wonder if any of them come back home when they can't find a job/home.

Very nice sparrow feeding pic.

Molie: 'Swarm Intelligence' makes me think about the 'Wisdom of the Crowd' - sometimes a valuable tool, but sometimes just a route to getting squashed by a car. The swarm/crowd doesn't always see beyond its collective experience.

That's a horrible story about the lightening strike killing the ospreys.

Claire

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 5:00PM
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spedigrees z4VT

That's very sad about the ospreys.

Claire, your photo essay about the swarming ants' journey is fascinating. I wonder where they all went!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 6:09PM
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molie(z6 CT)

More information about our Ospreys from those who live nearby. Neighbors came out when the nest was hit and burst into flames. The distraught mother and father Osprey circled overhead as their two chicks, who could not yet fly, jumped out of the nest in panic. The people across the street buried the chicks in their yard. The Osprey parents survived but have not been seen since. I hope they return to the river.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 7:51PM
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pixie_lou

Claire - at least your ants are not carpenter ants.

Molie - that is so sad about the osprey nest. I'm happy to hear the parents survived. Being a mother who has lost an infant, I think I know how mama osprey feels. There has been research done that has shown that animal parents who raise their young actually grieve when they loose an offspring. I believe it.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 9:48AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Molie: I can't imagine how distressing that was, both for the osprey parents and for the neighbors below who had to watch without being able to help. It was kind of the neighbors to bury the chicks, a sign of respect for the birds. Those particular ospreys may return to the river but I can't imagine they would nest again in that location. Another pair without the memories might try.

Pixie_lou: I also believe that grieving for the loss of a child, such as your own tragic loss, is echoed in other animal species.

Blue Jays here give a sort of fluting call which seems to be a gathering in of the family. It usually stops after a few calls, probably because the one called has appeared. But sometimes, after I've seen evidence of a jay killed by a hawk, the fluting call will be repeated for a long time. One year I heard that call repeated many times daily for many months. The bird was hoarse but kept calling, even after the local flock seemed to have migrated. Birds are not little automatons that march only to the beat of instinct.

Claire

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 10:18AM
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spedigrees z4VT

On the same note, my barn swallow family is continuing to return every night to my porch. It is really unprecedented in my experience and all that I've read. Usually they only return to their nesting spot for a few days. I've lost track of the time, but I think it has been at least two weeks since the babies fledged. Yet every evening the two parents round up their 4 little ones and shepherd them all in a flurry of calls and circling flight back to roost on the ledge for the night. It's the cutest thing to see them all lined up there as darkness falls!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 12:34PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Barn swallows are darn cute. If you capture a picture of the family together, Sped, please post it.

We have an American Crow family that behaves similarly. This year they have 4 babies and despite the kids being nearly adult size, they're still at the baby 'caaw' stage and still flutter their big wings at the parents. Like your barn swallows, the crow family stays together as they walk the lawn in a line looking for grubs and such (they're very helpful) and for the past couple of weeks, after sunset, they come to forage under the feeder. It's a very tight family. Not a great picture - shot through window quickly.

The other day a Northern Goshawk swooped through and all hell broke loose. I could have almost felt sorry for the hawk, but I know that he lives across the street with his family and is doing what he has to. He doesn't grocery shop here often with those crows as sentinels. Article on crows below, if anyone is interested. I hope our daily feeding of meat scraps and such to the crows has contributed to more live and successful births. (I try to remember that every morning when the screech outside my window at 4:45a.m.)

Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: The Secret Lives of Crows --Cornell publication

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 2:06PM
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spedigrees z4VT

I just love the picture of your family of crows, Jane. We had a group of 3 crows for several years visiting our meadow regularly, walking about picking bugs out of the grass. I read somewhere that if a crow loses its mate it will sometimes join up with another mated pair, and I always wonder if that's how our threesome of crows came to be. This year, however, they are down to 2. Not sure if something happened to one or if this is a different pair. But apparently "my" crows nested somewhere else, because they never showed up here with their little ones.

I'd love to get a photo of my swallows all lined up, but they don't come back to roost until it is nearly dark, and I don't want to frighten them by using a flash.

But of course animals grieve for lost mates, friends, and offspring. We humans are in no way unique in this regard and many others. When my mare died (not the pony, but her pasturemate) my sister's mare (also one of the original herd) went into a deep depression, listless and barely eating. I'm convinced this is what caused her to develop the malignant cancer that killed her a short time later.

Pixie, I'm so very sorry to read of your own tragic loss.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 2:44PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

spedigrees: So the modern phenomenon of 'helicopter parenting' has spread to the barn swallow world...

Jane: A few years ago I heard a ferocious crow ruckus in the woods across the street - I don't remember whether it was nesting season or not. Lots of loud cawing, and I watched crows fly from all directions going towards the ruckus, cawing on the way. Some of the calls seemed to be from Fish Crows who had joined the action. From what I've seen here, the American Crows and Fish Crows mostly stay separate, but this emergency overruled the boundaries of the tribes. I don't know what the cause was, probably a hawk, but the crow response was overwhelming.

On a more social level, I once saw and heard a large flock of crows flying north and cawing loudly (it may have been spring). Four or five local crows flew up to them (lots of cawing) and then soon dropped back down (hi guys, good to see you, how's the family?).

Not a great photo, from 2009 (old camera) and at the other side of the yard, but this crow baby was flapping its wings and gaping at the adult crow that was glaring at me.

Claire

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 3:02PM
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molie(z6 CT)

Pixie: I was saddened to read of your connection to the mother Osprey. Like Speedigrees, I also believe that we human animals are not unique --- that animals connect through the language of emotions to each other and certainly to us. I will keep posting on our Oyster River Osprey family.

Jane: "The Secret Life of Crows" was very interesting. I didn't know that they stayed together as a family unit for so long and kind of "deed" territory to generations. I guess crows have earned a bad rap because of farming, but I happen to enjoy having these birds around. Their morning "caws" " to each other along the river is a kind of music to my ears.

This past year was my first full year of retirement and so I've been spending much more time on our deck watching the river life, especially the birds, and have been learning so much about our "neighbors." One group we'd like to see more of is the bat population. We hadn't seen any for a whole year but last night we watched about 5 or 6 of them soaring through the darkening sky --- mosquito hunting, we hope.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 9:29AM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Happy retirement, Molie! I've noticed a decline in the bat population here as well and figured we debased them when we had to take down six 80' tall white pines in 2008. I see a few at night, but not the colony-like numbers of years ago. White nose syndrome doesn't help. Speaking of white noses (or beaks), the crows spent some taxpayer money...article below.

Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: WFSB.com - Crows

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 10:37AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Jane: Loved the story of the crows and the bag of flour! Good thing it didn't happen at an airport...

Molie: Retirement is a great time to sit back and look at things you were too busy to notice before (just be careful about long, special breakfasts every morning - I gained 8 pounds before I stopped myself) I need to look for bats - they must be around here somewhere but they haven't been on my personal radar.

Claire

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 5:48PM
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molie(z6 CT)

Jane: cute article about the suspicious white powder and the crows. And, yes, it's sad about white nose syndrome of bats. Here along the tidal river where we live, mosquitos can be a real problem, so we've always been glad for the bats & their dietary habits. I'm absolutely worried about West Nile, which has been found in many areas of S. CT.

Funny, Claire, about those those long, special breakfasts my dh & I can now enjoy! I'm trying hard to be extra faithful in following the best diet plan I know --- "Move more and eat less."

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 2:45PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

It was hot, windy, and this chap was in perpetual motion. It was his black wings with two stripes of yellow that caught my attention and his size! Giant Swallowtail on buddleia. He was in perfect shape and beautiful.

Jane

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 12:59PM
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spedigrees z4VT

Nice photo of the giant swallowtail, Jane. I've never seen one "in the wild." He's a beauty!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 4:45PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Excellent photo, and the swallowtail is gorgeous - butterflies here move really fast and I usually don't see them long enough to identify them. Thanks for capturing it (photographically speaking).

Claire

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 6:02PM
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defrost49

So sad about the osprey family. Heck, I was saddened by the loss of a toad that got flattened in our driveway when we recently had a lot of company. But I wouldn't miss the brazen chipmunk who eats my tomatoes. Until the tomatoes ripen, he is living on other garden goodies. Suspect he was eat lupine seed pods yesterday. I've even found him on top of a huge borage plant.

I will enjoy reading more about crows. Thanks for posting the link. We have a family of 5 or 6. My husband noticed a little while ago that what appeared to be grown birds were still being fed by the parents. He loves the crows. I have mixed feelings because they chase of the hawk to comes by sometimes.

This year there is a brand new brood of wild turkey chicks. We thought the mom had lost her chicks and started a new batch but last week I saw both hens and their chicks in the back yard at the same time. Another time Mr Hawk thought the turkey chicks looked yummy and landed fairly close to them. There were two adult wild turkeys and one of them went after the hawk who decided to leave.

We have a very shallow bird bath, a depression in a granite rock. The birds are enjoying the water so we need to keep it filled during this droughty summer. We can see it from our screened porch.

Our old, rickety barn used to have lots of bats but now we aren't sure if we have any. Maybe just a few. My husband thinks what he thought were bats are chimney swifts. This year I asked him not to mow everything but to leave a swatch of meadow grass near the vegetable garden. This has delighted the goldfinches who feed on the grass seed. We can't leave lawn chairs out because the phoebes sit and poop on them. They also like sitting on the pea fences waiting to swoop after tasty insects.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 6:58AM
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molie(z6 CT)

You know, even though I'm a avid gardener, this is one of my favorite threads on the forum. The photographs you've all posted give me views of our natural world that I would would have missed without your help. I love looking back all the happy animals in your neighborhoods. Like the turkeys in Claire's yard ---- with food and a "pool" it must seem like a spa to them. Or the groundhog who acts like he owns that deck. Those crazy chipmunks and the squirrel lounging on the railing --- the funny brown birds that bathe in the dirt ---- the butterfly feeding on on the buddleia --- and even crows (which I look at differently now, thanks to what I've learned here).

I think it was Claire who talked about sitting back and looking at all those things we often get too busy to notice. Today is a beautiful day here in southern CT-- a perfect day to garden --- but I'm going to make time to sit on my deck and just look!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 10:35AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

defrost: You and your husband might like the book Gifts of the Crow. Jane recommended this to me and I'm almost through reading it. It's a mixture of observations of crow behavior and a discussion of the neurology underlying this behavior. The parallels with human behavior are fascinating.

Molie: That groundhog who thinks he owns my porch is here every day. I named him Guthrie, fully realizing that once you name an animal it has become a pet, or at least an accepted feature in your yard.

He seems to know that I won't chase him if he eats birdseed; just if he eats phlox. I just wish he would eat poison ivy and bittersweet. This pic is from a few day ago:

I think I have to accept him living in my garden for now since I'm not willing to kill him. My neighbor wanted to trap and relocate him, but relocating wildlife is illegal in MA and the reasons the state gives for why moving wild animals is harmful, ineffective and illegal are compelling. The neighbor also mentioned that there's a female with babies in the neighborhood and I suspect that an empty burrow would be reoccupied immediately.

Claire

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 11:34AM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Looks somewhat regal in woodchuck terms. The nearly aquiline nose suggests a stronger bloodline. He may be an heir to the orchard 'summering' at the shore.

Here is a link that might be useful: Woodchuck Cider

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 12:34PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I didn't know that Vermonters are sometimes called woodchucks...hopefully they don't eat phlox.

I did enjoy this note about the Private Reserves cider products:
Crisp and refreshing because they're made from apples, never woodchucks.

Claire (getting thirsty - is the sun over the yardarm yet?)

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 12:51PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

This hummingbird moth was in a hurry and wouldn't wait for me to get a closeup. Usually you can get pretty close to them, but not today.

Claire

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 1:59PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Usually I don't mess with photos, but I thought this one should be edited to show the moth better.

Claire

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 2:06PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Couldn't resist a further edit. I think this is as far as I should push it.

Claire (playing with the program)

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 2:30PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Claire - I'm glad you played with the program. The hummingbird moths here have clear wings. So, because your white spotted guy encouraged me to look up hummingbird moths, I have now learned that there are more than 3 kinds of hummingbird moths. Keep playing, lol.

The little guy below (American Goldfinch, male) is why I start cosmos seeds inside in March. He weighs between 0.4-0.7 oz. From my window...


Searching for just the right blossom


Nice, but a tad mushy


Today's Special--perfectly aged at the anti-gravity bar

Jane

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 12:42PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Excellent photos of the feasting goldfinch, Jane. Somehow it made me think of eating ice cream cones upside-down so the melting ice cream doesn't drip down your arm. You'd have to keep pressure on the ice cream ball so it stays in the cone, but it could be done (don't know if I'll try though).

Claire

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 2:50PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I know Brown Thrashers are around here, but I usually only see them about once a year, and only one at a time. This morning an adult and a fledgling appeared at a water bath. The parent was feeding the fledgling from seed on the ground. The baby hadn't realized yet that it was standing on food so it just stood around waiting.

The adult noticed I was watching and moved over to protect the baby. It probably decided it was safe after all and continued feeding.

Claire

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 12:56PM
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spedigrees z4VT

Interesting, Jane. I wonder if goldfinches dine on my cosmos. I've never seen them eating the flowers or seeds, but perhaps they do. We have a lot of goldfinches about our property.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 1:51PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Correction RE thrashers: Looking closer at the first photo, that's a worm that the adult is feeding the fledgling. Yum.

Claire

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 3:31PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Oh, Claire, you must continue tweaking photos. We would have missed that and it's the best part of the capture! Well done!
Never seen a Brown Thrasher here. Saw one once last summer at the shore.

Sped - if you have cosmos, the goldfinches know it. Keep checking as the blossoms become seed heads.

The finches are easier to photograph than those hummingbirds. They drive me nuts (won't be a long trip, no need to pack a lunch). I have the right flowers, there is a pair of hummers here, it's all in timing and technique - which I haven't nailed yet just holding the camera. Still fuzzy. Have to use the tripod and cable release shutter to get this guy!

They like the cannas

So much easier when she stands still

Once I saw the 'mask', the eyes at the base where the wings meet, I couldn't see the butterfly without them, lol. One of 'those' pictures.

Jane

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 5:58PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

I forgot one - remember the leucistic cardinal? Well, she's back and with her husband. She seems to have lost her little red crown, so I 'm wondering if she had a brood this year.
Pretty rare.

Jane

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 6:20PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Jane: Love that butterfly mask! It would certainly scare me off eating the butterfly. The hummer photos are really great too.

I'm glad your leucistic cardinal is still healthy and seems to have a normal life. Such a pretty bird, even without her red crown.

Claire

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 8:44AM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

Is this a Hummingbird Moth like the one that Claire posted above? I'd never seen one before this. Is it a Moth or a Bird?

Steve

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 10:32PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Steve: That's a Clearwing Hummingbird Moth. The antennae are a good marker - no birds I know of have antennae (at least this side of the tropics).

Here's a funny site

Claire

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 7:37AM
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molie(z6 CT)

Great link, Claire --- cute video and great information on the website.

And thanks to all of you ---- your beautiful bird photos are the only ways I'll get to see swallowtails, hummingbirds, hummingbird moths or goldfinches this season. We have mostly larger birds like egrets, herons, cormorants, ducks, geese, osprey, terns, hawks (all of which I love) here along our river plus the usuals at our feeders. So keep posting!

Molie

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 2:49PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Somebody has taken up container gardening. ah,boy.

Claire? Do you have an update on Guthrie for us?

Jane

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 3:29PM
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spedigrees z4VT

Well, all this time I've thought that what I now know to be hummingbird moths were gigantic bumblebees! I think that 'bumblebee moth' would be a much better appellation!

Three or four of these moths were zipping about my flower beds while I was out trimming weeds with the string trimmer. I waited to finish the task before going to get the camera lest the batteries in the trimmer lose their charge, and by the time I returned with the camera only one moth was still making the rounds. I got a lot of photos of flowers with no moth (he was a speedy little bugger!) but here are a couple. Thanks so much, Claire, for the informative and amusing links! Now I know what these bee-like garden visitors/pollinators are!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 5:11PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

spedigrees: They do look sort of like gigantic bumblebees, there's just something endearing about them (probably the only moth I can say that about).

Jane: Does that chipmunk have a short tail or is it just the angle? I've noticed that I have at least two different chippies visiting my deck; one with a short tail and one with a long tail. I'd thought that maybe a predator had bitten off the tip of the short tail, but it could be genetic. The squirrels here come in two types - one type has a regular full tail, the other has a skinny tail (evolving into a rat?)

Guthrie has been quiet lately. Possibly he noticed that I've moved all of the defoliated phlox to a new Phlox Protection Zone, fenced to keep him out. There's one phlox blooming there that he missed.

Claire (trying out the new GW photo uploading feature. I just edited and rearranged my post and had to re-enter the photo file)

Phlox Protection Zone

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 6:00PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Claire - tail is fine. It's Mr Red Pants, one of the Three Squeaky Tenors.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 8:56PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

A group of Blue Jays has a few appellations, but this time of year, 'Scold' is certainly the most applicable. Yesterday, outside my window, they were relentless and I can only applaud the tenacity of the parents. From early morning to cocktail time, Junior screamed in the birch tree. Later in the day, a parent had finally had enough and blasted Junior.

Parent let him have it:

Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: Hill-Stead Museum

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 8:49AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

That second photo is priceless, Jane! And there's still a month of summer left until school starts and there's some peace and quiet here...

Claire

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 11:21AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I've been spending way too much time the last few days staring at chipmunk tails. There are at least two different chipmunks that eat the seed mix I put down on my deck right next to my chair.

One of them has a short bushy tail that's about half as long as the 4 inch wide deck board.

Short-tailed Chipmunk

The other chipmunk has a skinnier tail that's about as long as the 4 inch wide board.

Long-tailed Chipmunk

The short-tail seems to be healthy - it routinely chases the long-tail away whenever they happen to come at the same time (I haven't gotten a photo of the chase).

I wonder if it's a genetic difference or if a predator nipped off the tip of one tail. The short tail is a lot fuzzier though, almost like a squirrel tail (except there are some squirrels here with skinny tails).

Claire (looking forward to staring at the next generation of chipmunks next year to see if there's a genetic change)

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 5:55PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I've posted the 2012 #5 thread since this thread is long and may be slow to load for some folks. Feel free to continue the discussion here if you want.

Claire

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 2:35PM
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