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Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
Fri, Aug 3, 12 at 14:32

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, Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #3 and Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #4.
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It was a hot August morning today when I went out to the deck for breakfast. The turkey family had apparently finished eating already and were resting in the shade at the top of the coastal bank. All six chicks were there and are getting closer to adult size, but still smaller. The mother hen is on guard, as always.

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Claire


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

How wonderful that all the turkey poults are surviving and looking well. They look so relaxed taking their siesta on your lawn.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

Life is good.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

Hard to tell, but she's in reverse. Kept going in and out of the tube to sup. Sure will miss her when she heads south.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 5, 12 at 18:07

I'm guessing you can tell by the angle of their wings whether they're flying forward or backward, but I've never noticed (never thought about it before).

Time to look at old photos, or, better yet, to challenge Jane to corroborate the theory with more hummer pics.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 12, 12 at 14:14

I decided to test whether woodchucks really do like cantaloupe (recommended for trapping, although I have no intention of trapping Guthrie), so I put out a cantaloupe rind left over from my lunch. The answer is a resounding YES!

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Oh,this is good!
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It's mine, you can't take it back!
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Gone, all gone... (sob)
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Maybe if I plant a bunch of cantaloupes I can keep the woodchuck away from the phlox. I've also noticed an amazing lack of violets and clover in my yard.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

Way to go, Guthrie! He hit the woodchuck lottery at your house. A few years ago, a Persian melon plant grew in a front yard garden. Planted by wing or wind, I let it grow and 2 melons grew only to be slowly eaten when ripe for several successive nights. Never saw who ate the melons, but nothing else was touched in the garden. Not a bad idea to plant some cantaloupe. Were you lying on the ground in front of him while taking these pictures? The rapport must be good between you two, lol.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 12, 12 at 17:53

The pictures were taken from my computer window with the good old zoom full out. No way am I going to lie on the ground in front of a woodchuck - not that he'd let me. It always amazes me that birds and animals see me with the camera through the window at that distance.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

Nice pictures, Everyone!

Claire, Guthrie does appear to be 'yelling' in that 3rd picture.

I'm glad you don't hold a grudge even if they sample our flowers and vegetables.

-Tina


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

Guthrie lives the high life! I feel a bit badly for my woodchuck that gets only ground ivy at our place.

Molie


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

Your photos of Guthrie feasting are delightful, Claire! I think planting him his own melon patch is a great idea!

The action on my porch is winding down. Our last batch of house finch babies fledged a week ago. This was the third batch of finch babies this summer, and the second batch of babies to call the old swallows' nest home. I believe these little ones belonged to a second pair of finches, who waited for the first pair to raise two families.

They returned to the nest after short flights the first day, and again that night and the next day. Now they are gone.

That makes three batches of house finches and one of barn swallows that called our porch home this summer. (I found no little corpses, so I assume they all made it, at least through the dangerous phase where they are just finding their wings. Our 19 year old kitty is too slow and deaf to be a threat to the birds anymore.)

I assume that our little hummingbirds, who called the porch their dinner table, built tiny nests in the willow thickets along our brook.

The little hummers are the only birds still visiting the porch, but soon they will be gone on their migration to warmer places. They're also loving the jewelweed that springs up this time of year, zipping from one tiny flower to the next. They visit my nasturtiums too, but never seem to linger there, so I'm guessing their nectar is not to their liking.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 13, 12 at 17:25

Tina: I got angry at first when the phlox were defoliated, but I can't blame woodchucks for being hungry. I just wish they'd eat somewhere else. The sudden appearance of woodchucks in my yard is probably due to the aging and/or death of neighborhood dogs that used to patrol my yard and chase critters away. This particular woodchuck has turned out to be very personable (maybe they all are when you get to know them) and I kind of enjoy seeing Guthrie here.

I also hope the new Phlox Protection Zone with the fence works and that I'll still get some flowers this year.

spedigrees: Are you really going to tear down that unique hybrid swallow/finch nest when you renovate the porch? Isn't there a local historical society to prevent that?

That's a really pretty cat and I'm glad she's not hunting any more.

I didn't know that hummingbirds like jewelweed; now I feel guilty because I keep pulling it out. A few jewelweeds are fine, but you can't have just a few jewelweeds, at least not in good soil. The few remainders lurk under roses so I at least get bitten when I pull them out.

Claire (on the deck listening to the buzz of hummingbirds chasing other hummingbirds away from the feeder)


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Oh, Sped, that's a very pretty little kitty. We've had them last for 22 years, so you may have more joy together yet. Had to put down our 14 year old B&W kitty last Feb., and we thought that was way too young. Pretty calico.

Historical society for birds nest? Really?

Well, now I know that what I thought was pretty but invasive is jewelweed. I probably have most of Connecticut's invasive species right here and other than poison ivy, think most of it is pretty. So naive.

While the hummers were chasing each other, the BC chickadee moved in. Everybody likes dessert.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

I would be angry too, Claire, if a woodchuck ate my phlox, but what can you do? I hope your phlox can make a comeback in your phlox protection zone.

Hybrid swallow-finch nest, lol! I guess that's just what it is - sort of an oddity. I think given the state of my finances and so much stuff going on at present, probably the nests will be back on the real estate market for one more summer before the trim-painting project goes forward.

Jane, did the chickadee actually drink the nectar? I had no idea they had a taste for sugar.

So sorry about your cat. I agree 14 is too young, but you can never tell. We had one who died at age 10 from an injury, but all the rest of ours lived into their 20s. Our current resident has amazing bloodwork according to the vet, so I expect she'll be around for awhile.

The jewelweed does get invasive in late summer, but it pulls out easily. I used to pull a lot of it too, at least around the house, but since seeing the hummers feasting on it this summer, I think I'll let it invade my flower beds around the house until late fall. It re-seeds itself easily. In fact its other common name is 'touch-me-not' for the seed pods which, when ripe, burst apart in a shower of seeds at the slightest touch. It makes a great entertainment for kids or easily amused adults like me!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

Hi Sped - apparently the chickadee did and does because he drops by quite often as do downy woodpeckers and titmice (mouses?). At first I thought they might be after the ants, and to some extent, perhaps they are. But after closer examination, the little guys seem to like a sweet as well. The link below provides a list of birds that will frequent a hummer feeder. Claire is the confectionaire for birds with her jelly and orange feeders. My bird patisserie is more like the Ikea or Home Depot variety.

Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: Hummingbird-guide.com


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

This morning after the rain...think Lemon:

He ate my strawberries, built a multi-tiered condominium complex in my mini greenhouse (and ate all the mesclun), unearthed a new hydrangea (3 times), barfed on the deck, and I still take his picture. Some people are beyond help, lol.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

Oh, how cute is that?!

Jane, you have a good soul.

I could never chase them out of the garden neither.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 15, 12 at 12:57

Cheeky little rodent, Jane (pun intended).

I haven't seen chickadees drinking nectar (not to say they don't, just that I haven't seen it), but they do drink the water in the central ant trap.

The chickadees have discovered the pile of critter food I put on the deck for the chipmunks but they're nervous about eating right next to me. So I gave them a pile of their own at the edge of the deck and this morning at least four chickadees have been alternating and jousting at that pile. I couldn't get a pic of all four (or even three) at the same time.

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

One of the chickadees landed on my computer screen for a few seconds but I didn't want to scare it with the camera. They seem to be getting used to me, and maybe they'll be around more often, if I continue to bribe them.

I'm seeing a Carolina Wren most evenings around my dinner time - it seems to be hunting the moths that hide here during the daytime and I've seen a few captures.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

Looks like that beak is stretched to its limit with a corn kernel! I can be easily amazed, but look at this about the BC Chickadee - it is incredibly amazing:
--"The Black-Capped Chickadee hides seeds and other food items to eat later. Each item is placed in a different spot and the chickadee can remember thousands of hiding places."

--"Every autumn Black-capped Chickadees allow brain neurons containing old information to die, replacing them with new neurons so they can adapt to changes in their social flocks and environment even with their tiny brains." source: allaboutbirds.com

...allow brain neurons to die so they can adapt...imagine if politicians could do that!

Neat shots, Claire.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cornell Lab of Ornithology


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  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 15, 12 at 17:49

"...allow brain neurons to die so they can adapt...imagine if politicians could do that!"

I thought that politicians do that already, at least the neurons dying part. The adapting is a different issue.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

We have a brazen chipmunk that seems very irritated to hear me yelling at it but it is taking all the husk cherries I grew for the first time this year and has been nibbling on quite a few tomatoes.

Thanks for telling me that hummingbirds like jewel weed. I've pulled it out of the garden but there is plenty of it in the wild areas of our property.

Last night dragonflies were flitting around eating insects. We had dinner on the porch and watched a family of bluebirds and some phoebes going after insects. You could hear their beaks snap. We have to use binoculars to try to identify some of the birds. Looks like we have a juvenile flicker. The birds also like sitting on the metal pea fences that stay up all year, watching for tasty bugs.

A viburnum onondaga a the corner of the house is starting to block my view from the kitchen table. It has gotten far taller despite a trimming last year. I planted it for the birds but that brazen chipmunk has already eaten all the berries even though they weren't ripe. The tag on the virburnum planted in 2008 said 6-8' tall and this one is almost 12 feet. It suddenly put out a lot of growth in 2010 and continues to do so. It's not getting any fertilizer. In the winter, my husband puts some shepherd hooks next to the branches to hold thistle feeders. The birds love sitting in the branches. I'm studying for a replacement. It's right by the walkway to the kitchen porch as well as blocking my view.

I have some volunteer agastache/ anise hyssop grown from seed near the screened porch. My husband didn't get pictures but said recently there was a goldfinch, a hummingbird and several bumblebees all on the same plant. I was going to weed it out but I think I'll plant some in a perennial bed for August color and wildlife.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 16, 12 at 10:07

defrost49: From the sound of it, you have a very wildlife-friendly yard. It's a hard balancing act - how you reconcile the esthetics of your garden (and your need to be able to walk around and access parts of it) and the shrubbery that provides security and food for the birds and insects and other critters. I'm still trying to figure this out.

Keep up the good work!

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

Thanks, Claire. I planted a spreading cotoneastre as well in 2008 just because I like the looks of it. One late fall morning I was treated to see a bluebird family feasting on the berries.

My husband likes to mow everything but this year I asked him to leave a swatch of wild meadow next to the vegetable garden. There's plenty of room between the outside bed and the meadow for my lawn mower and cart. The wild grasses attract the goldfinches.

We are very lucky to live where we do. I have also placed a small, shallow granite birdbath next to the stonewall and day lilies so we can see the birds when we have dinner on the porch. I'm glad my husband is now helping to keep it filled. Since it's shallow, it dries up quickly.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

I tried to get the Monarch to stay still long enough to take its picture. Then I got it in flight.

DSC01524

Photobucket

Steve


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 17, 12 at 17:20

Beautiful, Steve! The combination of a cooperative butterfly and a good photographer is always a pleasure to see.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

Capturing anything other than a Boeing 747 in flight is an adventure. Bees, butterflies and birds are a test! Last year I didn't see monarchs, but they've returned this year although not in the number they once were here. I keep planting milkweed, but it's not happy on my land.

However, the bumble bees are. And like many other folks here, I am letting more and more native things grow that feed others. Today, the bumbles got me to thinking "what shape is pollen?", so with the help of the link below, I've discovered that pollen comes in numerous shapes. The native Joe Pye Weed (that is way too happy here) has round pollen. I also discovered that bumble bees do have the 'pockets' I always thought they should have.
Bumble on Joe Pye collecting round pollen

Bumble with filled leg pouches on Joe Pye which seems to be a rather a sophisticated flower,IMHO.

Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: Radboud University Nijmegen


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 18, 12 at 17:31

The detail in that first picture is wonderful, showing the individual hairs and the indentations on the head. I guess that's the round pollen dotting the whole bee. I wonder how the bumble bees (and honey bees) get the sticky pollen into and out of the pockets. There must be a balance between being sticky enough to be gathered or to stick to an insect, but not being so sticky that the pollen won't come off on the next blossom.

Interesting link - I always enjoy looking at various micrographs. Unfortunately, a scanning electron microscope is not in my budget at this time - I'll wait until the price goes down and Amazon sells them.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

Excellent camera and camera woman, Jane.

I second Claire's thought on the details.

I was telling my niece about native plants, one of which was Joe-Pye Weed.

I was able to point them out to her yesterday. They were on the shoulder of I-95N a couple of exits pass Brandford.


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  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 19, 12 at 10:56

Early last evening (about 6 PM) a Carolina wren came on the deck hunting moths as usual. It always hops around, checks under the steamer chair and the folded umbrella and anywhere else a moth might have settled in at daybreak (or whenever nocturnal moths go to bed). It ignores me as long as I don't move too quickly. The wren makes a strange chittering sound as it hunts.

Suddenly a blue jay called an alarm for some reason in the yard, and the wren ducked for cover. The closest safe haven was one of those rolling plant saucers that isn't in use right now. I hadn't tried to photograph the wren because the light was poor for capturing a moving subject, but I grabbed the camera and saw it was already set for poor light. Unfortunately, I didn't remember that this particular poor light setting was for tungsten light not daylight, so the camera compensated by increasing the blue tone.

The wren had gone completely out of view for a while and then peeked out.
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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

It came out a few times and ran back under the stand, maybe waiting for some "All Clear" sign.

I changed the settings to daylight (I didn't make the best choice but I was moving fast). Here the wren looks at me and decides it's safe to come out.

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

It soon left without much hunting - maybe going to a less exposed hunting ground.

Claire


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  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 19, 12 at 17:01

Continuing on the theme of "birds in unusual places", is this why House Sparrows are called house sparrows?

This is the roof of the old tool shed.
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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I can't see most of my house roof from inside, so who knows what's happening up there? I have heard turkeys stomping around on the roof (I saw them fly down afterwards).

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

I read these threads all the time, but, usually don't take the time to post. I really enjoy the photography! I often wish there was a "like" button to push--so many wonderful shots.
Those close-ups of the bumblebee were really cool--and, prompted me to take a closer look at my "own" bumbles. Today, one was so covered with pollen, it almost looked dipped in paint.
I didn't have my camera with me this morning, but, while sitting on my deck, I had 2 hummingbirds, a beautiful male goldfinch, and my favorite chickadee, come and visit plants that were only a couple of feet away. Great stuff.
Keep those photos coming!

Emily


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  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 23, 12 at 17:47

This is the first year I've been seeing Brown Thrashers regularly. An adult has been seen brazenly foraging around most days, and yesterday I saw what I think are two juveniles calmly preening on the winterberry. So much for the "secretive" Brown Thrasher.

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

Those are very good shots of a secretive bird, Claire. I have not seen a thrasher before, now I'll know if one happens upon my path.

House sparrows: Free to anyone who will take them. I really think this is the 4th brood this year. There must be 40 of them here every day cleaning out the food and raising particular cane. Some are at the teenage stage and fighting, others are still begging Mom for food. I hope the majority leave...soon. Too many at once - must have been the warm year.

Fortunately, they have not ousted the Carolina Wren who had just had a bath and was sunning his/her wings. Looks like a runway accident, but it was just a bath. He sang beautifully after the bath.

Jane


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  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 23, 12 at 20:54

Oh, I love that wren shot (now that you've assured us that it's not an accident). Such a dapper little bird looking completely unkempt, and apparently enjoying it.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

It was fresh bath water and afterward he really sang better than I've heard in quite a while - right under my window - what a joy!

Part of me sometimes thinks I should subscribe to that suburban way of gardening with each plant in a proper place and fully under my control. Fortunately for the birds, the other part of me says I don't need to control much in life, so let's see what would happen if I did nothing. Well, that can become a disaster (or a forest again), but this morning the August (or auGUST) bounty of echinacea seeds kept a number of goldfinches fed and happy and it makes people like me, who will never be a really good gardener, remember that there are still good reasons to each season. They look like spent blossoms to us, but these little guys have been waiting for months to see this seedy, dried up bounty.

Jane


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  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 24, 12 at 17:33

I applaud you, Jane, for relinquishing some control of your garden. For me, anyway, it's much more interesting to watch and see what the garden will do on its own (with a little gentle nudging from me) than to force it to conform to my aesthetic sense. It's a whole lot easier, too, although I'm fighting the potential return of the yard to forest.

A garden is more than just a collection of plants - it's also a home for birds and insects and critters.

Claire (listening to jays screaming HAWK! HAWK! HAWK!)


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

I saw a yellow spot on a Hosta flower and bent down for a closer look.
Photobucket

I wonder what he was looking for. A pollinator?

Steve


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 24, 12 at 18:03

After some furious googling, I found a description of the goldenrod spider that suggests that your spider isn't a pollinator itself, it's hunting pollinators like bees and butterflies. (If the identification is correct). It's a chameleon spider that hangs around on yellow and white flowers and changes color to camouflage itself.

Great pic, Steve! and I learned something new, and a little scary.

Claire


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Cool. The tips on his legs look like anthers full of pollen. I'll keep my eye on this guy.

Steve


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I caught this dragonfly on a spent day lilly stalk down by the pond.
Dragonfly


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

Pixie - I really like your dragonfly shot. Looks artistically well balanced. Good capture, thanks for posting it.
Jane (still not over the pond envy)


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  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 25, 12 at 10:30

pixie_lou: The dragonfly looks like it's sunning its wings after a bath, like Jane's wren. I like the idea of a dragonfly splashing around in a birdbath (or pond). Probably not true, but still a nice image.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

Great photos of all the creatures that inhabit our gardens. I was really taken by Steve's picture of that yellow spider and then Claire's explanation! I've seen those spiders before ---- they certainly do look like crabs. After checking out the link, I guess it was the male that I've noticed most often.

Jane, your picture of the dining goldfinch is a reminder that a plant's lifecycle has many wonderful stages --- not just the flowering stage which, I must admit, is the reason I've planted most of the things in my garden. But now that we're really into bird-watching and enjoy seeing them at the feeders as well as on the flowers, I'm less "anal" about keeping my gardens so neat ---- probably due to getting older---- HA! I also loved your great photos of the bees loaded with pollen. So today I tried to capture bees collecting pollen from my Japanese Anemones. This is as close as my lens could get: it does show the pollen 'pouches'. I never knew about those until these posts.

Pixie, those of us who live near bodies of water welcome the dragonflies and their appetites for mosquitos. I love sitting on the deck watching them soar around the yard in the early evening. "Better than spraying" is how I view dragonflies. Hopefully your dragonfly was just resting before finding another meal.

A few days ago I found this butterfly/moth on my wolf eyes. Does anyone know what it is? I tried to check it out online but am not sure. Its antennae were rounded at the ends, not feathered, so I'm guessing it's a butterfly?

Molie


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

Hi Molie,

Looks like an Eastern Comma butterfly. I just tried to get a shot of one and decided that trying to photograph a butterfly riding the end of a buddleia blossom in a slight wind would require another Woodchuck hard cider, so I'll look at yours instead.

Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: ButterfliesandMoths.org


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

Molie, I think that is a painted lady butterfly. I remember them from collecting butterflies as a kid. Your shot of the bumblebee on the Japanese Anemone is great, and I like the way that flower looks. Very bright and pretty blooms.

I, too, was intrigued with your spider, Steve. Your bumblebee photos are amazing, Jane. Every little hair stands out. And I like your sequence of photos of the wren hiding on your porch, Claire. Great shot of the dragonfly, Pixie.

Yesterday I was walking by my veggie patch and surprised a bright yellow goldfinch dining on sunflower seeds. Then I spyed a viceroy butterfly going from sunflower blossom to blossom. I haven't seen one in years. They're smaller than a monarch, but nearly identical save for a differing black stripe on their lower wings. The similarity is supposed to be enough to fool birds into avoiding them as a dinner item due to the bitter taste of the monarch butterflies. The goldfinch had already fled, and I knew if I went back to the house for the camera the butterfly too would have disappeared, so drat I have no pictures of either.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

Molie -- Sped is right. Painted lady.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

Thank you for the identification of the Painted Lady Butterfly. I googled the name and the images I found were matches for what I saw on my Wolf Eyes. It's so nice to be able to give names to all the birds, insects and flying creatures that I see in our yard and in your postings.

But golly, am I chagrined about stating that the bee I photographed was on a Japanese Anemone --- silly Mole! That's a picture of a bee on my Gaillardia --- 'Oranges & Lemons', I think.

I was so intrigued after reading Jane's posting about the bees' leg sacs (designed to hold the pollen they collect) that I went out this afternoon to try to capture some closeups of my own. I followed a posse of bees from flower to flower and did take photographs of bees on my Japanese Anemone, but these were all out of focus. However, the pictures of a bee on my Gaillaridia plant were much clearer. Don't know what I was thinking as I was typing ---- and honestly, I've been laying off the Woodchuck Hard Cider!

In any case, I love that term "pollen pocket" because it reminds me of my kids when they were little. We lived in a house near the woods and, in those days, kids played outdoors with their friends the whole day. My three would collect all sorts of "treasures" and put them in their pockets to keep for later. Of course, by the time they came inside, they'd forgotten about these treasures. Whenever I did the laundry, their little pockets were always filled with surprises.

Molie


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 26, 12 at 17:52

Having two piles of seed on the deck was getting pretty messy with seed and shells scattered all over the place, so I at first tried to put the piles in plates in the same locations. This was a little better, but the jays and squirrels were waiting until I went inside and attacking the plate by my chair. I decided to set up one location by the edge of the deck, away from my chair.

Since I had two plates filled already, I moved both plates to the new location with the intent of combining them when they got a little emptier.

A chipmunk carefully checked out the two plates and decided the right hand one had a better selection.

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I'm now down to one plate.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

Uh-huh. So that's progress. Aren't you the same lady who went through extra trouble a couple of years ago to strategically affix bungee cords to her shiny garbage pail full of birdseed to keep squirrels out? It pays to be small and cute, lol. The chippy china pattern color selection is nice because it blends with his natural attire, but I cannot help but wonder if you served an aperitif? Perhaps just mineral water, sans gas, which could have also served as a post prandial foot bath? Well, you wanted outdoor only pets --looks like this is your year!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 27, 12 at 16:02

It's one thing for a squirrel to break into my main food bank, and quite another to eat from the buffet I put out. I can't in fairness limit the food to chipmunks and chickadees (although I tried for a while), when squirrels are hungry too.

This afternoon a squirrel saw me on the deck watching and tried to decide whether it was safe to eat from the plate.

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I can't believe she's not chasing me away!
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

This squirrel has a couple of notches on its ears so I can identify it (in case I ever need to identify a squirrel).

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

This Black Swallowtail Butterfly (I think I ID'd it correctly) was feasting on my tithonia yesterday. It was tought to get photos since the plant is so tall!
Swallowtail 4

Swallowtail 3

Photobucket

Swallowtail 1


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 1, 12 at 10:55

Nice shots, pixie_lou, especially the last one. Your tithonia patch has become a forest!

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

My favorite of all the butterflies! How pretty! I'm so taken with your tithonia, Pixielou, that I'm going to try growing one next summer. If I start it in a pot and plant it in full sun, maybe it will have a chance! Beautiful pictures!


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hummingbirds have gone.

I think my little hummingbirds have all headed out on their migration. Earlier this week the little birds were here in great numbers, zipping all about in some sort of mini bird excitement, perhaps gathering their numbers in preparation for heading south. Then a day later there were several "new" hummers, clearly strangers in a strange land, attempting to feed from the windchimes before discovering the feeder. And now they all seem to be gone for good.

If new hummingbirds are showing up at your feeders in southern New England, and they don't seem to know their way around your porches and gardens, they may be "mine" on their way through, followed closely by their Canadian brothers and sisters.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

A few weeks ago, I spied this chickadee, on the edge of the birdbath. It was all puffed up, as if it were a cold winter morning. Not moving.

Photobucket

I slowly crept closer...

Photobucket

and closer...

Photobucket

..the bird still wasn't moving. I literally put my camera up close, and snapped this shot.

Photobucket

I thought it must be injured or ill. I said out loud, "are you alright?" It suddenly "woke up" and flew to the feeder. Probably mad that I had interrupted it's morning nap.

Photobucket

I have never seen a bird do this, especially in the middle of summer. I wonder if it was a juvenile, tired from learning to eat by himself?

Emily
Western MA


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Sep 2, 12 at 11:26

spedigrees: That's a bittersweet notice - sweet because migrations are fascinating, just to think of all the little birds in determined flight heading south for the winter - bitter because it means my little buzz birds will leave soon too and there will be a small hole in the yard population. I have two feeders up now so whoever stops by will have food to eat and I'll keep at least one up for a while after mine are gone, just in case.

Emily: Shhhh....the kids are sleeping late! I can't imagine why a chickadee would take a nap out in the open like that, but I'm glad it seems to be OK. Nice pictures of a rather foolhardy bird (you could have been a hawk!).

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

As I walked up to the tithonia planter today, I scared away a bunch of finches. But this little hummer stuck around sipping nectar.

Hummer on Tithonia

Later on I found this bee on my garlic chives

Bee on Garlic Chives


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

I wonder if that little hummer on your tithonia might be one of "mine," Pixielou, on its way south. Thanks to you and Claire, and any others who feed them with nectar or flowers to fuel them up for the long flight. The summer birds are gone from my area now.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Sep 7, 12 at 14:25

There seems to be a new urgency in the air as winter gets closer and birds and bees need to stock up on food (not that food-gathering is usually casual for wildlife). I may have seen one or more of your hummers, spedigrees, in the last few days. One of them investigated the flying saucer feeder, flying up and down looking at the bottom and then the top before it figured out that nectar is accessed from the top. And I've been buzzed a few times by hummers near the feeder on the deck, maybe warning me to stay seated while they eat. My regulars already have me trained.

A few days ago I saw a wet little bird, looking like it just climbed out of a birdbath and was drying itself off. I think it's a Winter Wren but I'm not sure (the BirdWatching forum was inconclusive). I've never seen one before but they're supposedly common, just not likely to come to feeders. Cute little thing.

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


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RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Sep 7, 12 at 14:41

Definitely not in the category of "Cute little bird" is a hawk I saw yesterday. I was outside when I heard a clear whistle being repeated over and over and it seemed to come from above. I looked up and saw a hawk soaring around. When it landed in a spruce I ran inside for my camera and I got a few shots before it flew off. It stayed around calling for maybe fifteen minutes but not visible most of the time. I just got a few glimpses through the trees and I wasn't able to photograph it in flight.

I think it's a Northern Goshawk which makes a call they define as a wail which sounds like the whistle I heard. I was playing the audio file from the Birds of North America online site and the hawk seemed to respond a few times.

The goshawk (if that's what it is) looked like a Cooper's Hawk on steroids (they're related) - bigger than a crow and very powerful.

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Sep 7, 12 at 20:51

Correction: The hawk is a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk, per an expert on the BirdWatching Forum. The "belly-band", the streaked cummerbund with a white breast above, is the clincher.

I wonder what I heard, though. Red-tails don't sound like that. Maybe another hawk passing through the red-tail's territory?

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

Claire, in the "it's Nature but also sad" department, yesterday we had a close encounter with a hawk. While taking a break on the deck after a bit of gardening and watching the action at our bird feeders, there was a sudden crash and an "explosion." A hawk dropped down like a missile among the feeding birds and got one. That crash was actually the sound of their wings as all the "luckier" birds fled. With its back towards us, the hunter pecked at its prey while looking left and right. The hawk never turned around, so we couldn't tell if it was a Red-tailed or Cooper Hawk, but it sure was powerful! Before we could get the camera, it flew off into the trees to finish dinner. Its catch was small, probably a finch or a sparrow. Sad. I felt so badly thinking that maybe this hawk is using our bird feeders for its own purpose. I know, I know --- survival--- but it was still not nice to see.

Molie


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 8, 12 at 14:18

Molie: Whenever I see a hawk hunting birds in my yard I tell myself "Don't take sides, don't take sides, don't take sides....." Of course, I do - I've fed these little birds and somehow that makes me feel responsible for protecting them.

New Jersey Audubon has a Suburban Survival Guides called Hawks Killing Birds at Your Feeders.

One of my favorite quotes from it is "Always remember, in choosing to concentrate birds in your yard by offering them food, you have not caused birds to be killed. You have only caused them to be killed where you will see them."

Another thought-provoking quote is "To survive, most bird-eating hawks must consume one to three birds a day, depending upon the size of the hawk and the size of the prey. Most hawks fail in this ambition, and in many raptor species over ninety percent of young birds fail to reach maturity. Some starve. Some are killed in accidents. Some become prey themselves."

So there's a lot of reasons not to take sides (even though I can't help it).

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

Thanks, Claire, for the informative link to the New Jersey Audubon's discussion of predatory birds and the role they play in nature. That line about only causing birds to be killed where I can see it happen is true. Living along a tidal river, we've spent many evenings watching egrets, herons, and even osprey hunting and bringing home their prey.

Actually, I do like seeing hawks and other birds like that. Even so --- I confess to having difficulty not taking sides, or at least not feeling regret about setting the table, so to speak.

Molie


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5


This fellow, a Cooper's, I think, has taken to sitting about 10' from my house in my pruned rhododendrons only about 5 feet off the ground.


He searched the ground for chipmunks. Last time he literally jumped off the branch and walked through the ground below and into a densely packed garden and ended up peering into a chipmunk tunnel opening. The chipmunks were all safe and chowing down under the bird feeder later in the day. The hawk still comes regularly to examine the ground where the chipmunks have a large condominium complex.

Separately, it has been a few weeks now and I have not heard from anyone about my free sparrow offer - good home or otherwise. Have a feeling none of them will be leaving this year. Free food, shelter and a spa: I've created a problem. So now where's the hawk? One vicious circle.


Cowabunga!


Pool party - 6-7 at a time in waves (forgive the pun) until the bath is nearly empty. I lost count after counting 35 sparrows. Would love to take about 30 to Home Depot.


Looks happy to me


I refuse to buy Sparrow conditioner

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 8, 12 at 15:37

That's a very earnest, determined (and probably hungry) looking Cooper's hawk there, Jane. In great contrast to the happy-go-lucky house sparrows whooping it up in the pool.

I understand you don't want to buy them conditioner, but maybe a rubber ducky or two...

Claire


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RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 8, 12 at 15:43

Forgot to mention... Every once in a while I'll hear frantic chirping from house sparrows in a shrub or big rose just outside the kitchen window. When I go out to see what's going on, a Cooper's hawk will fly off and the chirping will stop.

The little birds seem to be calling me to rescue them from the siege.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

Emily, Claire, and Jane, great photos!

My favorite has to be the pool party.

The birds in my yard never let loose like that in the bath.

I think a combination of the outdoor cats and my obnoxious dog make them wary.

Just to add, I did put the water bath out of my dog's reach. In fact, it's on the other side of his fenced 'play pen'.

-Tina


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

That is a magnificent hawk, Jane! If it was me, I'd be rooting for it to feast on the sparrows - not really a fan of the little buggers here!

I imagine this also won't gather too many admirers. I'm not normally enamoured of arachnids, but I'm sort of sentimental about these garden spiders, and I see them much less frequently than I did long ago. I'm not sure if it is missing half a limb, or if it's hidden behind its foreleg. It was spinning away, hoping to harvest dinner.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

I went to visit a private garden in Central Mass last week and it was quite beautiful. Still the only two pictures that I came away with were of these two caterpillars. The gardener grows plants specifically to attract these and other caterpillars and butterflies.

Spice Bush caterpillar. You have to hold the leaf open to see it and it only pupates on a Spice Bush.
Spice Bush Caterpillar

This one is more common. This Black Swallowtail Caterpillar is on a Dill plant, grown just for him.
Black Swallowtail Caterpillar

I'd be happy if I could attract Monarch Caterpillars on my Milkweed.

Steve


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

Hi Sped - I think I see 8 legs and could muster some sympathy if he had lost a leg, but not enough to tear me up. The art and skill of creating some webs goes way beyond my comprehension of innate intention in any creature. Amazing.

Steve - excellent shots. I raised monarchs for a few summers and though my milkweed crop failed, the caterpillars I rescued before the town mowed the sides of the road, would only eat milkweed and that I had to search the sides of roadways for each morning for about 2 weeks. And they eat a lot!

"MyMonarch"
http://www.mymonarchguide.com/

If you choose to click the link below to see one of my butterflies being born, "Wilbur, the Monarch Butterfly", when on the website either click on 'slideshow' or double click the first picture, then use the arrows to proceed to the next picture.

Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: Monarch Slide Show (I hope)


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 10, 12 at 12:22

spedigrees: That's a beautiful spider - I'm not afraid of them, but very, very respectful, having once gotten a nasty infection from what was probably a spider bite (can't really blame it since I had just inadvertently sprayed its egg case which was next to a lily with lily leaf beetles).

Steve: Those are wonderful caterpillars - they look like they should glow in the dark. I just googled the spice bush caterpillar and it morphs into another swallowtail butterfly. That always astonishes me (can it really be true?).

Jane: The slide show link didn't work for me.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

Sorry - my first time - had to change to public viewing. Try this new link below if interested in seeing the Monarch pictures. Hope it works. Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: Monarch PPS


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 10, 12 at 16:05

The link worked and the slideshow is astonishing - Happy Birthday, Wilbur! It's hard to believe, but harder to deny, that caterpillars really do turn into butterflies. I saw a few more chrysalises - did they all survive the transformation?

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

Great shots of caterpillars and butterflies, Jane and Steve.

What exactly is a spice bush, Steve? I need to look into this and see about planting one or more. That is interesting; no wonder these (spicebush swallowtail) butterflies are uncommon. I have one in my circa 1950s butterfly collection, caught in Connecticut, and I'm not sure I've ever seen one since.

As to the garden spider, I don't think they are especially venomous, but I recoil at the spectre of hummingbirds being caught in their webs and eaten. (Probably not common, but I've heard it does happen.) Still these spiders are such an icon from my childhood, and so spectacular looking, I have a certain fondness for them. Other spiders, not so much!

The resident expert on butterflies on this forum (I wish I could remember her name) was raising black swallowtail butterflies one year and posted pics. She wrote that stinging nettles were their caterpillar food (in addition to dill I guess), so I've given nettles a free pass since I read that, and I have noticed black swallowtails in greater numbers since then, but it could just be a coincidence. (They are tied for my favorite butterfly with tiger swallowtails, and monarchs coming in 3rd.)

I notice the monarchs that are left here feeding on my goldenrod flowers. The milkweed and JoePye weed flowers have gone by and the goldenrod alone is still blooming profusely.

I enjoyed your sequence of monarch caterpillar to butterfly photos, Jane. Were they raised in a terrarium or outdoors?

If you want to replant your milkweed garden, Jane, I will have an endless supply of fluffy seed pods in a month or so! Give a shout and I can send a box!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

Glad it worked. Yes, knock wood, every one in my care survived, quantity of 20-something. Know a lady, a retired science teacher, who raises them every summer. She ties a string to the green chrysalis's silk and loops it around a little wooden tree on her kitchen table. That way, because this goes on for several months, when she has coffee in the morning, she can see who turned clear over night. Some hatch in her kitchen and she guides them gently to the outside. Her success rate is very, very high and she does a hundred or more every year. If a chrysalis is damaged, things may not go well. If the proboscis doesn't unfurl, life is short. Mine always turned clear with a sunrise. If it was too windy or raining, it stayed on my porch till the weather was just right. If I recall correctly, they don't eat for many hours after hatching and live for about 4 weeks - mating about one week after birth. Wilbur would have mated here and his offspring is the group that would have migrated. Not having an abundant supply of milkweed is changing everything.

Picture is Moses on his first flower (artifcial because that is what his chrysalis was attached to) Ok. TMI, probably, but it is fascinating to me. Yes, they were all named and recorded. 100% success rate is lucky! 0% success with raising milkweed isn't.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 10, 12 at 17:28

spedigrees: I'm pretty sure that terrene is a butterfly expert - I remember her posting about raising them.

I was peering into one of my sanseveria plants which is summering outside and there was a spider lurking there - looking like it was guarding the entrance to a tunnel or a wormhole. I need to check before I bring them in for the winter. Last year a snail wintered over on a sanseveria leaf.

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I went over to check on the jam level in the oriole/catbird feeder. No orioles now, but the catbirds are still here. A Bald-faced Hornet clearly prefers the peach jam to the grape. I was hoping the rains would clean off the feeder so I don't have to shoo away the yellow-jackets and the hornets. They've never attacked me but I'd rather not startle them. Maybe if I walked up saying, "Here I come, wasps, not to worry, I won't harm you or eat your jam."

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

Well, never thought I'd reach this point in my bird feeding adventure, but...the house sparrows have ruined it. No longer getting the variety of birds due to their massive number and overt aggression. Even the RB woodpeckers are now infrequent visitors. So despite a new 40lb bag of food, I will buy a substitute that sparrows do not favor and I will remove my bird houses until late next spring. Guess I should try a jelly/jam feeder. The warm weather this year, I swear, contributed greatly to them producing 4 broods. Just two sparrows with 4 eggs in each brood produced 16 sparrows. I've counted up to 40 here at once, then the group moves and the count is gone. Now the seed will be gone. And, the hummers have left. Looks like it is time for a change.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Sep 14, 12 at 18:17

Jane: I noticed that when most of the grackles left, the house sparrows came in greater number, although nothing like you have. Well, the grackles have come back, lots of grackles - I think they may be migrating through - stopping to fatten up and mess up the bird baths. Grackles can really foul a bird bath, so I've had to flush more often (flush is the appropriate term). I'm not sure if there are fewer sparrows eating because the grackles are easily capable of emptying the feeders. I'm hoping that the grackles will leave when the next good north wind comes.

Besides the grackles, I'm seeing all the usual birds; turkeys and jays and goldfinches and chickadees and titmice and downies etc., but most of these don't really use the regular feeders this time of year. Nyjer is very popular and the house sparrows don't seem too interested in it. I'm still seeing thrashers.

I still have some hummers, all female or juveniles, I haven't seen a male for a while. I don't know if there are still some residents here or if they're all transients.

It's getting too late for jelly/jam feeders. My orioles are long gone and the catbirds, while still here, are off eating pokeberries and whatever. Of course, if you enjoy feeding yellow jackets and hornets, the jelly/jam feeder will be appreciated.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

For some reason I'm getting error messages when I try to upload to photobucket tonight, so I'm going to try using the image file upload option. This is a monarch butterfly that was hanging out on my tithonia this afternoon.


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Another shot of my monarch

Another shot of my monarch


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Grasshopper

Lastly - is this a grasshopper? He was hanging out on a stray maple leave that landed on one of my hot pepper plants.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 15, 12 at 10:58

Your tithonia is definitely earning its keep, pixie_lou. Lovely photos all. That last one may be of a katydid. Here's another katydid site. I've been hearing lots of noise at night which is probably katydids.

Claire (who loves a reason to google and learn about interesting critters)


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

Claire - I think you are right with katydid. Thanks for doing my research!

What is now called the tithonia planter was originally destined to be a butterfly nectar planter. The tithonia is definitely doing it's job! I removed 2 of the echinacea's I planted there. I'm waiting for the 3rd one to go to seed, then I will remove the seed heads and transplant the plant. Hopefully the 2 tithonias will survive the winter, and I'll just add annual zinnias and lantanas to the planter next spring. I will have to say that this planter has become my favorite part of the back yard!

I like the added bonus that the tithonia seed heads attract finches.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 15, 12 at 20:55

I just realized that this thread is getting really long, so I'm starting a new one (2012 #6). Feel free to continue the discussion here if you want.

Claire


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