Tag: summertime

Photography Challenge Day 194: The red-shouldered hawk flying away (a short post).

The winner of today’s photography challenge is the hawk that flew off in mid-shot, but I still managed to get two decent pictures of it in flight.

Red-shouldered hawk in flight

I’m pretty sure that this is the red-shouldered hawk and not the red-tailed hawk, due to the red on the breast as it was flying past me.

Red-shouldered hawk flying into the trees

I’m wondering if I interrupted this one while it was hunting—as I had noticed it sitting on top of a light post, but when I got close to get it’s picture—it flew off towards some trees. I followed, but I didn’t notice the exact limb that it had landed on, so I continued on my walk to see what other birds I could spot.

They are hunters, and their prey ranges from small mammals to reptiles and amphibians. Though they have been seen to also eat other birds (including young owlets, sparrows, and doves).

They’re year round residents of the area, so I will be keeping an eye out for them on my walks to see if I can spot them in trees, on light posts, or just flying through the area.

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Photography Challenge Day 177: Another mockingbird on campus (shortish post)

So the winner of today’s photography challenge is the mockingbird that I saw on campus this afternoon. So while the temperatures were still hotter than normal for this time of year (basically low triple digits, with a heat index probably ten to fifteen degrees hotter), I still went for a walk at lunch (mainly to get some chocolate).

As I was heading to the student union I noticed a mocking bird land at the top of a cedar bush, so I stopped and took it’s picture.

Mockingbird talking about the weather.

It didn’t seem happy with the temperatures (and who is happy with them)—hopefully it flew by the fountain in front of the library to cool off a little.

Since I’ve already done a post on mockingbirds, including interesting facts—I’ll just link to it—mockingbird. One thing I do find impressive about them—their ability to listen to something and then almost perfectly mimic it (hence their name—mockingbird).

I’m going to see if I can manage to get pictures of other birds on campus–such as sparrows, grackles, and starlings. If I manage to walk down by Theta Pond, I might see some ducks. Lunch walks may now become a thing I do–just to help get the steps in and hopefully as a way of managing stress and anxiety a bit better.

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Photography Challenge Day 176: The visitors to the nectar feeder

So it has been the dog days of summer lately and I haven’t made it up to Boomer Lake in about two weeks. Not that I don’t want to–but I’m not fond of overheating before ten in the morning (and water doesn’t stay that cold, that long). At least I managed to get some pictures of various birds in the backyard this afternoon (yes, I was crazy for sitting outside today–though I did have an outdoor fan going).

The winners of today’s photography challenge are the hummingbirds and the swallowtail butterfly.

Swallowtail butterfly drinking from the nectar feeder

So I had noticed that there was something at the nectar feeder that was upsetting the one hummingbird that was coming in to feed. This was one of the first times I’ve seen a hummingbird try to attack something. Once I got closer I realized that it was a swallowtail butterfly. I was able to get pretty close to it, but stayed back enough that it didn’t feel threatened. I was able to watch it a good five minutes or so drink, before it flew off.

Hummingbird sitting waiting for fresh sugar water.

So I’m not sure if it was the same hummingbird that tried to run off the butterfly, but one sat above us in the tree semi-patiently waiting for new nectar/sugar water to be brought out for consumption.

Hummingbird coming in to eat

The feeder has been popular this summer, especially since the flowers on some of the bushes seem to fall off as soon as they bloom lately.

And it’s eating……….

I’m pretty sure that this hummingbird is either a young one or a female–because I didn’t see any red on it’s throat–which rules out it being a mature male ruby throated hummingbird. Since we are almost halfway through August, it means that we’re also entering the start of the fall migration season already. Hopefully that means seeing hummingbirds at the feeder daily until they’ve all headed south.

Hopefully I will make it up to Boomer Lake this coming weekend for an early morning walk and see if there are any migratory birds starting to stay in town already.

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Photography Challenge Day 171: Wisteria seed pods

The winner of today’s photography challenge are wisteria seed pods.

Wisteria seed pods

The wisteria is a climbing vine that is native to the eastern part of the United States. This flowering vine is actually a member of the pea family—which is one reason why it’s seed pods look like pea pods.

Though unlike peas—wisteria plants are poisonous, so it shouldn’t be planted in areas where child play, and shouldn’t be planted in areas where someone might accidentally pick the seed pods and eat the seeds.

We have the wisteria growing along the back fence, and I’ve been thinking of trying to start a new wisteria vine elsewhere in the yard—that way once it does flower (in ten to fifteen years), it can be seen closer to the house, and it may add value to the house whenever it comes time to sell. The only thing is—I’ve never tried to grow the plant before (the one we have, we got as a smaller plant from a friend who was thinning her’s out).

But I’m thinking that I’ll check on the wisteria over the next couple of months and maybe pick a seed pod or two, and see how many seeds are inside. Then I’ll dry them out, put them in an container for the winter and then try planting them somewhere in the spring. If nothing else, we’ll get some green growth going as the vines are suppose to start growing rapidly.

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Photography Challenge Day 161: Moths, butterflies, and dragonflies–oh my.

The winners of today’s photography challenge are some of the insects that I saw on my morning walk this morning at Boomer Lake. Both the temperature and humidity were low enough this morning, that I decided to get in my morning zen and see what type of wildlife I could see at Boomer Lake.

I’ve decided to be more in the moment and not just look for birds, turtles, and rabbits–but also pay attention to the smaller things that are buzzing around (or splashing around for that matter).

These two I saw pretty early in my walk. I’m not sure what type of moths they are, but at least I managed to get a picture of them with their wings spread out. There have been times when I only manage to get the picture when their wings are up and you can hardly see the butterfly (or moth).

Orange moths or butterflies resting on the leaves near the shore.

I then saw this orange and black butterfly a little later in my walk—I think it is a pearl crescent butterfly. This particular butterfly can be difficult to identify (markings change), which is why I’m only guessing at the identification. But if it is a pearl crescent butterfly—they’re found throughout the eastern United States, southern Canada, and Mexico.

Possibly a pearl crescent butterfly

Finally there was this small butterfly or moth, that just wouldn’t spread it’s wings. I know that it was a yellow-orange color, but that is all I managed to get. I stood there for awhile waiting to see if it would spread it’s wings–but it had more patience than I did–it out waited me and I moved on.

Little orange/yellow butterfly (or moth) that didn’t want to show it’s wings

Then I noticed that there were some dragonflies fluttering around, and I decided to see if I could get a good picture of one landing/resting on a flower or some grass. Well I managed to get a picture of one resting on a blade of grass–and I managed to get a surprise in the picture as well. I didn’t realize at the time, that there was a little grasshopper sitting on the underside of the blade of grass.

Dragonfly and a little grasshopper sharing a blade of grass

Since it was such a wet spring, I’ve seen numerous dragonflies and hopefully that means in a year or two there will be another large number of dragonflies flying through the air eating all the mosquitoes.

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Photography Challenge Day 138: The fuzzy, little caterpillar (short post)

So today’s winner of the photography challenge was the fuzzy, little caterpillar that I brushed off my leg when sitting outside.

Fuzzy, black caterpillar crawling around outside.

I’ve always heard the old tales that fuzzy caterpillars were a sign that the winters were going to be really bitter and cold. Since this is the first one I’ve seen so far, I don’t know how much I’m going to believe that tale (until I start seeing quite a few of them).

It was really trucking along

I’ve always been curious to know what type of moth or butterfly different caterpillars change into, and so far I haven’t been able to identify the “adult” version of this caterpillar.

Hopefully it isn’t one that is going to strip the leaves off any of the trees or build the really ugly silk tents in the trees (as they strip off the leaves).

Once I’m able to figure out the adult/mature version of the caterpillar I will be back to update the blog post.

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