Tuesday, September 30, 2008

One Hour In My Backyard

This afternoon I spent one hour in our over planted, overgrown backyard just observing the wildlife there. It was pretty amazing and there was a LOT I didn't photograph. I DIDN'T photograph the squirrels, including the short-tailed one I nicknamed "Stumpy". I didn't photograph the many tiny butterflies or the $%@^&* pigeons or the chipping sparrows. I didn't photograph the bees and wasps. Here is what I DID photograph:

This bird is a black throated blue warbler - a first for our backyard. The only other place I've seen this warbler is on a trip we took to Jacksonville one time. There were two of them and they flew right over my head a few times as they went back and forth from one set of bushes to another eating insects.

What got me to go outdoors to begin with was the sight of a male common yellowthroat through the window of my computer room. Outside that window is a Cape Honeysuckle bush that we have to constantly trim back. The yellowthroat was deep in the bushes, but I could see him from my side of the window. If there hadn't been a screen to ruin the photo, I'd have taken a picture of him from there. Once I went outside in search of him, I found the black throated blue warbler and got distracted. It took about 45 minutes before I could get a picture of the common yellowthroat. I saw him several times, but by the time I put the camera to my eye, he had moved too far for me to track. I'm not sure if the third pictre is a female common yellowthroat or a female black throated blue warbler - they are pretty drab compared to their mates - and they look somewhat similar from a distance.

The day wouldn't be complete without at least one dragonfly:

And one Skipper:

Then there was the swallowtail butterfly that I've seen so often but never been able to photo. He stopped long enough to let me take pictures today, although they didn't come out as sharp as I would have liked:

There were the usual birds. The bluejays usually get their picture taken, but not so much today. I couldn't resist this one fellow who looked like he wanted me to take his picture:

We have a pink bougainvillea that has one pure white flower on it amongst the pink - kind of like an albino flower. I have no idea how that happened - it's the first time I've ever seen that, but I took a picture of it amongst it's "siblings":

Here is boat tailed grackle next to a dove - two of the regular visitors to our yard. My husband and I notice each August how the birds look like they've been in a bar fight. Their feathers are scraggly and missing, some have no feathers on their heads or no tails. They look awful. Then, come September, their molt is finished and they look absolutely beautiful. This fellow is no exception:

The red winged blackbirds are back, too. There was a first year male in our yard. You can still see the speckles almost finished turning pure black. His wings were beautiful and I tried to get a few photos where he was moving his wing so you could appreciate his "epaulettes":

Here is the female redwing:

The redbellied woodpecker was visiting today, also. We put peanuts and suet out for him, so he and his wife are regulars. Here, he is telling the red wing to take a hike:

Here is the red bellied woodpecker using his long beak to reach into a feeder he is not supposed to be able to get into - but I don't mind:

Even though this warbler wasn't in my backyard that I know of today, he WAS there on Saturday - er, rather, she. I almost always see female American Red starts, never the male.

Just for fun, I'll add a couple of photos that were taken recently in the Everglades. These are migrant warblers:

Rudolph the Red Nosed Dragonfly? Plus, he has a Snidely Whiplash mustache:

Pretty everglades sweet smelling vine:

Weird everglades yellow flower:

A honey bee and a bumble bee - I love bumble bees - it doesn't seem possible for such a fat bug to be able to fly with those little wings. I'm seeing a lot more honey bees both in my yard and everywhere down here - I am SO relieved!!

Beautiful jewel-like fly:

A Cardinal in the Everglades and a White-Eyed Vireo:

Last, but not least, a flycatcher that was trying to nap with his foot tucked up into his chest:

That's it for now. Phew!


Unknown said...

So often in the Everglades I find myself "defaulting" to the big wading birds ... probably because they are easiest to see. Your post reminds me there's more than meets the eye than just the "mega" wading fauna!

Susan Humeston said...

I've always been fascinated by the beautiful, but difficult to photograph, warbler migrants. My goal is to photograph a Painted Bunting - I have not been able to do that yet - and once I've done that, I'll feel like my life is fulfilled.

Anonymous said...

Wow - those photos were spectacular and to think that they were all from your backyard is awesome. Thank you for taking the time to upload these and share them with us.

Susan Humeston said...

Danielle - thank you! I'm always amazed at the amount of wildlife in any square foot of Florida as opposed to other places in the country.

Anonymous said...

Your pictures are incredible! Thank yhou for sharing. Jody

Susan Humeston said...

Thank you Jody! And thanks for visiting.