Archive for the ‘Birds’ Category

Wordless Wednesday

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Birds and Butterflies

(From upper L-R across & down: Cooper's Hawk, Swallowtail butterflies mating, Goldfinch and Monarch Butterfly)

Another shot of the same Monarch Butterfly

 Sorry about the Hawk shot being so blurry.  I took this through my kitchen window, so that Spaz wouldn’t scare it away.  The Swallowtails were high up in the Pecan tree doing their thing so I had to zoom in to capture them.  ;)  The Monarch wasn’t being too cooperative so I kept a distance and zoomed in as well.  Tried to capture it with the beautiful wingspread but it was flitting about too much.  The Goldfinch was a nice surprise since I haven’t too many of them this summer.  After I took this pic a few more showed up and then Spaz started barking.  She really makes capturing wildlife photos a bit of a challenge.  Have a nice weekend everyone!!!

A happy volunteer

Verbena bonariensis?

Verbena bonariensis?

This morning I spotted a nice surprise in the Shed Garden.  I’m pretty sure this little volunteer is one of my favorites Verbena bonariensis.  It’s also known as Brazillian Verbena, Stick Verbena, Upright Verbena and Purpletop Vervain.  Ever since the original plant popped up due to the wind or some generous bird I’ve wanted more of this perennial.  The ones I’ve purposely planted have never done as well as the happy accidents though.  This pretty wildlife attractor is native to tropical South America.   Here’s some more interesting facts:

  • Perennial in zones 7-11 (grow as an annual elsewhere)
  • Self seeds readily (invasive in some climates)
  • Full Sun to Partial Shade w/regular moisture
  • Attracts Goldfinches, Butterflies, Bees & Hummingbirds
  • Used in some Countries as a Veterinary Abortifacient
  • Grows up to 4′ tall and 3′ wide
  • Purple blooms from mid summer to mid fall
  • Flowers are good for drying/preserving
  • Drought tolerant or xeriscaping
  • Propogate from seeds and cuttings
  • Pinch first shoots in spring to encourage branching
  • Susceptible to powdery mildew in humid areas
  • Looks best planted in masses
  • No serious insect problems

The birds and the beans?

Yard Long IndeedWell today I realized how this bean came by its’ name (Yardlong Bean).  This one is at least 18″ long at the moment.  There are at least 3 more smaller ones forming as we speak.  Now I just need to come up with some tasty recipes for it.  Any suggestions?New bird feeder 001

I picked up this birdfeeding station yesterday.  Now I can put out twice as much nyger seed for my favorite backyard visitors, the goldfinches.  The dome acts as a reservoir and sort of a rain guard.  It’s so big I had to mount it to this tree.  Now I just have to sit back and enjoy the activity, which shouldn’t be too hard with the swing close by.  :)

Walking the Noland Trail

Noland Trail page

Earlier this year I mentioned that me & Hubby were trying to make healthier life choices.  We haven’t given up on that resolution either.  In fact we’ve been actively achieving these goals slowly by cutting out the processed food and getting plenty of exercise weekly.  We found another wonderful place to walk that is a short drive from the house.  It’s a nature preserve smack in the middle of the city.  The paths have been gently carved out in these wooded acres to make a 5 mile hike that is enjoyable as well.   This week I remembered my camera to capture some of the sights along the way to share with all of you.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Noland Trail Wildlife page

The amount of wildlife that call this nature preserve home is astounding.  Here’s just a few of the residents that happily live in these woods.  I know the shot of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is a bit blurry.  He was flitting around like crazy before he landed in this deeply shaded spot. 

The Noland Trail Plants page

Here’s some shots of the local vegetation.  From upper L-R across & down are: some type of Thistle, Gooseneck Loosestrife growing near water, an unknown wildflower, a gully of Swordferns, and a mass of Hellebores.  I also saw huge patches of Mayapples that had gone to fruit as well as trees & shrubs like Dogwoods and Azaleas.  For more information about this wonderful area you can click here.

More Snowy Day Pics

2009-03-02_101445Sorry I just couldn’t resist taking more photos of the garden covered in snow.  These are much better than the ones I took at 5 am since it isn’t blowing like crazy.  The dogs are really enjoying playing, running in it as well as eating it.  lol  As you can see my little photo hogs managed to get in a couple of the shots.  :)

Arbor Garden

Arbor Garden

Doesn’t the ‘Arbor Garden’  look pretty covered in snow?  I love how the red accents of the bench, washtub & berries of the Nandinas stand out against all that white. The two little shrubs in front (just to the right of the washtub) are Spirea ‘Goldmound’.  Even without foliage they look interesting at this time of the year. 

2009-03-02_102939

The Rhodie in the corner of the ‘Fountain Garden’ is looking weighted down with all that snow on it’s branches.  Hopefully it doesn’t cause any breakage.  Here you can see my Forsythia with yellow blooms & a light frosting.  Spaz managed to squeeze into another shot, look how the snow rested on the base of that tree.  I don’t think I will be sitting on the swing anytime soon, lol. 

more-snow-pics-in-march-2009-007

The other day when I went to fill the feeders from my pourable container the lid fell off, oops! ;)  Oh well the birds found the messy pile and are devouring it.  A few seconds after I took this shot Spaz noticed them and chased them away.  They’ll be back as soon as she wanders off again, lol.

A Predatory Visitor to the garden

hawk-on-fenceOver the weekend I had a interesting visitor to the garden.  After much research online I think this is a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk.   Of course I could be wrong with the identification so feel free to correct me.  I am no expert on birds but am always eager to learn whatever knowledge can be passed along my way.  Wish I could of gotten a better photo of  it.  I was looking out the kitchen window yesterday morning when it flew into my patio and landed in the wheelbarrow of firewood I keep by the back door.  Of course I was quite excited so I ran to grab my camera but it was hard to take a picture of it through the window so I tiptoed outside.  Unfortunately not quietly enough because it quickly flew over to the fence post.  This photo has been enlarged so you could see the beautiful markings on the back & tail.  From what I gathered online they feed on medium sized birds and small mammals such as voles and mice.  I’ve seen several of these this winter swooping into my yard which sends the birds at the feeders into a frenzy of flight.  They have become quite common in suburban and urban areas over the years.  Hopefully my feeders haven’t become a convenient buffet for their appetite.  Nature is violent and beautiful all rolled into one package.  For more information about this particular breed of birds you can go here.