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.