Monday, October 17, 2011

Folded Wing Skipper

Folded wing Skipper
Yesterday my flower gardens were full of butterflies, especially skippers. The zinnias and marigolds are a magnet for these small butterflies.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Just Good Dirt

tree frog covered in potting soil
Today I planted pansies in some special pots (I'll show off those pots later!) When I was adding potting soil from a bucket, I found a frog turning in the soil. Did it come out of the potting soil bag? or the bucket? Frogs will find their way into potting soil,but that is usually late in the season when they find places to winter over.

I pulled it out of the soil and encouraged it onto one of my Jade plants, then ran for my camera. This little one was caked in good dirt!

I did give it a very gentle rinse when I watered in the pansies. And with the weight of the soil gone, this little one was soon gone too.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A shot at breakfast

While enjoying my French omelette with German strawberry preserves (yum!), a loud shot sound interrupted the quiet of my Sunday morning meal. The kitchen door was open, the storm door with the half window was closed. A look outside and there was a Brown Thrasher on the stoop. Completely dazed and collapsing, it obviously hit the window in full flight.
Brown Thrasher after crashing into window
This was unexpected, especially with my frog dirtied window pane.
After checking the bird, I grabbed my camera for a couple shots and then moved it to a flower garden for a hopeful recovery. I know the bird was hurt but it was a treasure to be able to hold it in my hands. There was no struggle just a little twitching of the feet, a good sign.

A check about 15 minutes later and it had moved a bit, hiding under a hydrangea. The head was moving and then it flew! with strong wings! Applause!

What happened? Perhaps the Thrasher was taking a shot at its breakfast. This very large (over 3 inches) caterpillar was found climbing up the wall adjacent to the kitchen door. Maybe it was on the door at the time of the bird's collision? It is a large moth caterpillar, but which one I do not know.

Large moth caterpillar

Later in the day I heard the Brown Thrasher sing again. I think it was my breakfast Thrasher, ready for another shot ... at life!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Aye, the Gnats!

Gnats over trees
Travel these parts in the dark, very early morning hours and you will slide through clouds of gnat-like insects. It's an amazing experience for former city dwellers. As a now long time resident, these bugs are nothing new. But here they are clouding up the skies in the late morning. I caught this cloud above my trees and watched birds and larger insects fly through them, feeding on the plenty. And I will say my frogs are very fat!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Male American Redstart

Male American Redstart in migration Currituck
American Redstart Male in migration Currituck
I have long watched for this fine thing. A fellow birder from way back asked 'have you seen the American Redstart?' I study my guides so when I saw it this morning I knew exactly what it was. You will have to excuse my handheld camera shots, but I had to catch him while he was here. The female was here last month and I have spotted her for three years.
(Here's a link to my shots of her from last year: )

He's very orange where she is yellow, and black where she is grey.

What a pretty bird, reminds me of the Orchard Oriole with his orange and black feathers, but the Redstart has plenty of white. The Redstart is very busy, looping in and out, very warbler-like in his actions.

Now this was a great start to shocking cool morning.