Saturday, August 01, 2009

Backyard Summer Daze

As we slide into August, it's hard to believe we've been in summer at all. This is the first July that we have not exceeded 90 degrees even once all month! When I was a kid, we had the entire month of August as vacation from school. Someone said our children in Jefferson County, KY, start back to school in only two weeks. How time flies! What's happening in the Dennis backyard? Take a look.....
The Cooper's Hawks nesting in the pine tree next door are doing well. Their two babies are just about ready to fledge. They have most of their primary feathers, and jump from branch to branch, flapping their wings actively. When Mom flies in with a bite to eat, they whistle, so I know to take a look. Their nest is situated for privacy, and can only be seen from my driveway, with the scope pointing straight up in the air for a good view! Sometimes they look down at me, wondering what in the world that strange being is doing down there. Can you see two young birds in the first picture? I hope I get to see them fly before they leave the neighborhood.
The butterfly garden is at its peak. A Red Admiral came by this week, for a butterfly lifer.
Monarch butterflies are supposed to like milkweed in particular. We have three different varieties, but I seem them most often on the butterfly bushes. I'll keep an eye on the milkweed for eggs or caterpillars though.
Butterfly gardens attract insects other than butterflies in great numbers. This large bee-like insect is actually a Nessus moth. I saw Clearwing moths last summer, a similar looking insect. These moths flap their wings to hover, like bees, and they resemble huge bees more than anything.
I never realized that bees come in so many sizes and varieties. I think this is a Carpenter bee - one of the bumble bee species. It's at least an inch long with a shiny black abdomen. Large bees, small bees, wasps that look like bees...maybe next year I will invest some time becoming more familiar with them since so many come to visit our garden.
The grass that grows in the yard gets chopped off before it can reproduce, but this dwarf Fountain Grass is going to seed now. How delicate the seed heads are! I'll have to look for any birds that might eat the seeds.
I never know if we have one hummer, or more than one little female coming to sip from the Cardinal flower. I have not seen a single male all summer though.
You'll just have to imagine the Gold Finches on these Black-eyed Susans. By the time I get the camera, they fly away. I guess this is called "virtual birding."
I love sitting on our screened porch. It protects me from mosquitos, while I keep an eye on anything that flies in the yard. And, yes, the creek we installed is still babbling away!


Cynthia Becker said...

I came to your blog by accident while following links in a search on Sterling Price. What a delightful find. Your photos are wonderful.

bill said...

Beautiful photos, wish I had found your blog sooner. Featured on Nature Blog Network I tuned in.....very nice!