Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Dedicated Dad

This summer seemed like a particularly good one for the cardinal couple that frequented my back yard. 

This youngster is from their third brood. You can tell it's still a baby because it still has a brown bill, even though it's as big as the adults.

Dad looks a bit worse for wear, missing a few feathers around his head.  I don't know - do cardinals tear their feathers out with frustration with their young?

They can be pretty demanding, after all!

But, he seems to be up for the challenge - especially with a little help from the sunflower feeder! 

The cardinals do a great job of working together and I enjoy watching their cooperative parenting.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Going a Little Buggy!

Sometimes, it's the little things that capture my attention. A flash of movement or an unusual shape will catch my eye and I try for a closer look.

This American Pelecinid Wasp appears fierce, but that nasty looking stinger is used primarily to insert eggs into unsuspecting grubs, thereby helping to control beetle populations. 

This Bronze Copper butterfly is pretty unassuming and well camouflagd. 

Well, at least it is until it opens its wings and displays its brilliant colors.

It's pretty hard to miss at that point, even though it's small. 

I feel fortunate to be able to explore the world with Baloo every day!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

South until Spring

On a recent rainy day, I spent some time hidden away with my camera to try and capture a few pictures of the last hummingbirds of the season. 

This female would perch in the hydrangea and swoop in to drink a little 'hummer sauce'. 

Then, alighting on the wire that holds the feeder, guard the precious food source from all interlopers. 

If she got chased off, she would simply hide in the hydrangea until the coast was clear again and return to her vigil.

She didn't even bother to take shelter when it started pouring. 

She just hunkered down and defended her territory (you can see the streaks from the raindrops in the background).

There were four feeders in different parts of the yard, but it never seems to matter - they like to fight over them, anyway. (Note the male marauder coming in from the left to threaten the stronghold.)

They've all flown south until the spring migration begins again. I'll miss the chattering and jousting matches (I think they look like tiny airborne jousters with their long, lance-like beaks!) and their aerial acrobatics - they have such expressive tails that fan out and seem to reflect their feisty moods as well as guide their flight. See you guys in when you return in the spring!