First Signs of Fall

In my backyard, one of the first signs of fall is the return of the Pine Warblers to the feeders.

The color tones of these birds (especially the males) is a perfect match for the golden leaves of autumn.

It’s so nice to have these beauties back.

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From Faded to Fluorescent

The American Painted Lady is a frequent visitor to the front yard butterfly bush.

A bit more muted than most, this butterfly is often mistaken for a moth, especially with its furry body.

One way to tell that it is actually a butterfly is that its antennae have small balls (or clubs) on the ends rather than being feathery-edged.  Also, this creature of subtler beauty is diurnal – one of those sciency type words that means active in the daytime; moths, on the other hand, tend to be more active at night.

Don’t you just love the eye spots on the wings?  In my mind, this is a stroke of creative genius, as it lures predators to nip at the less essential areas of the body.

Despite not being as vibrant as other butterflies, I still find them quite lovely.

As I stood and watched this Painted Lady flutter about, I glanced over to the Zinnias and was nearly blinded by the brilliant colors of a Gulf Fritillary.

The sun was truly highlighting this beauties bright colors.

I tried to get a picture of him in flight, but he was to darty for me to keep up with.

I know I’ve said it before, but I find the patterns on this butterfly absolutely amazing.

I figure it’s a good day when you get faded and fluorescent in the same photo shoot. 🙂

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An Irma Evacuee?

As I was refilling the feeders this afternoon, some movement in the tree-tops caught my attention.  It was a bird that I had never seen before in my backyard.

Up in the canopy of leaves, he was darn near impossible to get a clear picture of, but I fired off some shots with the hopes that I would at least get a good enough photo to identify this new-to-me visitor.

Once I had transferred the pictures from my camera to my computer, I enlisted my hubby’s help in the id process.  The first step was to call out the characteristics…like buff belly with a yellow beak…

…bigger than a Blue Jay with a Hawkish oval-decorated tail…

…brownish gray back…

…enjoys dining on caterpillars.

With the help of whatbird.com, we found out that our never-before-seen guest was a Yellow-billed Cuckoo bird!  Now, to me, that name has a rare and exotic ring to it, and since I had never seen one before (or even heard of one before) I thought perhaps this was an Irma evacuee.  But alas, with a little extra research, we found out that this bird is found throughout the whole eastern half of the United States during the summer months.

I tried using my telepathic powers to entice him to venture to a closer branch and then to pause and pose for me (channeling my inner aqua man…whom I did have a crush on as a young girl…okay, so I still have a crush on him…) but it would appear that my mental telepathy skills are as lacking as the rest of my mental faculties.

Even though he kept his distance, I thoroughly enjoyed having a Yellow-billed Cuckoo for a visitor…

…and I promised him a plentiful supply of caterpillars if he would return. 🙂

 

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Stained Glass Wings

As Irma drops branches in my backyard (I’m hoping some are good for Bark Butter!) I am processing pictures from this past week and thought I’d share this majestic Monarch that dropped in.

Monarchs are not common visitors to my front yard, so I was thrilled when this beauty stopped by to enjoy the blossoms.

There is something about its stained glass wing appearance that ushers in a bit of reverence.

This particular Monarch was rather flitty and preferred a wings-closed posture while nipping at the nectar; but every once in awhile it would leave its wings spread for a split second while landing, so I managed to snap a couple shots.

In this end of summer season when my birds aren’t looking their finest (many are molting!) it is nice to have the butterflies to photograph.

I know there is a lot of brokenness in this world we live in, but I’m grateful there’s an abundance of beauty too. 🙂

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Labor Day Lab Life

I think Labor Day is Tucker’s favorite holiday, and it’s not because Retrievers are a working dog breed (trust me, that is not the case for him!) but rather because the weather is cool enough for hiking but warm enough for playing in the water.

Today we took him to the trails at Lake Allatoona and our beautiful beast (I know, l am slightly biased!) had a blast!

His routine went pretty much like this: wait, fetch, return, repeat.

The water started off mildly muddy, but got progressively clay colored as his romping and retrieving continued.

By the end, the area near the shore was major-league muddy, which didn’t phase him in the least.  I mean, let’s face it, this fellow finds it delightful to dive into mud puddles!

Tucker was definitely loving the lab life with all the leaping, lunging, and occasional lounging.  And like any toddler, he refused to admit when he was tired out.

I think I’ll close with my favorite picture of the day and simply say…

Happy Tails to you!  And happy Labor Day too. 🙂

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Loitering at the Lantana

When I was out in the front yard with Tucker this morning (who is now 7 months old) I saw a lovely Gulf Fritillary loitering around the Lantana.  This is a butterfly that practically begs to have its picture taken, so I was happy to grab my camera and oblige.

Between the brightness of the sun, the brightness of the blossoms, and the brightness of the butterfly itself…well, let’s just say there was a lot of brightness going on!

I know that summer will soon be saying farewell, but I’ll enjoy these butterfly visits for as long as they last.

And by the way…Tucker had his first trip to the dog park today…pretty sure this is his version of “King of the Mountain.”

I enjoy him even more than the butterflies. 🙂

 

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Good Things Come…

When I first walked out into the front yard with my camera this afternoon there was very little activity – but the sun was shining and my soul was in need of a little photo-therapy, so I decided to wait awhile and see who showed up.

After about 15 minutes of standing still and silent I was rewarded with a visit from a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, who made a beeline for the Butterfly Bush.

Next this flitty little female headed over to investigate one of the few remaining Canna Lily…

…and then she hovered about the Zinnia’s for a bit.



After perching briefly on a nearby vine – perhaps to pause and savor the flavor of the nectar…

…she darted back over to the Zinnia’s for some more taste-testing.

It was such a treat to get to take her picture today.  I guess it must be true that good things (or at least good things with wings) do indeed come to those who wait.

 

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