As I’ve mentioned before, my front yard Lantana has become a favorite hangout for the neighborhood butterflies. The most recent flower feaster was this stunning Gulf Fritillary.
These guys have such a cool design – right down to their spotted eyeballs!
The top side of their wings (which you can get a glimpse of in the picture below) is a bright pattern of orange and black, while the underside has a bit of a stained glass window look.
Now, I have to confess, I’m pretty sure the neighbors are about to label me loony, since I’m losing track of the number of times they have seen me semi-reclined in my driveway, melting away in the hot sun, trying to get a ground level photo! But hey, when I download the pictures and see one that leaves me standing in awe of God’s handiwork, it makes the ruined reputation (and the burned bottom) worth it!
This last picture was taken when the Fritillary flew over to the nearby Purple Queen and perched for a moment. I am so hoping that one of my more artistic blogging buddies will paint it!
I wonder what butterfly will show up next!
With the Olympics right around the corner, it only seemed fitting that I should channel my inner gymnast while taking pictures on my deck this past weekend.
I wanted to photograph a Red-bellied Woodpecker from a slightly different vantage point, which required some stretching and balancing and leaning over the deck rail – all the while hoping that my balancing act wouldn’t turn into a tumbling routine!
Now, to say that I’m less than limber would be an understatement, so my session was short-lived, but I did manage to fire off a handful off shots (and just to be literal, I’ll include five!) of this handsome fellow.
Had any judges been watching, I’m sure I would have been docked for my poor form and sub-par coordination; but one thing’s for sure – this guy’s looks alone should warrant him a perfect score.
The Fiery Skippers must have spread the word that my front yard Lantana is the hottest spot in town! Other butterflies have now started stopping by, like this lovely Spicebush Swallowtail who dropped in for some nectar nippin’.
He was constantly fluttering his wings as he moved from one cluster of blossoms to the next, never sitting still for more than a second.
I was hoping he would bask a bit so I could get a shot at the top side of his wings, but the best I could do was sneak a quick picture as he was coming in for a landing. It’s a tad blurry, but I still wanted you to see how different the coloring and markings are.
Watching the Spicebush Swallowtail, whose wingspan is about four inches across, flutter about with the Fiery Skippers is a little like seeing Gulliver hanging out with the Lilliputians!
I love taking pictures of my backyard birds, but I have to say, the front yard butterflies are keeping me captivated!
We often sing a song at church with lyrics that proclaim, “You’re a good, good Father”…well, I’m pretty sure the same could be said of the male Bluebird who brings his brood to my backyard feeders.
Although the babies are quite capable of feeding themselves at this point, they are still not above begging for food if Dad is around.
And Dad rarely disappoints them.
Every once in awhile he does look fed up with the feeding duties.
Still, he really is a good father!
It has been a real treat to have such a bounty of Bluebird babies this year!
My Lantana has been covered with Fiery Skippers lately, busy sipping nectar in the summer sun. They don’t seem to mind the near hundred degree temperatures in the least.
These button-eyed butterflies are fast, flighty, and rarely sit still for more than a second.
They are only about the size of a nickel, so their small size and constant motion makes them a bit challenging to photograph. Let’s just say they fly far faster than I focus!
Still, they are lovely against the bright flower petals and it is a delight to watch them flit about.
The backyard is bursting with babies these days!
And one of the many hungry mouths to feed is a young Red-bellied Woodpecker.
The other day, Mom left him high up in the pine tree where he was well concealed, and gave him clear instructions to stay put while she made a fast food flight.
Well, needless to say, he didn’t obey! As soon as she left, he proceeded to move ten feet lower and one tree closer…
…and then a moment later, he flew over to wait for her on the bark butter branch.
She returned with a beakful of food for this hungry little guy…
…and then left him squawking for more while she flew off for seconds.
Never a dull moment when there are baby birds around!
I spent yesterday afternoon with my folks and came down with a severe case of Hummingbird envy!
These glowing green birds were dipping and darting all over their backyard. I was hoping to get a picture of one sipping from a Trumpet Vine, but that area seemed to be an arena for all out aerial attacks!
Instead, I snapped a few photos of this fellow…
…who was content to steal some nectar from the feeder while the others around him were busy fighting. Not quite as pretty as having him perched on a flower, but it will have to do!