A Second Batch of Babies

My backyard has been bombarded by a second batch of babies.

Some of these youngsters have been granted the privilege of venturing forth on their own – like this Red-bellied Woodpecker, this Red-headed Woodpecker, and this juvenile Blue Jay.

Others are still coming in the company of a parent, and continue to be quite vocal about making their hunger known…like this Red-winged Blackbird baby (who looks nothing like its Daddy!)…

…and this delightful, yet demanding, baby Bluebird.

So, if you’re looking for piece and quiet, my backyard is not currently the place to be, but if you are in search of some entertainment, it’s just the spot!

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Gallivanting at the Gardens

Yesterday morning, hubby and I went on an impromptu date to nearby Smith-Gilbert Gardens.

My hope was to get a few Butterfly photos and maybe a Hummingbird or two…and both of these hopes were granted.

This Zebra Longwing (one of my favorites) obliged me by lounging on leaves…

…and feasting on flowers.

He was particularly fond of the Lantana.

A handful of Hummingbirds were also buzzing about.

Some positioned themselves on perches, guarding their territory…

…while others were busy partaking of the flower nectar.

These delightful darters are enjoyable to watch, though difficult to capture in a non-blurry photo.

As always, my hubby patiently toted my camera bag and waited in the summer sun while I snapped pictures. To say I had a hot date would be doubly true!

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This Monarch Missed the Memo

I think my butterflies have taken this social distancing thing to heart, as I have had far fewer visiting my front yard flowers than summers past.

So, I was thrilled when this Monarch showed up, who apparently missed the memo.

He spent a good bit of time flitting about the Zinnia bed…

…sipping and sampling with no competition other than a few bees.

Later, he flew over to the flower box (also with Zinnias) that my hubby built to try and entice more butterflies and hummingbirds to come and pose for pictures.

I’m glad a picture paints a thousand words, because there really aren’t words adequate to describe how beautiful these butterflies are.

I’m still hopeful that some Fritillaries and Swallowtails and a whole host of Skippers will be arriving any day now…

…but in the meantime, I’m grateful for a few moments with this Monarch.

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Pretty Petal Pickers

I spent time with the prettiest petal pickers the other day!

My front yard was filled with busy Goldfinches visiting the flowers, relieving them of their petals in search of seeds.

There were finches on the Black-eyed Susans…

… finches on the red Sunflowers…

…but mostly, there were finches feasting on the Zinnias.

This poor fellow painstakingly picked petal after petal…

…only to have a watchful, yet wily female swoop in and say, “I’ll take it from here.”

But the coy coup didn’t seem to deter him in the least. He merely flew off…

…landed on a stem to survey the selection…

…and proceeded to repeat the petal picking process!

These beauties brighten any day!

 

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Summer Wings Are Beautiful Things

Now that summer has officially arrived and the flowers are in full bloom, the front yard visitors have begun to make an appearance.

Butterflies, though later than usual, are sampling the purple blossoms from the bush that bears their name – like this male Tiger Swallowtail…

…and this female Tiger Swallowtail, of the “dark morph” variety.

Bees have been busy investigating the cone flowers…

…and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have been spotted flitting about.

My favorite visitor of this start to the summer season was this Hummingbird Moth, a creature that is difficult to capture in a photo (At least for me!) but fascinating to watch!

Ahhh…summer wings are beautiful things!

 

 

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Delightful Daredevils

White-breasted Nuthatches are always delightful backyard visitors.

Though mine tend to be drippy drinkers…

…these well dressed daredevils are highly entertaining to watch.

This guy seemed to be giving me his best Batman impersonation!

Friendly and fairly fearless are accurate descriptions of these black and white beauties.

I’m grateful to have them not only as year round guests…

…but as performers who take their pay in peanuts!

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3-D Bluebird Babies!

My backyard is swarming with Bluebird babies lately – little ones who are demanding, dangerous, yet oh so delightful!

One of the easiest ways to spot a youngster is to watch for the one whose mouth is wide open and whose wings are frantically flapping.


These babies demand food from their Mama…


….they demand food from their Daddy…


…and basically sit and demand food from whoever is willing to bring it!

The delivery of this food is not for the faint of heart!

Feeding baby Bluebirds is a dangerous ordeal. The parent is in danger of losing their balance…

…in danger of losing their face…

…and in danger of being “food bombed” by a hungry sibling.

I would say that these Bluebird parents put their whole heart into feeding their little ones, but it’s really more like their whole head!

Occasionally, a reprimand is needed when a little one is a bit overzealous in the food receiving!

Bluebird babies are a delight to watch…

…especially when they are discovering something for the first time – like this little fellow who was experiencing his first frolic in the fountain.

There is no better way to add beauty to the backyard than to have a steady stream of Bluebirds and their babies.

I’d say that babies in the backyard is by far the best part of Spring!

 

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Excellence or Evidence

The first bluebird baby of the season ventured to the feeders today.

Up until this point, Mom and Dad had been busy loading up on mealworms and flying off to the nesting box to deliver the food – a sort of aviary-uber-eats routine.

But now, Junior is accompanying them to the backyard, and like most little ones, he is not known for his patient waiting!

I had to laugh at Dad, who seemed as if he was trying to bring three meals (or at least three mealworms!) in one delivery.

I was telling my husband, sometimes you take a picture aiming for “excellence” and sometime just for “evidence” – these pictures are of the latter variety.

I do have to say though, this little one seems to be a chip off the old block.

Who knows, maybe in the days ahead I’ll be able to get the perfect picture on the perfect perch in the perfect lighting…or…maybe I’ll just be glad to have gotten these!

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Power Outage Pictures

A brief but boisterous storm swept through the area this past weekend, leaving flash flooding, downed trees and a power outage in its wake…which seemed like a perfect picture taking time to me!

As soon as the rain subsided, I filled the feeders and the birds began to arrive.

This bedraggled Blue Jay was the first to drop in and check out the offerings.

A young Thrasher showed up soon after and awkwardly gobbled up Bark Butter…

…while an adult waited in the wings.

My Red-headed Woodpecker couple was quick to show up. I was so hoping they would land together and pose for a shot, but they took turns. He swooped in first and grabbed a peanut from the tray…

…and then she helped herself to some Bark Butter from the branch.

A grey catbird showed up to pose and then grab some grub to go.

My catbird couple has a youngster, but they haven’t let it come to the feeders yet.

A damp-feathered Red-bellied Woodpecker dropped in…

…as did a brilliant male Cardinal.

My favorite visitor of the day was a juvenile male Downy Woodpecker. I’m pretty sure it was his first time venturing forth alone and he acted like he had discovered the land of never-ending delight. It was so fun to watch him explore…

…and discover the peanut pole.

He was such a cutie! You can tell he is a juvenile not just by his behavior, but also because the red patch of feathers is on the top of his head instead of the back of his head.

Picture taking was certainly a lovely way to pass the time during the power outage.

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Backyard Babies

Spring is the season for backyard babies, and the Downy Woodpeckers were the first to bring their little one to the feeders.

Dad had the early feeding duty…

…and later Mom took a turn.

The chickadees were the next to arrive with a demanding youngster.

Several other birds have had babies, but have not yet let them accompany them to the feeders – at least, not when I have been out with a camera.

I’m hoping that Bluebirds will bring their little bundles of joy soon…they are always fun to photograph with their open-beaked, wing-flapping antics.

 

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