How ‘Bout Them Birds

I have fond memories of going to the ballpark when I was growing up, watching the Baltimore Orioles play at Memorial Stadium.  Double-headers were the best; which in those days meant two games for the price of one.  We would devour footlong hotdogs (our version of fine dining!) while loudly cheering for the hometeam and boisterously booing the umps.  When it came time for the 7th inning stretch we all sang along (really, twang along!) to “Thank God I’m a Country Boy,” never missing a single word.  Over the course of the games the voices of vendors rang through the air – “Cold beer! Ice cold beer! and “Peanuts!  Get your peanuts!” And when the game was done and the O’s had won, we would smile and say, “How ’bout them Birds!”

Sometimes, as I am filling the feeders in my backyard I am tempted to use my best vendor voice and call out, “Peanuts!  Get your Peanuts!”  But my backyard birds have no need of an announcement; peanuts are always a favorite offering and they need no enticing to partake of them.

Some choose to eat from the trays on the deck rail..

Brown Thrasher

American Robin

Blue Jay

…while others prefer to pluck peanuts from the hanging feeder.

Red-headed Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

As I watch them devouring the fare (their version of fine dining!) I smile and say, “How bout them birds!”

 

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A Good, Good Father

One of my favorite contemporary worship songs is called, “You’re a Good, Good Father” – the chorus of which usually leaves me a bit misty-eyed.

Well, that’s the title that came to mind as I watched this male Red-bellied Woodpecker who stopped in the other day.

As he loaded up his beak at the Bark Butter branch, I heard the tell-tale squeaky squawking of a nearby youngster.  Sure enough, a few seconds later he was joined by junior.  Dad fed the little guy a healthy heap of food…

…and then patiently repeated the process several more times.

There’s something delightful and somewhat comical about watching a baby bird be fed.
And this fellow was definitely a good, good father!

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Red Top Romp

We took Tucker to Red Top Mountain over the weekend.  This state park is only about 25 minutes from our house and offers several wooded trails with access to Lake Allatoona.  It is fast becoming one of Tucker’s favorite romping grounds.

For this outing we chose the White Tail trail, which leads to a portion of shoreline that is the perfect place for a refreshing game of stick fetching.

I’m not sure why, but a rather crazed expression tends to accompany this game.

Every once in awhile Tucker would pause to catch his breath (puppies do tire easily!) and then go right back to the romping.

When the fetching was finished, we continued on until the trail ended at a beautiful collection of boulders that overlook the lake.  Mr. T was delighted to show off his new-found rock climbing skills.  I guess we can now call him a boulder climbing beast!

One of the benefits of having a fifty pound puppy is that hubby and I (I guess you can call him a boulder climbing beast too!)  are getting a good bit of exercise.

And a good time was had by all. 🙂

 

 

 

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Lovely Lady with a Band of Blue

A couple of female Tiger Swallowtails have been hovering about sampling nectar front the front yard flowers.

The first lovely lady showed up early in the afternoon, with just a small nip missing from her left “tail.”  She spent most of her time flitting from blossom to blossom on the butterfly bush.

The second chose to enjoy the Zinnias. You can tell she’s a female and not a male (featured in a previous post) because of the broad band of blue at the base of the wings.

In the picture below, you can see some of the basic butterfly anatomy pretty clearly – six spindly legs, two antennae, and a proboscis – which is a basically a straw for slurping nectar.  The upper part of the body is the thorax and the lower part is the abdomen. I love that you can see the eyes too.

But of course, what makes us stand in amazement of this creature are those stunning wings – surely the envy (and the inspiration) of many an artist!

Although common to behold, the Tiger Swallowtail is certainly uncommon in beauty!

 

 

 

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The Flavor He Favors

I saw my first Gulf Fritillary of the season today.

As I watched him sampling nectar from the Zinnias, he seemed to show a preference for the bright yellow ones and I thought to myself, “If I gave this fellow a bag of Starburst candies, he would likely eat all the lemon first.”

Well, I think he must have read my mind (a super-power he possesses that probably has something to do with his funky antennae) and just to prove me wrong he flitted over and slurped on a strawberry flavored flower.

Seriously though, aren’t these butterflies amazing with their intricate pattern of stripes and spots and polka dots?

And just for the record, the orange Starburst are the best!

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A Sunflower’s Second Season

I like Sunflowers when they’re standing tall, petals fanned in flames of golden glory.  They are brilliant and beautiful and although the saying goes that they practically beg to be photographed, I’d say that one pleads for the privilege of taking their picture.  Truly, Sunflowers are a feast for the eyes.

But Sunflowers have a second season, where their heads are heavy and their stalks droop down and their glory fades away.  It is during this season that their beauty turns to bounty; no longer a feast for the eyes, they have become a feast for the finches.

I saw this fellow happily munching this afternoon under a canopy of sunlit leaves.  Don’t his feathers blend in perfectly?

It is always a treat to watch the Goldfinches perch and peck away at the seed.

Hmmm…perhaps there is a little something to be gleaned from the lovely Sunflower’s life.  In its younger days, it captures the spotlight and basks in the attention and admiration it receives, but as it matures it gladly bends to give strength and nourishment to others.  That’s how I hope the second season of my life is. 🙂

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A Brief Beauty Break

My daughter and I made it back from our afternoon walk just as darkened clouds and rumbles of thunder announced the arrival of another storm.

Heading across the driveway to the front door, we noticed a beautiful Tiger Swallowtail hovering around the Lantana, flitting from flower to flower.

I had just enough time to grab my camera and fire off a few shots before the rain started falling and I had to scurry back inside.

It was only a brief beauty break, but it was still good for the soul!

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