Happy Humming

Some people hum when they are happy (like my Dad when he is sneaking snacks from the kitchen!) – and I am happy around wings that hum – like hummingbirds and hummingbird moths.

While I was out taking pictures in the front yard the other day, this lovely hummingbird dropped by for a visit…

…as did this hummingbird moth.

These are such cool creatures, and great fun to photograph. 🙂

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Diamonds Are Not This Girl’s Best Friend

You’ve surely heard it said (or sung!) that “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” – well, not this girl! Call me quirky, but I get more joy from a beautiful dead branch than from a dazzling diamond. So, needless to say,  I was thrilled when hubby and I found a lovely limb just laying on the pathway on one of our recent Labra-walks. We carried it with us (once again, I take liberties with the pronoun) and brought it back to the house, then “we” drilled holes in it and stuffed it with peanuts.

And just look who has claimed it as his own!

Not only are there holes in the side, but there is a perfect nut nook right at the top, which is his preferred place to perch.

This fellow has become quite possessive of this new snacking spot and when he is not eating, he is on guard, doing his best to prevent others from visiting.

It brings me so much joy to sit and watch him feast.

Money just can’t buy this kind of beauty!

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The Presence of a Pileated

I knew there was a Pileated Woodpecker in the area, as I’ve been hearing it’s call (which sounds a bit like maniacal laughter) for the last several weeks. Then yesterday, a pair blessed me with their presence in the backyard.

The female flew to the backside of the tree when I came out with my camera, but the male – identified by his red mustache and full red head crown – investigated the dead branches on the large Oak that stands at the back edge of the yard.

This fascinating, rather prehistoric looking bird, can break some serious chunks of bark with that beak of his.

Getting to grab a few moments with this fellow was a sweet way to officially kick off the summer season.

Here’s hoping that this duo makes many more repeat appearances!

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Awe in the Ordinary

The front yard flowers are bursting into bloom and the butterflies are beginning to make an appearance.

This female Swallowtail stopped by the other day and spent a good bit of time sipping sweetness from the aptly named Butterfly Bush.

Tiger Swallowtails often bear vibrant yellow and black markings, but the females also come in a black-morph (or dark-morph) variety – like this lovely lady.

She leisurely flitted from one blossom to another, with no competition for the nectar save for a couple of bees.

There is something so wonderful – dare I say worshipful – about standing outside and witnessing such beauty. It reminds me of a quote I read just this morning which said, “A wonder-filled life is grateful attentiveness to the awe in our ordinary.” (Glorious Weakness by Alia Joy) I find both that sentence and that sentiment worth savoring!

Seriously though – just pause for a moment and really take in how magnificent she is. It makes me wonder – if the creation is this glorious, how much more glorious must the Creator be?!

Eventually, this beauty departed, probably off to sample from flowers in another yard…

…and I headed back inside with a happy heart, grateful for the stillness and the chance to nourish my soul.

 

 

 

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Sneak-a-Snack

I was outside filling the feeders with my two Lab assistants when “my” Red-headed Woodpecker dropped in for a visit.

First he looked for peanuts in the Dogwood nook, since it was a safe distance from the dogs, but found it empty.

His next stop was one of the higher branches that I have strapped to the deck, where he could make sure the mutts were ignoring him while he spied out the peanuts tucked away in the “peanut pole.”

Maneuvering to the opposite side of the branch, he spent a moment looking at the peanuts…

…then looking at the dogs…

…then looking at the peanuts…

…then looking at the dogs.

Once he realized the dynamic duo was on chipmunk patrol and oblivious to his presence, he flew over and helped himself to a peanut or two.

Then he flew back to his favorite perch and jammed the nuts into a notch in the wood so that he could peck them into smaller pieces. It’s so fascinating to watch him at work!

After round one was finished off, he got set to sneak a second snack. He made sure the coast was clear…

…and then headed back for another portion of Planters.

Meanwhile, the dogs kept watch on the yard below and remained unaware of his activity.

I think they are more lovable than alert!

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From Birds to Brides

Normally, I post pictures of birds, butterflies, or bounding Labs…but my daughter got married this past weekend, so I thought I’d share a photo of the lovely bride.

This first one is of the two of us, just before the ceremony, when I was helping her change into her dress.

This next is my first official photo of my girlie with a new last name…taken with the man God so clearly designed just for her.

What a beautiful, blessed event. I am feeling oh so grateful!

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Worthy of the Name

Often times, when one sees a Red-bellied Woodpecker, there is little, if any, red on the belly…as in the case of this fellow who stopped in the other day.

But every once in awhile, one comes along that is worthy of the name…like this handsome male who dropped in for a visit to the Bark Butter branch.

His belly is one of the reddest I have seen before in this type of Woodpecker.

He must have given off an “I’m a force to be reckoned with” kind of aura, because this Red-headed Woodpecker (who is normally more aggressive) watched and waited until this fellow had his fill before flying in for his turn.

Whether they be Red-bellied or Red-headed, I am happy to have these guys adding beauty to the backyard.

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