A Shell of a Former Self

It is not unusual to find cicada exoskeletons hanging around the garden. This one was in good shape. I read that the cicadas slip out of their shell in the darkness of night.

This photo taken with my iPhone in the morning sun, came out a sunburned red.


If you were a bird and could choose a birdbath, which would be the most inviting? A natural stone bath surrounded by trees for a quick get-away?

A beautiful glass one tucked into a flower bed?

Or a dirty plant saucer on an open patio that was left behind when the pot was removed? As it turns out, the birds perfer the dirty plant saucer out in the open. So much for thoughtful placement and spending money on birdbaths.

Turtle Visit

Box turtles continue to visit the Automatic Garden. I’m not totally sure why the turtles come, but it may be the leaf litter that I allow to gather under the trees and the fact that this is the highest land in the area. I found this one heading into one of my flower beds. I got a really good shot that showed a small round hole on the left side of the shell.

I had another run in with the same turtle, identified by the same hole in the shell, as it was heading down the driveway to the street.

I quickly grabbed some gloves and redirected the turtle.

And yet on another day I found it again.

This time the turtle was cooperative and posed for a picture.

Tuckered Out

I found this mama squirrel completely tuckered out on a high tree branch.

She curled up as she slept.

The power nap was soon over.

The squirrel freshened up and went on her way.

Skink Lizard – Not Dead

I noticed this Five-Line Skink on my “GROW” rock and snapped a photo. The next day the Skink seemed to be in the exact same spot and position. I thought it had died and gave it a poke. It was not dead at all and apparently the lizard just liked that spot on the stone.

Frick and Frack

My favorite little birds, Frick and Frack the Carolina Wrens, are at it again. The pair is determined to build a nest on my back porch. On this day I was sipping my coffee when they appeared. Not to disturb them, I snapped the photos with my cell phone and are not the best quality.

Frick showed up with a beak full of nesting material landing on the rain gauge in the bed next to the porch

The bird could clearly see me on the porch and moved in closer.

Frick then decided to try a stealth move and head under the grill. But I was still there on my chair.

Meanwhile, Frack came in from the other direction and landed on a chair across the table from me. I am still there.

Nonetheless, the Wren headed over to the plant that was chosen for their nest and added the nesting material. Unfortunately, the Peace Plant was given to me for the birth of my last child and I do not want to give up watering it, so it had to be moved.

I set up an alternative nesting site with a bird bottle. But the Carolina Wrens showed no interest and were gone for awhile. I thought I had discouraged them from building on the porch.

Suddenly, Frick and Frack were back, quickly built a nest in another plant with the help of a third wren (can’t figure that one out) and laid eggs.

The wrens are sitting on the nest which is located near the busy backdoor.

Unfortunately, there was a sad ending to the story. One morning when I checked the nest, all the eggs were gone. Some animal found the nest and ate the eggs. Yes it is the “circle of life”, but it is hard to witness.

*This happened about a month ago and it was difficult to write the unhappy ending. Of course, this is how nature works.

Love Those Lizards

We got it covered.

Visiting the desert.

So Tiny

How nice would it be to spend the day on a yellow bloom? A tiny baby brown anole enjoyed the sunshine on Bartram’s Oenothera grandifloria.

All Dressed Up

Could these two be heading out on a date?  It was just too cute when I saw some that Crepe Myrtle flowers had fallen in just the right place to make her look all dressed up.

Orb Weaver

Orb Weaver sounds like a very mystic name for this giant spider.  As usual, I stuck my arm into plants without looking around first and was startled by this very large spider on a very large web.  I did some research and found that the nearly 4-inch spiders are nonvenomous and not aggressive.  Like all wild creatures, it will bite if provoked.

The Orb Weaver is most active at night.  In this photo the spider was preening itself, carefully cleaning each foot.

Enlarge for a better look.