The Babies Have Arrived and Other Lunchtime Amusements

While eating my lunch, I noticed some activity outside my kitchen window.

Baby Cardinals just out of the nest were having a nice mud bath in my flower bed.

Dad was keeping a watchful eye on the kids.

As soon as Cardinal family left, this Green Anole hopped on the sill to do some bug hunting on my window.

Yup, I know that window needs to be cleaned, it always does.

All the photos were taken through the kitchen window.  I planted the bed with flowering plants that attract all kinds of backyard critters and there’s a feeder for Hummingbirds.  I am always entertained while I dine.


Garden Drama

All life is full of drama or what we like to call “the circle of life”.  These poor caterpillars had really bad timing and made their chrysalis right before a hard freeze.  The chrysalis dropped to the ground and dissolved.

If you can enlarge the photo, the spots on the butterfly wing can be seen.

Luckily, I was looking up before I walked into this scene.  The scary looking spider captured a meal that will probably last  for days.

Yes, in the circle of life every creature has to eat.  This predator is  hanging out near the bird feeder.  It will not be a good day for some poor bird.

Plants are major players in life’s drama, but sometimes it works to their advantage.  I call this plant raccoon grapes.  Raccoons love to eat the wild grapes that grow nearby and apparently like to relieve themselves while climbing up trees.  I often find raccoon scat at the base of my trees.  This process is definitely a win, win for the grape vine.  The seeds get moved to a new location to grow and the raccoon deposit the grapes right next to a tree for the vine to climb up.

A garden is just not a garden, it is full of life’s dramas.


Birding at Twilight

We were sitting on our patio at the end of the day, when the action started. First, a Hummingbird slap down occurred right in front of us.  I swear I saw tiny feathers fly.  The Hummer that hit the ground backed off to the safety of a low branch.

Then I heard a call that I haven’t heard in the backyard for awhile.  I was very pleased that I recognized it was a Summer Tanager.  Tanagers are not seed feeders and are harder to find in the trees.  I used a trick that I learned in a birding class to lure him out.  I turned on the Summer Tanager call on my bird app.  Soon the bird started coming closer and buzzing us as he flew over.  I managed to snap a photo, which is not great in the dimming light, but I did identify him with my binoculars.  After teasing the Tanager for awhile with the bird call, we started feeling bad for the poor guy looking for another of his kind and stopped.

While all that was going on, an American Crow was having quite a fit in a neighboring yard.  Usually, this means that a predator is near.  I finally spotted the raptor and could make out a white head.  I was hoping it was an Eagle, but it flew away quickly through the trees in the twilight with the Crow in pursuit  and I couldn’t get a good look.

All in all, it was a very entertaining evening.

 

 


A Pile in the Grass

My first reaction when I looked out of my kitchen window one morning was that some rather large animal got into the fenced yard and left an unpleasant gift.

After a closer look, I realized a small animal had gotten into the yard and built a nice chimney of mud. The Crawfish are back.

This critter did not want to leave its spot.  After the lawn crew squished its hole, the Crawfish just built a new one.  I guess we’ll see what it does next week.  This kind of Crawfish is nocturnal and I have never seen one.

 


Who Doesn’t Love Sugar?

I set up a hummingbird feeder to attract a Ruby Crowned Kinglet, but instead a Yellow-rumped Warbler came.

This bird is loving the sugar water and visits from sunrise to sunset.  It has found a couple ways to get the drips of sugar from the feeder.

The Yellow-rump is so sugar addicted, it even will try to use the hanging feeders shown in a previous post. When the bird is not indulging in sugar, it likes to tap on my kitchen window and chase other birds.

 

 

 


Update on Visiting Birds

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We have had below freezing temperatures for 2 days now and the backyard has become a refuge for hungry birds. The flock of Goldfinches has enlarged and has been joined by Redwing Black Birds, Blue Jays, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, and a Dark-eyed Junco, along with all the year-round regulars.  I refilled the feeders and covered the ground under them with seed several times.

Because freezes happen so seldom here and rarely keep things frozen for more than a few hours, I completely forgot about providing water until I saw my Yellow-rumped Warbler pecking at frozen water. I quickly put out several containers of water.

I was very concerned about the Hummingbird, not knowing if it would make it through the freezing night.  During the day I had been replacing the frozen sugar water and at first light today,  I hung out fresh feeders.  And happily, the Hummer came!

As I was sitting at my kitchen table writing this post and glancing out of the window at the birds, two suddenly hit the window followed by a hawk.  I guess all the birds are hungry today.  Now the feeders are empty and the garden is silent.  They will come back.

 

 

 


Visiting Birds

The advantage of living in the South, is that we have plenty of winter visitors.  Goldfinches have returned after not stopping by in about two years.  I quickly went out to buy fresh Niger seeds as soon as they arrived.

The resident Cardinals don’t seem to mind sharing sunflower seed with the visitors.

A small flock of Sparrows have also been frequenting the garden.

Every year there seems to be a hummingbird in the yard and one finally showed up after Christmas.  I believe this is a Rufous Hummingbird, but it really does not have much color.  I have been trying to get a photo for days and I finally pulled a chair into the backyard and waited.  It didn’t take too long to snap this one from a distance.

The day was sunny and the sky was Texas blue.  When this photo is enlarged, leaf buds can be seen.  Here in Texas spring is not far away and plants will be leafing out next month.

Unfortunately, the sunny day inspired this yellow Cloudless Sulphur butterfly to hatch out.  I’m not sure it can take the cold nights to come.

This was written 3 days ago.  See the update on the next post.