Service with a Smile

I noticed some motion on the back porch and spotted the rabbit named Patch near the back door.  Apparently, it was rabbit snack time.  Patch waited for me outside the garage door for a afternoon snack of sunflower seeds.


Birds Hate It

I recently got a new birdbath.  It is clear, yellow, looks great in the garden and can be seen from my kitchen window.  It is a replacement for an old one,  that the birds loved.  As it turns out, the birds hate this one.  I thought it was because of being clear, so I added some stones.  Not one bird has stopped by.

The new birdbath is easy to keep clean and always has fresh water in it, but that does not seem to be enough to entice the birds. The very cute Carolina Wrens prefer a bath in this toad station that is always dirty.

Or sometimes they use the rim of  the upside down fire pit when it holds water.

The wrens, Frick and Frack will even take a soak in plant saucers, which are not clean at all. Even the Cardinals prefer the water from the dirty saucers.

I found evidence of the Wrens enjoying a couples’ spa day.  After a soak they finished with a mud bath in the planter (notice two dents).  Sometimes we can try to do what we think wildlife would like, but it doesn’t always work out that way.  I guess the new birdbath will just have to please me and not the birds.

PS  I am shopping for a new one that they will like and I have another one that the rabbits and squirrels enjoy along with the birds.


Shades of Orange

Shades of orange seem to be popping out in the garden. Somehow more than usual were planted this year.

The orange plants can easily be seen from across the yard or inside the house.

Orange is a blend of red and yellow.  The color orange evokes joy, creativity, healthy eating, sunshine, the freedom of expression and many other things according to the internet.  Or it is simply a pretty, bright color.

This visitor popped out during the photo shoot, so I had to include the Coral Snake.  It does display the colors contained in orange.


Building Time with Frick and Frack

My favorite duo are at it again.  The Carolina Wrens, Frick and Frack have decided to build a nest in a big pot on the back porch.

I was able to shoot these photos from a window as they worked hard all morning long.

Sadly, I am going to have to dash their dreams of a new home as it is right next to the back door and I know they will not be happy there.

I think this project may be their second nest of the year, as a juvenile was following them around.  The Wrens are smart and resourceful and I am sure they will find a better place for starting their next family.


Finding a Place for Metamorphosis

I spotted this Monarch caterpillar crawling on a large clay pot.  It was far from the Butterfly Weed, so I thought I would keep an eye on it.

The caterpillar climbed up to the rim and attached itself.  Look closely for the nearly invisible thread.

For some reason that did not seem right, so the caterpillar dropped to the ground.

It crawled around for quite awhile and headed up a stick for a better view.

Finally, it settled for this plastic net that is protecting a plant. And yes, I did spend quite a long time watching this caterpillar crawl around.  It is their habit to leave the plant they feed on and form a chrysalis elsewhere and are usually hard to find.

And in no time the caterpillar was in its chrysalis.  Sadly, I missed the process and when I checked hours later, it was done.

About the time it should have hatched, a beautiful Monarch Butterfly was  hanging on a nearby brick wall drying its wings and the chrysalis was gone.

And the circle of life begins again with a female Monarch depositing her eggs. I like to think it was the same one that hatched, but there is no way to tell.  She checked out all the plants and made sure the eggs were laid only on Butterfly Weed.

Apparently other Monarchs had stopped by and on the same day, I found a tiny caterpillar barely a half of an inch long  starting on its journey.

This year has already started well for the butterfly population in my area and many more have been stopping by than in past few years.


The Stalker

One never knows when it could happen.  The day could start out innocent enough with a stroll about the gardens.  A turn around the corner and then you see her.  The stalker.

Carefully and slowly you try to back away. But you have been spotted.

Your gait becomes faster, but the stalker keeps pace.

The only thing left to do is run to the safety of your home and slam the door tight as the stalker looks on.

And now the back story.  This rabbit was a frequent visitor to the garden and had disappeared for about 6 months.  I assumed she had moved on to a new home or her final destination.  Somehow she is back.  Yes, I admit that I feed the rabbits then complain about them eating my flowers.  This particular one is extremely friendly and comes up to me for food.  Unfortunately,  she thinks the food ejects from my feet, so closed toed shoes are a must.  In the past, the rabbit would wait on the porch for me to feed her. It will be interesting to see if she remembers that trick.

 


Perfect Blue

The sky was a perfect blue.

And a perfectly blue visitor came to feed.  This beautiful bird is an Indigo Bunting and surprisingly, it is really black. The diffraction of light through its feathers make it look blue.

Through the years, other Indigo Buntings have come through the garden around the same time, probably from their winter home in Mexico.  Some may nest near this area.  An interesting fact about the bird is that their numbers have actually increased due to lumbering and energy line tree cutting.  The Buntings enjoy wooded areas next to open fields.