Birds and Sugar

My Sugar Bird is back.  This little bird is crazy for sugar and I do believe it is the same bird that has visited in previous years.

As it turns out, I identify this bird differently every year.  This year I’m going to say it is an Orange-crowned Warbler.  I can look at those bird pictures all day and not quite tell what this cutie is.

I was really surprised to see that a Chickadee had been observing Sugar Bird and decided to see what was so delicious.

When Chickadees feed, they go to the feeder and take a seed to a tree to eat.  They are very quick.

I have the sugar feeder set up outside my kitchen window, so I can be entertained while I eat.  I also took all the photos from my table, through the window that is about five feet away.

It took me weeks to get a shot of the fast moving Chickadee and I was thrilled when I got these four during one visit…and in focus.

 

 

 


Autumn’s Confederate Rose

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Every Autumn I look forward to my Confederate Rose blooming. It is actually a Hibiscus mutabilis that is originally from China. A cutting can easily be started and that is why it has been a great passalong plant in the South. It is a gangly small tree that is unattractive most of the year, until the big payoff in the Fall.  This has been a particularly good year and every bud has opened.  Each cluster has 5 to 7 buds providing a spectacular display which has been going on for 3 weeks with more to come.

The flowers open pure white in the morning.

In the afternoon, they begin turning pink.

Evening brings a dark rose color to the flowers.

By the end of the day, the Confederate Rose has turned to the colors of a rosy sunset.

 


Hummingbird Competition

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Unbelievably, the gang of Hummingbirds are still visiting my feeders.  I have never had this many Hummers for this amount of time.  At times, there are up to twelve birds fighting for the sugar water.  I’ve been spending my days observing the tiny birds and was watching them from my kitchen window, when an interesting scenario began playing out.  I grabbed my camera and started shooting through the window.

It was early in the evening when the feeding frenzy really ramps up and a new visitor appeared.  The reddish brown creature is a Hummingbird Moth, which many mistake as a baby hummingbird. I had an entomologist identify one before and its proper name is Mournful Sphinx Moth (Enyo lugbris).  

At first the moth couldn’t quite figure out how the feeder worked.

Before long it found the feeder’s hole.  Needless to say, the Hummingbird was not happy and it actually poked the moth.  The little Hummingbird Moth was not bothered and fed until it was full.

I took a chance, went outside and managed to get a photo before the moth took off to work on the flowers.

Click on the photo and scroll down to click on full size for a better look.


Hummers Part II

A new day and the feeding frenzy has escalated.  Seven or more hummingbirds have descended on the garden.  Another hummer has claimed the second feeder leaving the others to fight for it.

I was watching from a window and saw the hummingbirds acting differently and went out to see what was going on.  It turns out that hummers aren’t the only ones interested in the sugar water.  A green anole was blocking their access.

And the birds were not happy.

The anole eventually climbed up on the stand and encroached on the hummingbird’s perch.  The bird tried going after the lizard with its needle-like bill.

The anole was steadfast.

The hummingbird was not amused.

The hummer sat on its perch for a few minutes trying not to look at the lizard, while the anole may have been wondering if it could swallow the little bird.

In the end, the anole outlasted the hummers who finally met their match.

 


Summer Bloomers

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The summer heat is on and we are looking at 102f degrees (actual temperature) for the next few days.  Thankfully, some of my faithful flowers can take the heat.

The Texas Star Hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus) greets me from my kitchen window each morning.  Yes, we do like to name as many things “Texas” as we can.  I recently found out that George Washington also grew this plant. He probably didn’t call it Texas Star.

The Black Eyed Susan is a reseeding annual and can pop up anywhere in the garden.  I never mind volunteers and just transplant them back in their beds.

The seeds for this Cleome are from my father, who always called them Spider Plants.

Many bloggers have shown photos of Purple Cone Flowers.  I just have one hanging on, as the deer and rabbits ate most of the flowers.

Butterfly Weed is ready and waiting for the Monarch Butterflies.

I was in total awe when I first saw a Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeana), I had never seen a plant like it.  Now, it happily fills my garden from a cutting given to me by my mother-in-law.

 

 

 


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.


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.