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.

 

 


Wonders

On a recent trip to the Appalachian Mountains, I saw this beautiful view from the plane of the Susquehanna River emptying into the glowing Chesapeake Bay.  I never tire of flying over the country, catching views of our Texas rivers heading into the bays and Gulf of Mexico, then flying over the mighty Mississippi and finally seeing the land rise into the Appalachians.  Yes, I am the woman with her nose pressed to the window for the flight.

We stayed on top of a mountain and one morning I caught the sight of orange flames licking the trees.  I was about to panic, when I realized it was the sun coming up from below. The trees cut into the sun’s rays and made them look like fire.

The colors continued to rise and the sun came into view.  These photos were taken with a phone and really didn’t capture all the color.

The temperature dropped  and I found this moss that exploded into ice crystals.  Wonders are everywhere, just take a look.


Monarch Munching

Before the snow and the freeze, I took this shot of a Monarch Caterpillar munching away on this Butterfly Weed.

I was wondering if the caterpillar made it through the cold snap. I spotted a Monarch Butterfly flying around the plants yesterday and a smaller caterpillar feeding on the leaves.  I guess they can take a bit of cold.

 

 


Winter Wonderland

We had snow!  And why not in this crazy year of weather.  As we found out, records are meant to be broken.

The snow fell in the early morning hours.  As soon as the sun comes up, it will be gone.  Parents pulled children from their beds to play outside in the predawn darkness.

I was in my PJ’s snapping these photos in the dark when I heard the Banded Owl hooting from various locations in the yard.  The owl was probably baffled by the snow. It’s beginning to feel like Christmas, let it snow…until it hits 48 degrees this afternoon.  A true Texas day.


Monarch Lunch

I collected these Monarch caterpillars, but not for my lunch.  I found them on some sick looking Butterfly Weed with few leaves and moved them to healthier plants so the babies could have their lunch.

This big and beautiful Monarch is probably from a previous batch of caterpillars I found a few weeks ago.