Friday, September 21, 2018

Out and About: A Great Summer for Monarch Butterflies

As summer ends today, I have to say that this has been a great season for Monarch Butterflies! I have kept track of first of the season sightings of Monarchs since 2013. That year my FOS was 9/3/13. I only saw five Monarchs for the season. I had in my notes that they were not doing well due to a very cold and late spring with lots of rain. The season before, in 2012, was very hot and dry through to Mexico and there was little water and flowers for them during migration. In 2014 my first sighting was August seventh and I didn't see one in my garden until September first. I had Lots of milkweed plants both years and other garden flowers. FOS for the following years: 6/26/15, 7/28/16, 5/19/17, 6/11/18. This year was incredible. From July fifth until I went on vacation on September Ninth, I had one, two and one day, three Monarchs in my garden each and every day! Many neighbors and friends reported seeing them too. The butterflies were constantly egg laying. Caterpillars were spotted and new Monarchs were born. I never found a chrysalis but I did find a shiny new butterfly on the ground. It didn't seem able to fly yet and I know they have to dry their wings for a bit before flying. However, the next day it was still on the ground. I carefully picked it up and brought it to a Purple Coneflower thinking it might need nectar. It immediately uncurled its proboscis(a mouthpart used for sucking) and drank nectar for a minute or so and then flew off. Hurrah!!! is a great site to see how the butterflies are doing on their migration and wintering over in Mexico.
Monarch Butterfly on a Milkweed Flower

Monarch Caterpillar on Milkweed Leaf-the only leaf it eats!

Caterpillar Poop Called Frass

Brand New Monarch Butterfly Which Needed Help to get to a Nectar Source

Monarch Cat on Milkweed Flower at Moxham Mountain Trailhead Minerva,N.Y.

Sitting to Dine

Hummer and Yellow Jacket Attracted to Sugar Water

Coneflower Seeds are Adored by Goldfinches. Leave them up!

Pileated Woodpecker Looks for a Nibble

But of Course!!! A Squirrel eats a Sunflower

Fall Crop of Kale Devoured by Cabbage White Caterpillars

White-breasted Nuthatch snatches a sunflower seed

Carolina Wren had a May Brood at my Garden, September Brood at Galloway's

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Out and About: Summer Sightings

I really did not enjoy the heatwave that stretched from June thirtieth to July fifth. Six over ninety degree days was just too much. I watched my garden and bird feeders from my kitchen and was very thankful when it finally cooled off on the evening of July sixth. Back outside I have seen a lot of Monarch butterfly activity at my milkweed plants. Today is the eleventh day straight of seeing a Monarch in my garden. This morning there were two of them laying eggs and taking nectar from flowers. I haven't found a Monarch caterpillar yet though a very hairy and hungry caterpillar, that I'm not familiar with, is doing a lot of chomping. Dragonflies have been darting around, hummers are visiting the sugar water feeders and flowers and of course, chipmunks and squirrels are in the garden every day and every hour. Enjoy!
Monarch Butterfly at Milkweed Flower

Monarch Butterfly Egg on Underside of Milkweed Leaf

Milkweed Flower-So Fragrant


Milkweed Pods


Mr. Green

Swallowtail Leaving Lily

Red Admiral Butterfly





Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Out and About: Around the Village in Photos

Baby Killdeers on South Lawn. Killdeer Families at Griffin's Ridge and Little Round Lake Boat Club too.

Tulip Tree Flowering in late May

The hard work of a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker on Judy Selig's Mountain Ash tree

And here it is! Can't get enough of that sap.

Breakfast of Clovers for one of the Very Many Round Lake Rabbits

Catalpa Tree Flower Buds

A downed Cottonwood branch with the white fluffy seeds we see flying all over the place like snow

Juvenile male Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Northern Flicker looking for an ant meal

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Out and About: Spring is Here

I got out of town for a week in early May to Shenandoah National Park. It was a camping and hiking trip filled with beautiful views, waterfalls, birds, bears and wildflowers. When I got back to Round Lake everything had leafed out and sprung up. The migrant birds were back, including the hummers. The grass was tall, the dandelions and maple seedlings had marched through the garden and my favorite flowers, lilacs, were in bloom. The Carolina Wrens had fledged and left the garden shed so I could get in there again. I hung their nest in the hanging basket outside on the shed's porch, in case they are considering a second brood. I have spent time watching a male hummer defending the sugar water feeders in the garden. He sits on a dead branch in the apple tree, watching and waiting for a second male to zoom in and then chases him away. He was out there guarding the feeders past sunset one night. Enjoy and Happy Spring at last!
Showing Jamis the view he hiked for.  Hawksbill Mountain Shenandoah N.P.

Overall Run Falls Shenandoah N.P.

Johnny Jump-ups

Mourning Dove Juveniles

Jack-in-the-Pulpits Peck Avenue Woods

Another Jack



Lovely Lilacs

Bleeding Hearts

Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Out and About: Spring Where Are You???

I have been waiting to write a post announcing spring is finally here. Titles like," So Happy It's Spring!!!" or" Spring Has FINALLY Sprung!" However, with a forecast of freezing rain, sleet and temperatures in the thirties for tomorrow, April 15th, I can not proclaim with jumping joy that it feels like Spring. I have noticed around the village though, a few events that go along with the spring season. Skunk Cabbage came up in wet areas around the middle of March. I was able to see the flower hidden inside as I caught it early enough. Snowdrop flowers were next up along with crocuses. Coltsfoot is currently blooming by the stream heading over to Griffin's Ridge. On April 2nd I watched an eagle sitting on the lake's ice which was going, going, gone on the fourth after high winds and rain. Then on April sixth, as I was watching robins looking for worms in the children's playground, it began to snow. I thought the robins looked unhappy. I know I was. Thankfully, it did not last long. Carolina Wrens have been sneaking around my garden shed. When I looked in to see if they had found real estate, they certainly had. A nice little domed nest was made in a hanging basket. A couple of days later I peeked in and the nest was occupied by mama. Wood Ducks have been making their rounds looking for real estate as well. The Green Hour group and I went to clean out a nest box for the ducks and discovered a trembling mouse inside. Hoping the mouse family will vacate soon. Lastly, I heard peeper and wood frogs between Herlihy Road and the Zim Smith Trail. If you go on Herlihy and look in the spring pools, staying very still, you can see the wood frogs. I used binos to get a close up look. So there you have it, a few signs that spring is underway. Happy April All!!!
Skunk Cabbage: Flowers First then Leaves

A Closer Look: Skunk Cabbage Flower Inside A Spathe(Looks Alien)


Ice Going Out on April Second

Bald Eagle Overseeing Ice Out

Unhappy, Snowy Robins


Coltsfoot with Flowers Open

Carolina Wren Nest

A Closer Look

Great Blue Heron Nests on Ballston Creek(9 and a half standing as of March 25th)