Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sparrow Hunting

This past Saturday we went sparrow hunting.

They Like to Hide
You can read all about it here.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

" ... Like Something From a Scifi Movie ..."

That's how she described these creatures as she drew out a map for where we could find them. "They were on both sides of the trail" she told us, "they seem to prefer the smaller bayberry bushes."

So off we went to Cape May Point State Park.

And we found them, right where she said they would be.


My first view was looking down on it like this. Curious looking to say the least.


A bit easier to figure out what it is from the side.


Stinging Rose Caterpillar, Parsa indetermina, yellow morph.


And orange morph. Not your ordinary caterpillars.

With the bright colors they were easy to spot, assuming one knew where (and to) look form them.

And that's the key, knowing to look for them.

Amazingly, despite us both squatting and kneeling in the bayberry bushes right on the side of the trail, looking and photographing, not a single passerby inquired as to what we were doing. What we were seeing. How many times have I walked blindly by some amazing creature or phenomena, totally oblivious to wonders around me?

The world is a wondrous magical place. So get out and look around.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Other Visitors ...

... or are they fellow residents?

Here are a few more of the creatures that shared our Saturday.


I spotted this wolf spider when it ran across the back pond. I'm not sure what it was hunting as it scurried away.

I had been shooting the lilly pads at the time. Alas, I had frightened off all the frogs (we've six species of frogs and toads sharing our homestead -- stay tuned for pictures in an upcoming post).


I was then distracted by a butterfly which landed in our fire pit.


An eastern comma, I'm not sure what it found so appealing there. But the bright orange against the black and tan sure made it appealing to Patty and me.


You can see the namesake comma on its wing in this shot. A little white ",".


I'll finish up with one of the many autumn meadow hawks we have patrolling our yard, doing their best to keep the mosquito population in check.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Turkeys

These birds are regular visitors and have been since we've moved in.


We have group of birds, which started out as two adults with eleven jakes and jennies, visiting the yard at least once and often twice a day, coming first for breakfast and then again for dinner.


The group was rather successful, with nine of the eleven young, and both adults, still visiting five months later.


One of our neighbors told us that this time of year we'd see more of the birds. So I wasn't entirely surprised when Patty counted seventeen out in the yard one day. She texted me to keep a weather eye for when I pulled into the driveway coming home from work.


I had thought I had spotted them down the road at said neighbor's farm as I approached the house. Not so as I found the flock moseying about our front yard.


I find the different head patterns curious, some with many warts, some none, some bright red, some dull.


They visited again on Saturday, but I'm not sure which group as I spotted them late and they were already moving off into the woods. I did manage to grab a few shots before they disappeared. But getting really good images is difficult as it is usually low light and the birds refuse to stand still.

But I'm sure I'll keep trying.

Swampy

This little guy spent Saturday in our garden.


Most of the time digging about in the mulch.


A cold front came through last night. And it was a great day in Cape May (where we spent Sunday morning).


But when we got home this fellow was still hanging around, although now out by the back pond.

Chippy

We spent a nice relaxing day at home this past Saturday. This is the first of several posts showing what was out and about in our yard.


The days are getting cooler and shorter.



Time to stock up for winter.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Release!

We're lucky enough to live in a rural area. One with plenty of prime locations to send a monarch on its way. So after a nice safe night in our living room it was time to go ...


 ... to Mexico.

And that to me is the most amazing thing about this incredible process. That these insects, with their minuscule brains and no memory of the journey (it was their great great great grandparents that made the previous trip south), migrate to a forest in Mexico.


We know they migrate because of the tags that many volunteers, including for the first time us, put on them each year.

Thus on my way to work last Monday morning I took our newly emerged male monarch to a nearby field. One with plenty of flowers for food.

On Tuesday it was the female's turn.


Here she is with her tag showing.


We would love to learn that these two made it to Mexico. But the chances of us hearing anything is small.

Should anyone find our, or any other tagged monarchs, they can report the tag number by email to TAG@KU.EDU or by phone to 1-888-TAGGING (824-4464). Our two monarchs are sporting tags with the numbers TLJ728 (the male) and TLJ729 (the female).

Here's hoping they make it. And that we learn that they do.