Saturday, September 13, 2014

Not Everyone Dislikes Dandelions...

Last weekend, me and The Doodles went to visit Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve, formerly known as Dike 14, formerly known as Cleveland Lakefront State Park, formerly just water in Lake Erie. After years of dredging, voila! We now have this great place right near downtown Cleveland that is a magnet for wildlife. The great Cleveland Metroparks are in charge now and have greatly improved the trails and to make The Doodles happy...they have benches! AND it's part of the Lake Erie Birding Trail!

Fall migration has started...warblies are zooming through as well as the tail end of the the ducks will start. BUTT...first...
We saw many Cabbage White butterflies in the restored meadows and along the trails.
He's the attacker on top...attitude.

 An aerial attack from above!
The butterfly trying to enjoy a little dandelion wine is a Checkered White.
We don't see them as often as the Cabbage Heads, accidentally introduced here from Europe.

Before you start yanking all of those dandelions from your lawn, think of the butterflies you may see enjoying them!

Chemicals bad. Weeds good.
Keep chanting that to your neighbors with the perfect lawns that don't help anyone or anything.
Except Monsanto and Scotts...

Next time we'll get to a few warbly things!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I SHOULD be working in the garden...butt...

 So....I'm outside "working" in the gardens in front of our home when I see this large shadow move over me. We get lots of hawks and Turkey Vultures zooming over our little oasis on a regular basis, so I don't always take notice. This shadow "felt" different for some reason. When I turned around and looked up it was a Bald Eagle! They do nest within 15-20 miles of us and we have seen them zooming overhead before. Of course all I had near me was my camera with a 100mm macro lens, what the heck , I'll take a couple of evidence shots.

When I blew them up on the computy thing, lo and behold, he's holding a fish in his sharp lil talons! Yum...dinner! I will always look up from now on! I will also try to keep a longer lens close by! Wouldn't it be nice if I had that lovely Canon 500mm telephoto lens? Hint hint!

Oh well, back to gardening...for a second...
 The Doodles pulled a weed(aren't all of plants weeds?) and found a gang of caterpillars in it.
Turns out to be a Ailanthus Webworm Moth caterpillar.

 And this is what it will look like when he's all grown up! 
Cool, eh?
Ya never know what those caterpillars will turn out to be...besides bird food.
 This is a Silphium perfoliatum, or more simply, a Cup Plant.

 It's called a Cup Plant because of the cup formed where the leaves meet the stem.
Native Americans used the resin to make a gum to prevent nausea and vomiting and to freshen breath!
So handy...

 This is one of our tiny Green Frogs.
The Mink took the adults "away."
We still have a number of little froglets hopping about!

 This is one of the larger of the brood.
He thinks he's hiding.
Good job, froggy.

 I never knew Mint had such nice flowers.
If you accidentally mow it over, every thing smells so fresh!
And you can't keep it a secret anymore...

 This is a yellow flower.
It has a name.
I thought it was pretty until I looked closer.

 Red Aphid, of the Uroleucon family!
The flowers have since deceased.
Not the bugs though.
So sad.

 This is the sportiest insect in the garden!
Red-banded Leafhoppers look fast with that racing stripe through their eye!

This is a Sweat Bee, Halictus ligatus loving this flower!
He was so excited he was shaking as he gathered pollen.
At least I think that's why he was shaking.
Maybe he got a "Sugar Buzz!"
(Get it? Bee...Buzz?)

 Anyway...I love my bees and my macro lens!

 It's amazing what you see when you get down to their level and really look closely!

This Black-and-white Warbly wasn't really in our garden.
I just miss him.
Fall Warbly Migration!!!!!
Stay tuned...

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Coots and Cootlets...

" Two's company and here comes the crowd!"

 So we are on another exciting adventure! Well, for us getting out of the house and putting off a little gardening to see some birdies is an adventure! On this delightful day we went to an area called "THE LORAIN IMPOUNDMENT."  Sounds like a place where bad birds are sent.

It's part of the Lorain Harbor AND it's on the Lake Erie Birding Trail...of the Longest Twitch fame...or something...

Well you know summer birding, not always a lot to see, but what you see, you'll see a lot of! Those wacky American Coots have been busy as bees...or more like bunnies...out there. LOTS of babies wandering aimlessly and kids tend to do. ya go. Have a look...

 "Great, Mister Big Feet is gonna try to fit in here!"

 Cruisin' for food...

 So many babies!
What was going on in that marsh?!

 A proud parent with the kids in tow...

 Did you know that there are sometimes bumps in the water?

 Eating more...and more...and more...

 "Hey! What's that guy doing over there?"
 "Oh...huh-huh. I can see my feets!"

 "Whoa...too far!"

 "Stoopid kids...sheesh..."

 "Just watch me, not the duck!"

 This is the infamous "Pushmepullyou" subspecies of the American Avocet.
I should send this to the National Enquirer with those UFO photos...hmmm...

 Black Swallowtail butterflies have some mighty dangly legs!
 Be vewy, vewy qwiet...We're hunting wabbits!

 Hey! You got something on your beak!
House Finches are so messy!
 Oh my!
It's a Monarch sitting still!

 Trying to hide in the weeds, eh?
I found you!
(That's an Orange Sulphur.)

Say goodbye!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Just a few birds...

 I wish this Prothonotary Warbly was in my garden eating some of those bad nasty invasive lady beetles!

So...(haven't said that in a while!)...birding has been a little slow...though the garden has been busy as a bee...with bees and bugs. I thought I would take a break from posting the insects...AND trying to figure out what they all are! I found a file from May at Magee that I hadn't gone, here's a couple of warblies and what nots to hold you over until the fall migration really hits!

 Why are some Gray Catbirds so angry?
'Cause they don't live in our garden where The Doodles feeds them jelly everyday!
Spoiled rotten...

 "I can see all the way through to China!"
Baby American Robins are bottomless pits in case you didn't know.
 "Oooo...this water is feet!"
Silly Great Egrets...not so great in cold, dirty water!

"Birds From The Bottom!"
They don't trust me and my bloggity anymore, they never turn around.
(That's a Yellow Warbly by the way. You can tell because it's yellow.)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Life in the Garden...

Another Monarch butterfly pooping out an egg!
Sorry..."delicately placing" an egg on a common milkweed.
Such common language...disgusting!

Now that birding in the garden has slowed down...other than the hoards of Common Grackles, House Sparrows and European Starlings(with a nice smattering of Baltimore Orioles and Gray Catbirds thrown in for fun,) I'm back to my nightly "focusing" on bugs routine.

It's amazing what you'll see when you wander around the gardens every night. There are little changes all of the time here and buds budding, old buds wilting, bunnies and other fur balls making things disappear altogether, and new bugs every day!

Remember, NO MORE CHEMICALS in your gardens and you'll find a lot more to look at. Not to mention the world will be a healthier place.

 Yep, another Monarch egg.
I've found close to half a dozen on our milkweeds so far.
You really have to look closely!

This is a first instar Monarch caterpillar, about 4mm long.
He hatched Tuesday, by Wednesday he disappeared.
Possibly bird food...or I'm hoping he's just good at hide and see!
Check out "Monarch Watch!"
Everything you need to know to help Monarchs in your garden.

 Another egg on a milkweed.
I don't think this is from a Monarch.
We shall see soon!

 Speaking of milkweeds...this is a Large Milkweed Bug.
That's its name. Clever.
This is the only one in our garden so far this year.
The adults migrate to this area from the Gulf of Mexico.
They work their way north as the milkweeds seed pods develope.
Soon it will be crawling with larvae...we hope.

 This is a Green Lacewing.
We like them.
Their young eat Aphids.
We don't like aphids.
Bon appetit!

 This is a fresh Leafhopper.
Check out!
Everything you ever wanted to know about bugs!

 Something crawled out of this very, very small exuvia.
I hope it wasn't some alien!

 This was a HUGE Bumble Bee.
It might have mites on its leg if you look closely.

 A pretty Red Admiral on Queen Anne's Lace.

 I must send a thank you note to the birds for planting these sunflowers in our front garden.
The deer must thank them as well.
They've eaten most of them...rrrrrr.....
Budding buds!

Don't forget to "Bring Nature Home" to your garden!