Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Life in my Garden

My yard is a Certified Wildlife Habitat, like so many Austinites (Austin has more habitats than any other city)...which means that I keep my yard filled with blossoms, year round and I change and re-fill the bird baths, hummingbird feeders and bird feeders regularly...but most importantly in summertime, the baths.  I had the pleasure of attending my first TOWN (Texas Outdoors Women Network) meeting last week and got to hear Val Bagh of the Butterfly Forum speak..and if you have one of those nifty Butterflies of Central Texas fold outs, that's hers and the talk was fantastic!
 Newly invigorated by a seemingly manageable amount of information, I headed out to my host plants to check out the scene.  Above is the Gulf Fritillary on one of my many passionflower plants going into it's customary 'J' formation, and swelling before it becomes a chrysalis.   My Wordless Wednesday photo today is the chrysalis in it's latter stage...I kept my eye on it for 2 days, but missed the exit.
 In case you've not seen the beautiful Passionflower vine, here is it's wild and beautiful blossom!

Below is a long line of images of one of two mating dances I witnessed this week.  I sat for nearly 5 minutes to capture the dance, but when I turned on the flash...not sure if any of my images were taking, I scared the male away...I have no idea how long it would have continued.

 She was very slowly opening and closing her wings, while he was just going crazy with up and down motions...being very careful of the yucca.

 Close call!

 I love the image below because it's as if he's just beating his wings, while remaining composed.

He left soon hereafter.
 This pair I caught the next day, but I didn't have my camera at first.  By the time I came out, they were finished...I guess, or sick of me they split.

 All the drama beneath the pomegranate the West Greens Garden.
 And in the front yard, while I was busting up the cement-hard mulch and trying to revive my peppers...which after 2 days of not watering decided to lay down...I was able to resuscitate all but one tomatillo.  I heard the familiar trill of Woody Woodpecker and looked up into my dieing Sycamore where I've had baby ladder-back woodpeckers for the past several years.  The first thing I noticed was mama Dove in a new nest.
 Quiet and calm as usual.

 But when I looked to the right on the nearest branch I saw 2 little guys chasing and pecking around the trunk.
 They soon disappeared into the bottom of the two holes and mama swooped down from the neighboring Elm.

 Here you can see just how close the birds are.
I've been told by 2 different arborists that this tree needs to go.  The branch with the woodpeckers is dead with a long silver stripe up the back of that branch on the other side, extending down through the main trunk. It's going to be a very sad day when it has to come down...I wish it weren't so close to the house.
 In the past I've had bluejays...4 years in a row, until last year a mama mockingbird took 2 days to take that nest apart and build a new one just one rose over.  She didn't return this year.  We also have a Carolina Wren's nest in another rose arbor in the back, but it's so deep in, and every time I go out to grab a shot, she takes off.  It's too high for me to reach and I don't want to stick my arm through the rose, anyway.

I'm currently reading a fabulous book called Illumination in the Flatlands, by John Hutto and it's about imprinting on a group of wild turkeys!  I miss my chickens but am enjoying all the beautiful life in the garden in the wee cool hours of the morning!  What's in your garden?

Happy Gardening!


katina said...

nice photos of all your butterflies and birds - I'm impressed.

Melissa M. said...

Cheryl, your garden is so beautiful and full of life. Thanks for sharing! I'm inspired, as always.

Jean @ tool shed said...

Wow! The miracle of life happens in your garden. Those are lovely butterflies.

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Kris said...

what a fun day in your garden!