Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spring, After Snow.

We've had two snow squalls since Spring Equinox. They didn't amount to much and were quite lovely at the time, but still...

The local bunch of backyard birds, including this Carolina Chickadee,
were happy for a long-overdue refill of the feeders.

The water snails were out and about, never mind that 24 hours previously their pond was full of slush. The hovering one is actually using the underside of the surface tension of the water to get around...

The former property owner of my acreage planted a lot of trees to fill in what once was an agricultural field. She got it half right, with hemlock (above) and other natives or at least near-natives. (I must admit that I do like the Mediterranean Cedar, however; so does the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.)

The silver maple is still in flower. I really liked the look of this fallen bunch that landed in some water.

The snow didn't bother the crocuses one bit, either. The "dew" drops are melted snow, though...

Friday, March 22, 2013

Spring, Before Snow.

At least the first full day of Spring's snow didn't stick to the ground, or last the day. These crocus are pre-snow and pre-return to sub-freezing temps...

Friday, March 8, 2013

Did she or didn't she?

Katy did. Or did she? Argh. Apparently, there are "katydids" and true katydids... Blah.

These two katy-whatever nymphs (young/juvenile/not-adult versions of insects that don't have a pupa but simply shed their last skin and come out a full adult) took up residence on my clematis vine this past summer. Never even knew they were there until they were half-grown. It sure pays to look like a leaf if you wish to keep a low profile!

This beauty deserves a close-up:

Freaky weird fact: See that "hole" just below the front leg's "elbow"? Ear. Seriously.

It became a bit of a game for me to track them down whenever I was on my deck. Eventually, one disappeared. (And believe me, I looked for it. Over and over and over again.) But one stuck around until it grew up, and I was able to get a photo of it before it (presumably) left for the wider world beyond one small plant.

Broad-winged Katydid?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

"I just saw a baby hummingbird!"

Well, no, I haven't and not right now... But you may have, were you so lucky to have found a nest some hot summer day. And if you were so lucky, I'm seriously jealous. 15 years of living in breeding hummingbird territory and zip. Zilch. No nests found on my property. *phbbt*

Strictly speaking, a bird that is out and about on its own is more of a juvenile than a "baby", and is usually not smaller than an adult by the time it's operating under its own power. Some young birds are actually larger than their parents--which makes sense, considering they are being stuffed full of food they didn't have to work to acquire, and in some species they may even have larger feathers than an adult's in order to compensate for less flight experience...

Most people who claim to have "baby hummingbirds" flitting among their flowers are seeing the appropriately-named Hummingbird Moth. They are hummingbird green and can zig and zag with the best of the avian hummers. Not to mention they are smaller than their namesake bird and fly in the daytime as well.

Don't know what it was about the hummingbird moths this past summer, but they were the most amazing rusty-red color as well as hummer green... And there were a lot of them. 

Good thing they were so plentiful; it upped my chances of getting a good photo. Which I did. Ha!

Here the wing blur is a good thing. That sure looks like a figure eight to me, and that motion is what allows a hummingbird to fly backwards. These day-flying moths can as well. Willing to bet that twist is why...

The almost-perfect photo. I could almost convince myself that having the moth almost-but-not-quite-in-frame makes it a more interesting picture. Almost.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

It really IS purple...

On my way down my drive one morning last summer I managed to spot a Red Spotted Purple catching the light just the right way to actually show the "purple" of its name instead of the usual peacock blue. The camera didn't quite catch the full effect, but you can definitely see purple… (If you look really closely, you can even see the red spots, too.)