Hooray, he made it!
Out of the recent three monarch caterpillars that developed from eggs on our milkweed, at least one developed in a perfectly formed butterfly. No matter how carefully I checked every stone, plant, the walls of the nearby shed, and under the roof overhang for chrysalides, the only one I discovered was this one. He had crawled from the milkweed plant to form his chrysalis on a loosely coiled garden hose. When we noticed that the chrysalis was getting dark last week Sunday, we d
Butterflies hanging out
What a delightful surprise it always is to happen upon these lovely creatures, while working in the garden. The Common Checkered Skipper Pyrgus communis above rested on the hedge, remaining in the same position, until the sun was out later that morning. I was giving the front garden plants their weekly watering in the morning, when I saw some movement on a lambs ear leaf. Fortunately I wasn't watering right in this particular area, because this Common Buckeye Junonia coenia w
The popular, humble dandelion
Dandelion blossoms provide nectar to pollinators from spring through fall. Dandelions aren't everyone's favorite, they always bring cheer to any day with their bright yellow blossoms. And they are one of the first nectar sources for pollinators in the springtime. Although there may be other blossoms in the garden providing nectar throughout the spring and summer, bees and butterflies still visit dandelions. In the image above, a California Hairstreak Satyrium californica sip
And the bird of the day is...
I was horrified the other day to see the brown eyed bushtits descend on the butterfly bush. The bush is growing in a large pot, and was planted in hopes of providing a good supplemental nectar source for bees and butterflies in the late summer, when many other nectar plants are starting to dry up. So when I saw this bushtit feasting on the flower spike my first thought was that it was going to eat all of the flowers. Then I remembered the nasty buddleia budworms that damage t
Oh, those wonderful birds
It just makes me so happy to see so many creatures thriving around the garden. Our efforts to create habitat and plant food sources result in frequent visitors, including birds. In the springtime and during most of the early summer months we listened to the strings of Northern mockingbird songs. Unmated males sang throughout the night. Now that everyone seems to have a mate and produced fledglings, no one is singing. Instead they are busy raising their young, chasing crows aw
Honey Bee and California Hairstreak feasting on blackberry nectar
Stand or sit still for a while outdoors and you will see so much in nature that you never expected. I was standing on our patio in the late afternoon, camera at my side, and noticed a different kind of shape and movement, high in the blackberry hedge. And there it was, a California hairstreak butterfly Satyrium californica , sipping nectar and moving ever so slowly on a blackberry blossom. In this image, the hairstreak is a dark, flat triangular shape to the lower right. This
Painted Lady resting in late afternoon sun
A Painted Lady Vanessa cardui spent a good fifteen minutes resting in the late afternoon sun. The leaf of a Tiger Eye abutilon plant in dappled light seemed to be the perfect place to be. Although one of the wings is a little tattered, it is still a beautiful butterfly, always striking when it is in flight. These butterflies look so different in profile because their underside of their wings have the brownish, grayish mosaic pattern.
Poignant elegy for a monarch butterfly
Kathy Contrino, NY, wrote this very moving post in a private facebook group where we are both members, including her photos, about a monarch butterfly she observed for two weeks. It always brings me to tears. "Incredibly beautiful and fragile even in death. I watched her these past few weeks in my yard. Tattered, she valiantly cruised the milkweed and laid as many eggs as she could in the hopes that her DNA, entrusted to her children, will make the hazardous trip to Mexico. I
Everyone enjoys the Delta sunflowers
Look who is eating dried Delta sunflower blossoms. This is the first time I've seen a squirrel sitting in the sunflower shrub. It looks very comfortable, doesn't it? And the dried blossoms must be very delicious because the squirrel ate several of them, wherever it could reach. The Delta sunflowers have visitors all day - bees, birds and butterflies, and now a squirrel. This is why I plant these native sunflowers every year. They are popular with pollinators and other wildli
Monarch chrysalis in a curious place
I read today that some monarch caterpillars will weave their silk pads and attach to the underside of stones and proceed to pupate. When I got home this evening I decided to take a quick look at stones in our backyard in the area between the milkweed pots and the wall of our house. Well, I didn't notice any chrysalides under stones, but look what I discovered, a chrysalis hanging from under an old garden hose! The hose is part of a cluster of garden hoses right next to some o