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Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

Feathers fluffed in the cool of the morning
Feathers fluffed in the cool of the morning

I called this red-shouldered hawk a “fellow” but the face was far too pretty not to be female. She seemed to enjoy the cooler morning on a tree in our side yard.

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Firebush Berries with Gold Frog and Wasp
Firebush Berries with Gold Frog and Wasp

 

Zebra on Red Penta--Too Easy
Zebra on Red Penta–Too Easy

The object of my photography hunt, a beautiful orange and white butterfly, did not cooperate. The zebra was all too willing, as usual.

The gold frog was a surprise as I focused in on the ripe berries. Then nature piled on as a wasp moved into the frame. Sometimes you win.
CLICK TO ENLARGE

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Cloudy, Cloudy Sky

Apologies to Van Gogh

 
Apologies to Van Gogh

We see little sky from our wooded lot, though more now that we had the trees trimmed. So here is a  postage stamp piece of the pink sky for you with a sliver of a moon thrown in.

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Zebra on Fire Bush

Zebra on Fire Bush

Just something to give you a respite from the news of the day. Enjoy.

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Fall is where you find it in Florida. I found the season’s colors in berries on a fire bush. The plant churns out berries all year, but they look like fall. There is no procrastinating to photograph the plump, deep-colored berries because the next day they have started to fade and are on their way to shriveling. One thing you do not want to be is a fire bush berry. They are beautiful, though.

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This morning before coffee even, I had to check on our chrysalis. Last night it had just begun to turn transparent, so I was not expecting to see this colorful guy handing there drying his wings, evacuating fluid, but there he was. We do think he is larger than others. After all he was a fat fellow after feeding on the broad leaf milkweed. He also attached himself to the leaf. That did not work out so well, as it turned yellow, then dropped to the ground. This is where friends come in. We wedged him in another bush. The leaf shriveled more. We wedged it again. It shrank and fell again. Clothespin to the rescue. It all worked out in the end, but we are sure he emerged, looked around and said, “How the heck did I get over here?”

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”Chrysalis

 

Note: Click pictures to enlarge.

A short walk outside my front door caught these wonders. The Monarch caterpillars are larger than ever since we got a broad leaf milkweed. They obviously still love the old kind because they stripped it first, but seem to get fatter than usual before finally tucking their necks (do they have necks?) and forming a chubby “J” right beneath the leaf they have been eating on. Seems that was as far as they could waddle. The next morning we have a bright green crysalis, and in another day the gold crown and buttons at the bottom begin to shine in the sun. I’ll try to catch the coming out party in about seven to ten days. If Hurricane Hanna comes this way, we’ll snap that leaf off and bring it inside. We did that once before and woke to a butterfly in the office.

The other shots are just flowers still decorating the yard and the surface of our glassy pond, teeming with life. Though it goes dry at times, rain brings fish and other aquatic life back into this area and restocks the pond for us over and over.

Before our house was built, the  neighborhood kids called the property Frog Bog. We’ve tried to keep it friendly to the frogs and any critters who like to take up residence. It’s easy to make your property welcoming for them. Check out my link to Backyard Wildlife Habitat and get started.

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A local news story stuck in my craw the other day. That phrase from my Texas upbringing came to mind, and perhaps appropriately. The TV news reported a real stink in a neighborhood pond in the Orlando, FL area. Dead fish had floated to the surface and almost covered the pond. The resident interviewed was very upset. She could not open her doors or windows because of the smell. (Like we do that in Florida in August, anyway.) She pointed out that adding to the terrible situation were flocks of ugly, horrid, black birds all around the water’s edge.

 

I am, of course, yelling at the TV screen. “You *&#@. They are vultures, the clean up crew!”

 

Next day there was a follow-up report. Amazingly all the fish were gone. So were the vultures after filling their bellies. The lady was much calmer and surprised that BOTH her problems were taken care of. I will accept an apology on behalf of the vultures!

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So much hope, so little realized yesterday. Going door to door for our Neighborhood Watch group, I encountered wildlife without my camera, a major sin. As I stood waiting at the door, bushes began to rustle and shake. That was no lizard, but what? Suddenly an armadillo came waddling toward me. That is not what you expect in a suburban neighborhood, even one as wooded as ours. In a bit of a shock at seeing my first live armadillo outside Texas, I ran next door for my camera, for this house was right next door. But he was out of sight when I returned.

 

I walked around the neighbor’s house with the camera, hoping they would not mistake me for a stalker. And then: WHO WHO—WHO WHOOOOOO came a hollow sound from one of the live oaks down by our pond. I am easily distracted and the armadillo was obviously hiding. I followed the repeated bird call. It did sound like he was calling me. When I approached the tree the WHO WHO stopped. I waited and waited. Nothing. Was it a ploy, cooked up by the armadillo and owl to distract me? I’ll never know, but if it was, it worked. I have no pictures to post, just a futile search.

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Perhaps this photo deserves a note. The yellow African iris was a gift from a friend (thank you, Abbe) from her yard. She has several plants growing since the 40’s or 50’s, planted by original owners. If they are not heirloon, they seem to be. Others have seen my yellow iris and asked where I found it. Apparently most out there are white. I know, you can’t tell after my manipulation of the photo. There is a reason for it. The feature that thrills me most about this flower is its proud self-esteem. If it had a chest it would be swelled as it stands as tall as possible and reaches toward the sun. I was trying to capture that effort, that movement. I hope it comes through. Enjoy.

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