Ruby-throated Hummingbird on garden arborRuby-throated Hummingbird on garden arborOne of many ruby-throated hummingbirds in our garden rests on the garden arbor.

Welcome to our blog! It's all about our discoveries here in our Shady Oaks yard, a Sanctuary for birds and other wildlife. We began to restore habitat for wildlife here in 1996 and gauge our success by the diversity of species we observe and document with our photography. We hope you enjoy our images and come back often to see what's new! 

Mid-September update 9-16-22

September 16, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

It has been a bit slower than most falls, yet there are some interesting sightings to share!

 

9-7-22 Eastern Bluebird9-7-22 Eastern Bluebird 9-7-22 Eastern Bluebird fledglings9-7-22 Eastern Bluebird fledglings

 

Eastern Bluebirds have taken to coming to the dripper baths in the afternoons. Some days, I'll see six or seven of them taking turns.

  9-8-22 Magnolia Warbler9-8-22 Magnolia Warbler 9-8-22 Magnolia Warbler9-8-22 Magnolia Warbler 9-8-22 Magnolia Warbler9-8-22 Magnolia Warbler

 

Magnolia Warblers have come in several days. One doesn't always get to see the whole bird, but with this species, if one sees the tail and it has this feature, it is considered unique, diagnostic or Dx for Magnolia Warbler.

 

9-10-22 American Robins9-10-22 American Robins

 

Ahead of a major cool front on 9/10/22, 28 species of birds came into the yard and to the water features. There had to be150 American Robins that day. It was a constant stream of them with three in the basin, and four or five more waiting in the wings at times.

 

9-10-22 Rose-breasted Grosbeak immature9-10-22 Rose-breasted Grosbeak immature
9-10-22 Rose-breasted Grosbeak immature, Northern Flicker and American Robin9-10-22 Rose-breasted Grosbeak immature, Northern Flicker and American Robin

 

A young Rose-breasted Grosbeak wanted a turn! It had to beg for a drink from this Northern Flicker, which had displaced the robins for a bit.

  9-10-22 Magnolia Warbler9-10-22 Magnolia Warbler

9-10-22 Magnolia Warbler9-10-22 Magnolia Warbler

 

What bird is this? Yes, another Magnolia Warbler was in the mix.

 

9-10-22 Yellow-billed Cuckoo9-10-22 Yellow-billed Cuckoo 9-10-22 Yellow-billed Cuckoo9-10-22 Yellow-billed Cuckoo 9-10-22 Yellow-billed Cuckoo9-10-22 Yellow-billed Cuckoo 9-10-22 Yellow-billed Cuckoo9-10-22 Yellow-billed Cuckoo

 

Now, we sure don't see this very often! A Yellow-billed Cuckoo slipped down through the canopy to bathe at the sump puddle. This bird had its own 'cuckoo' version of the hokey-pokey! It plopped into a tight spot at the edge, spun a half-turn, splashed a bit, spun again and kept this up for a few minutes before perching to shake off. I only remember a few times that I've seen this species come to water. Remarkable flair, eh?

 

  9-10-22 Red-eyed Vireo9-10-22 Red-eyed Vireo

9-10-22 Red-eyed Vireo immature9-10-22 Red-eyed Vireo immature

 

Red-eyed Vireos were in this mixed flock. The adult has red eyes, the immature bird in the second photo has brown eyes. 

 

9-10-22 Northern Parula female9-10-22 Northern Parula female

9-10-22 Northern Parula female9-10-22 Northern Parula female

 

There were several Northern Parulas, two males and this female. All spent time foraging in the native hydrangeas (Hydrangea arborescens).

 

  9-10-22 FOS Cedar Waxwing immature Bubbler #879-10-22 FOS Cedar Waxwing immature Bubbler #87 9-10-22 FOS Cedar Waxwing immature Bubbler #879-10-22 FOS Cedar Waxwing immature Bubbler #87 9-10-22 FOS Cedar Waxwing immature Bubbler #879-10-22 FOS Cedar Waxwing immature Bubbler #87

 

Two FOS Cedar Waxwings came down near the bubbler. The adult left this immature bird to figure out how to get a drink on its own. This happens often with different species. Cardinals, robins, wrens, etc. will drop off the young birds, leaving them for a life lesson. It reminds me of the "Mother's Day Out" programs when our kids were in nursery school! I'm humbled to think the birds seem to feel some trust in the safety of our sanctuary.

 

 

9-13-22 Tennessee Warbler and Carolina Chickadee9-13-22 Tennessee Warbler and Carolina Chickadee 9-13-22 Tennessee Warbler and Carolina Chickadee9-13-22 Tennessee Warbler and Carolina Chickadee 9-13-22 Tennessee Warbler, Carolina Chickadee and House Finch9-13-22 Tennessee Warbler, Carolina Chickadee and House Finch 9-13-22 Tennessee Warbler  and House Finch9-13-22 Tennessee Warbler and House Finch

 

A Carolina Chickadee was not happy that a Tennessee Warbler was at 'his' bubbler! Eventually, all three birds got what they needed.

 

9-13-22 Magnolia Warbler9-13-22 Magnolia Warbler

 

QUIZ BIRD! (Easy-peasy)

 

4-1-22 Red-breasted Nuthatch4-1-22 Red-breasted Nuthatch

 

Yesterday, I heard the 'little toy horn' of a Red-breasted Nuthatch! It was another 30 minutes before I saw it, working along a branch of the pond cypress. This photo is one I took in April, but it will have to serve until this little guy comes back again. Hopefully, we'll be seeing them this winter. They always bring a smile!

 

9-15-22 Eastern Bluebirds9-15-22 Eastern Bluebirds 9-15-22 Eastern Bluebirds9-15-22 Eastern Bluebirds 9-15-22 Eastern Bluebirds9-15-22 Eastern Bluebirds

 

Yesterday afternoon, the Eastern Bluebirds were back. One did NOT want this male to come near 'his' dripper! So, squabbles happen between the same species, too. There's always something!

 

The heat is on with temperatures going back up into the upper 90's next week.

When will we see some more migrants, is Fall really here yet?

 

 

 

 


ALL ABOUT WARBLERS!! 9-7-22

September 07, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Warblers are moving through! And yes, these are all warblers...

 

9-7-22 Black-throated Green Warbler9-7-22 Black-throated Green Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

 

8-30-22 Ovenbird8-30-22 Ovenbird 8-30-22 Ovenbird8-30-22 Ovenbird 8-30-22 Ovenbird8-30-22 Ovenbird

Ovenbird

 

8-31-22 Wilson's Warbler female8-31-22 Wilson's Warbler female 8-31-22 Wilson's Warbler female8-31-22 Wilson's Warbler female 9-3-22 Wilson's Warbler female9-3-22 Wilson's Warbler female

Wilson's Warbler, female 

 

8-31-22 Magnolia Warbler8-31-22 Magnolia Warbler 8-31-22 Magnolia Warbler8-31-22 Magnolia Warbler

9-5-22 Magnolia Warbler9-5-22 Magnolia Warbler

Magnolia Warbler 

 

8-31-22 American Redstart first year male8-31-22 American Redstart first year male

American Redstart

 

9-2-22 Bay-breasted Warbler female9-2-22 Bay-breasted Warbler female

9-5-22 Bay=breasted Warbler9-5-22 Bay=breasted Warbler 9-2-22 Bay-breasted Warbler female9-2-22 Bay-breasted Warbler female

9-6-22 Bay-breasted Warbler9-6-22 Bay-breasted Warbler

Bay-breasted Warbler

 

9-2-22 Blue-winged Warbler female9-2-22 Blue-winged Warbler female

9-2-22 Blue-winged Warbler female9-2-22 Blue-winged Warbler female
9-2-22 Blue-winged Warbler female9-2-22 Blue-winged Warbler female

Blue-winged Warbler

 


9-4-22 FOS Canada Warbler female9-4-22 FOS Canada Warbler female 9-4-22 FOS Canada Warbler female9-4-22 FOS Canada Warbler female 9-4-22 FOS Canada Warbler female9-4-22 FOS Canada Warbler female

Canada Warbler, female

  9-6-22 FOS Black-and-white Warbler female9-6-22 FOS Black-and-white Warbler female

Black-and-white Warbler, female

 

9-6-22 FOS Blackburnian Warbler9-6-22 FOS Blackburnian Warbler 9-6-22 FOS Blackburnian Warbler9-6-22 FOS Blackburnian Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler, the Firethroat! 

 

9-6-22 FOS Blackburnian Warbler and Chestnut-sided Warbler9-6-22 FOS Blackburnian Warbler and Chestnut-sided Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler (what a contortionist!) joined by a Chestnut-sided Warbler 

 

9-6-22 FOS Blackburnian Warbler and Chestnut-sided Warbler9-6-22 FOS Blackburnian Warbler and Chestnut-sided Warbler 9-6-22 FOS Blackburnian Warbler and Chestnut-sided Warbler9-6-22 FOS Blackburnian Warbler and Chestnut-sided Warbler 9-6-22 FOS Blackburnian Warbler and Chestnut-sided Warbler9-6-22 FOS Blackburnian Warbler and Chestnut-sided Warbler

 

 

Words cannot describe!

To see all the warblers since the last post:  Warblers since 8/29/22

 

9-2-22 Eastern Bluebirds9-2-22 Eastern Bluebirds

 

If you'd like to see all the birds since the last post, including scruffy Eastern Bluebirds:  Birds since 8/29/22

 

May this bring a bit of cheer to you...

 

 

 

 

 


8-28-22 Late August musings

August 28, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

8-23-22 Color!8-23-22 Color!

The Songbird and Butterfly Garden is a riot of color in August!

 

8-23-22 White Cardinal Flower8-23-22 White Cardinal Flower  

 

This summer, there is a White Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis 'alba'). This is not a plant that I purchased, but a naturally occurring strain. It has a touch of pink in it.

 

8-8-11-5268 RTHU White Lobelia cr8-8-11-5268 RTHU White Lobelia crRuby-throated hummingbird nectaring at white lobelia in our garden

 

In August, 2011, this hummingbird sipped nectar from the flowers of the first one that grew in the garden.The bird may have pollinated the seeds of the plant that is growing right now! Perhaps the seeds have lain dormant, and rain exposed them this year.

 

8-20-22  Meadow Phlox8-20-22 Meadow Phlox 8-23-22 Rose Mallow8-23-22 Rose Mallow

 

Meadow Phlox (Phlox paniculata) and Rose Mallows (Hibiscus lasiocarpus) are also in bloom.

 

8-21-22 Chestnut-sided Warbler first fall female8-21-22 Chestnut-sided Warbler first fall female 8-21-22 Chestnut-sided Warbler first fall female8-21-22 Chestnut-sided Warbler first fall female

 

A week ago, the first Chestnut-sided Warblers showed up, all first year females.

 

8-21-22 Least Flycatcher8-21-22 Least Flycatcher

 

A Least Flycatcher was also seen perched and fly-catching from a limb in a Shingle Oak (Quercus imbricaria).

  8-21-22 Chestnut-sided Warbler first fall female8-21-22 Chestnut-sided Warbler first fall female 8-21-22 Chestnut-sided Warbler first fall female8-21-22 Chestnut-sided Warbler first fall female 8-21-22 Chestnut-sided Warbler first fall female8-21-22 Chestnut-sided Warbler first fall female 8-21-22 Chestnut-sided Warbler first fall female8-21-22 Chestnut-sided Warbler first fall female

 

The Chestnut-sided Warblers continued to come into the bubbler area all through the day. There were at least two, maybe five or six.

 

8-22-22 Monarch female on Eastern Blazingstar8-22-22 Monarch female on Eastern Blazingstar

 

The next evening, we saw another Monarch in the garden, this time it was a female. So, the following morning, I spent more time looking around the garden. Maybe I'd missed something!

 

8-23-22 Monarch caterpillar on Marsh Milkweed8-23-22 Monarch caterpillar on Marsh Milkweed 8-23-22 Monarch caterpillar #2 on Marsh Milkweed8-23-22 Monarch caterpillar #2 on Marsh Milkweed

 

To my surprise, there were two good-sized Monarch caterpillars on the Marsh Milkweeds! Obviously, a female had visited, perhaps 10 days earlier, to lay the eggs. Other insects were also busy in the garden.

 

8-23-22 Praying Mantis on Marsh Milkweed8-23-22 Praying Mantis on Marsh Milkweed

 

In one patch of milkweed, a Praying Mantis was hiding in plain sight.

 

8-23-22 Augochlorine Sweat Bee on Ironweed8-23-22 Augochlorine Sweat Bee on Ironweed 8-23-22 Native bee on Ironweed8-23-22 Native bee on Ironweed

 

Two native bees were on the Ironweed (Vernonia arkansana).

 

8-23-22 Skipper sp. on Eastern Blazingstar8-23-22 Skipper sp. on Eastern Blazingstar

 

A skipper species sipped nectar on Eastern Blazingstar (Liatris scariosa).

 

8-22-22 Walking stick8-22-22 Walking stick

 

A walking stick was on the railing as I passed by.

 

8-23-22 Barred Owlet8-23-22 Barred Owlet 8-23-22 Barred Owlet8-23-22 Barred Owlet

 

We were finishing dinner when the birds started fussing. Dan saw the large bird land near the base of the Pond Cypress. All this fuss was for a Barred Owlet! It was our first confirmation of a young bird this year. We'd been hearing the family hootenanny quite often at dusk, at dawn and during the night. 
 

8-28-22 Ruby=throated Hummingbird8-28-22 Ruby=throated Hummingbird 8-28-22 Ruby=throated Hummingbird immature8-28-22 Ruby=throated Hummingbird immature

 

As you watch those Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, adult and immature alike, chase each other from feeders and flowers, here are some interesting words to consider that were posted on MOBirds today from Lanny Chambers, licensed hummingbird bander. 

 

"The next week is historically the annual peak for Ruby-throated Hummingbird numbers in Missouri. Bear in mind, this is mainly due to the flow of southward migration, and many of today's birds are not the same individuals you saw yesterday. As for the "4X rule," I think it may be conservative; at my home I almost never see more than two hummers at one time (i.e., in a chase), yet a couple of days ago I banded nine in one afternoon, without a single recapture of a previously-banded bird. So, even yards without hordes of hummingbirds are probably feeding many more individuals than is obvious. A friend and fellow bander in Colorado was feeding 9 gallons of syrup daily last time I talked with him two weeks ago, and expected to reach 12 gallons by Labor Day. A rough rule of thumb is 1,000 birds per gallon per day. Imagine filling 25 30-ounce feeders twice every day!

Keep your feeders clean, and watch for Rufous or other western hummers passing through between now and late December. Some of you will remember the Allen's Hummingbird that visited me on Thanksgiving Day 2008."


 

8-20-22 Cardinal flower8-20-22 Cardinal flower

 

Thank you, Lanny! Typically, I clean and change the feeders every fourth morning. That schedule in this heat and humidity seems to prevent black mold from starting up around the ports.

Enjoy the birds, more migrants will be showing up soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


8-21-22 Late summer sightings

August 21, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

 

What is August without some fun?

 

8-8-22 Two young raccoons

 

8-8-22 Brown Thrasher8-8-22 Brown Thrasher 8-8-22 Eastern Wood-Pewee8-8-22 Eastern Wood-Pewee 8-11-22 Blue Jays8-11-22 Blue Jays

 

A scruffy Brown Thrasher popped into view one morning, Eastern Wood-Pewees are still being seen. Blue Jays are a part of the daily action!

 

8-12-22 Common Grackle8-12-22 Common Grackle 8-12-22 Common Grackle8-12-22 Common Grackle 8-12-22 Common Grackle eating spider8-12-22 Common Grackle eating spider

 

These young Common Grackles were investigating the pond, one to get water and the second found a spider in that web for its lunch! 

 

8-12-22 Ruby-throated Hummingbird8-12-22 Ruby-throated Hummingbird 8-15-22 Ruby-throated Hummingbird8-15-22 Ruby-throated Hummingbird

 

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are busy from dawn until dusk, protecting their patch of flowers or a feeder and checking out the bubbler.

 

8-15-22 Baltimore Oriole immature female8-15-22 Baltimore Oriole immature female 8-15-22 American Robin and Baltimore Oriole immature female8-15-22 American Robin and Baltimore Oriole immature female 8-15-22 Baltimore Oriole immature female8-15-22 Baltimore Oriole immature female 8-15-22 Baltimore Oriole immature female and House Finch8-15-22 Baltimore Oriole immature female and House Finch

 

Another migrant arrived on Monday, 8-15-22. It was a young female Baltimore Oriole. The bird was thirsty!

 

8-15-22 Waved Sphinx Moth8-15-22 Waved Sphinx Moth

 

A Waved Sphinx moth (Ceratomia undulosa) flew in while I was photographing that same day. Its host plants are ash, oak, hawthorn and fringe tree. Fully grown caterpillars pupate underground and the adults probably do not feed.

Waved Sphinx Moth


8-20-22 Eastern Blazingstar8-20-22 Eastern Blazingstar 8-20-22 Marsh Milkweed8-20-22 Marsh Milkweed

 

Yesterday morning, the Eastern Blazingstar (Liatris scariosa) was blooming nicely and so was the Marsh Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata). Still, there was no evidence yet of Monarch caterpillars on the milkweed.

 

8-20-22 FOY Monarch8-20-22 FOY Monarch

 

A bit later when I checked, there was the first Monarch of the year! It was flying about, sipping nectar and then resting on a coneflower head when I found it again.

 

8-20-22 Monarch on E. Blazingstar8-20-22 Monarch on E. Blazingstar 8-20-22 FOY Monarch on Marsh Milkweed8-20-22 FOY Monarch on Marsh Milkweed

8-20-22 FOY Monarch on Marsh Milkweed8-20-22 FOY Monarch on Marsh Milkweed 8-20-22 FOY Monarch on Ironweed8-20-22 FOY Monarch on Ironweed

Monarch male and femaleMonarch male and female

 

It was a nice, fresh looking male as indicated by the thinner veins with the black spots or swollen veins on the hind wings. Last photo shows both sexes for a comparison.

 

Today has been a busy day with the cool front that came in overnight. I'll save those stories until next time! 

 

 

 

 

 


8-8-22 Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillars and more

August 08, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

It's August, and daylight is a bit less each day, nearly an hour lost since the Summer Solstice.

However, it seems there is more activity in this condensed time frame.

There is always something going on in a native garden!

 

7-31-22 Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)7-31-22 Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)

 

We were having breakfast one morning when I noticed the spicebush (Lindera benzoin) near the pond had a folded leaf. Caterpillars! I found quite a few on the different plants in the east beds.

 

7-30-22 Spicebush Caterpillar leaf tent7-30-22 Spicebush Caterpillar leaf tent 7-30-22 Spicebush Caterpillar in leaf tent7-30-22 Spicebush Caterpillar in leaf tent 7-30-22 Spicebush Caterpillar7-30-22 Spicebush Caterpillar 7-30-22 Spicebush Caterpillar7-30-22 Spicebush Caterpillar 7-31-22 Spicebush Caterpillar and egg debris7-31-22 Spicebush Caterpillar and egg debris

8-4-19 Spicebush Swallowtail  female laying eggs on Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)8-4-19 Spicebush Swallowtail female laying eggs on Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)

 

Here is a female Spicebush Swallowtail laying eggs in 2020. I've been seeing one around, they're quick about it.

 

7-26-22 Eastern Wood-Pewee7-26-22 Eastern Wood-Pewee 8-2-22 Eastern Wood-Pewee immature8-2-22 Eastern Wood-Pewee immature 8-8-22 Eastern Wood-Pewee8-8-22 Eastern Wood-Pewee

 

Eastern Wood-Pewees have been busy catching flying insects in the woodland and near the pond.

 

7-31-22 Ruby-throated Hummingbird7-31-22 Ruby-throated Hummingbird 7-31-22 Ruby-throated Hummingbird7-31-22 Ruby-throated Hummingbird

 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird numbers are picking up.

 

8-6-22 Northern Cardinals8-6-22 Northern Cardinals 8-7-22 Northern Cardinal juvenile8-7-22 Northern Cardinal juvenile 8-7-22 Northern Cardinal8-7-22 Northern Cardinal

 

Northern Cardinals are still feeding their begging young. The two males look a bit worse for the wear as they are losing feathers in summer molt.

 

7-26-22 Red-bellied Woodpecker juvenile7-26-22 Red-bellied Woodpecker juvenile 8-8-22 Red-bellied Woodpecker juvenile8-8-22 Red-bellied Woodpecker juvenile

 

A young Red-bellied Woodpecker has been teasing sunflower hearts out of the feeder with its tongue.

  8-8-22 American Robin and Northern Flicker8-8-22 American Robin and Northern Flicker 8-8-22 Blue Jay8-8-22 Blue Jay

 

Dan's weather station has recorded 17.67" of rain since 7-1-22. Our whole yard is basically a rain garden, but this has been really challenging. It has been so hot, birds are still coming in to cool off, bathe and get sips of water. An American Robin and Northern Flicker were in the basin today, and a Blue Jay drank at the bubbler. 

 

7-9-22 Pawpaw Fruit (Asimina triloba)7-9-22 Pawpaw Fruit (Asimina triloba)

 

There are some bright spots. Our little grove of Pawpaws (Asimina triloba) now has one tree with fruit. 
 

8-5-22 Ironweed (Vernonia Arkansan)8-5-22 Ironweed (Vernonia Arkansan)

 

Ironweed is blooming, and the hummingbirds have been drinking nectar from the purple blossoms. 

 

8-8-22 Syrphid fly at Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis)8-8-22 Syrphid fly at Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

 

Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinals) is a favorite of the hummingbirds, too. But look carefully and you'll see a tiny syrphid fly hovering on the right side of the brilliant red spire.

 

8-8-22 Tiger Swallowtail on Marsh Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)8-8-22 Tiger Swallowtail on Marsh Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

 

Today, a Tiger Swallowtail was on the Marsh Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata). But when will we see the officially endangered Monarch? 

 

Take care, stay cool!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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