They are here, the dog days of Summer. It seems like every critter has slowed down a bit, conserving energy in this heat. I've never seen a squirrel get in the water to cool off, but they do like to lay on the stone wall, close to the cooling effect of it.
Birds are different indeed. They love to find the nearest bird bath and refresh their little selves. Sometimes one by one, and sometimes two by two, they dive in. These young Carolina Wrens were soon chased off by the female cardinal who wanted a bit of the action.
The other bird bath had a pair of Eurasian Tree Sparrows thinking about it. Once they left, a Tufted Titmouse didn't hesitate.
Birds like this Carolina Chickadee continued the splash-fest while the temperature climbed to 97 degrees.
We've started watering again to help the plants until the rains come. The sprinkler was on the garden when we saw a Ruby-throated Hummingbird take a little shower before perching in the pond cypress. Dan spotted an Eastern Phoebe splash-bathing in the stream bed late one afternoon. Another day, an uncommon Yellow-billed Cuckoo went to the Bubbler for a long drink. So the birds remain active during this time. Be they thirsty, hungry or needing to feed young, almost anywhere we look at any time of day, there's bound to be something to see.
We hear the Barred Owls at different times but I have yet to find a youngster. The Red-shouldered Hawks slip into the woods and perch, waiting for a vole to make its last move.
The hummingbirds still hit the feeders in between nectaring at various flowers. This beauty is a favorite, the native Royal Catchfly (Silene regia).
I've been hearing a House Wren across the street when I water the plants on the front porch. Yesterday, I happened to catch it looking for food near the pond.
Summer is also the busiest time for butterflies and other insects. I saw a female Monarch one day, laying a few eggs in the garden. She headed south before I could grab the camera. Great Spangled Fritillaries bounce about the coneflowers when the sun is high. This one is a bit tattered. The underside of its hindwing has large silver spots, which help to differentiate it from the Variegated Fritillary.
A velvety Spicebush Swallowtail nectared at Black-and-blue Salvia in the shade before resting on some Cliff Goldenrod (Solidago drummondii).
One of many Silver-spotted Skippers nectared at this Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) in the garden.
A Familiar Bluet damselfly found a stem of Coral Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) to rest on.
So, keep a lookout for activity in your gardens. Fingers crossed, the rains will come and cool things off a bit. Who knows, maybe there will be a few first of fall migrants soon?