July sightings and introduction to Fall Warblers! 7-12-20

July 12, 2020  •  2 Comments

Wow. It's never too early in the morning to make the wrong assumption!


Remember the hungry little caterpillar? I couldn't find it because it had crawled off to another leaf during the night. I discovered it a few days later and it had been changing dramatically into a "fifth instar" caterpillar. Instead of looking like a bird dropping, it had taken on the form of a formidable looking, large-eyed snake. 


6-30-20 Spicebush Swallowtail 5th instar6-30-20 Spicebush Swallowtail 5th instar 6-30-20 Spicebush Swallowtail 5th instar6-30-20 Spicebush Swallowtail 5th instar

7-2-20 Spicebush Swallowtail7-2-20 Spicebush Swallowtail


The last time I found it was on the morning of 7-3-20. By noon, it had gone AWOL again. However, I did find another small one on a lower branch of the same plant. 


7-7-20 Second Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar7-7-20 Second Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar


On the Fourth of July, I did another bee survey and found this interesting little Agapostemon species or Striped Sweat Bee. Its psychedelic coloring included violet antennae. That day, I confirmed a Monarch in the garden, though the photo was hardly in focus, it only stayed a millisecond.


7-4-20 Striped Sweat Bee Agapostemon sp.7-4-20 Striped Sweat Bee Agapostemon sp.

7-2-20 Monarch on Purple Coneflower7-2-20 Monarch on Purple Coneflower


Tiger Swallowtails have been dancing in the garden, too. Just like the bees, they are all over the sweet balls of the Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis).

7-8-20 E. Tiger Swallowtail on Buttonbush7-8-20 E. Tiger Swallowtail on Buttonbush


White-tailed does and fawns have been coming through. At times, the young ones really kick up their heels and chase each other.


7-9-20 Fawn7-9-20 Fawn


Birds have been busy feeding and getting into the water features. Mourning doves are sometimes seen in the morning or late afternoon.


6-27-20 Mourning Dove6-27-20 Mourning Dove


Youngsters are now coming on their own or in pairs. Northern Cardinals, Tufted Timice and Carolina Chickadees are frequent visitors.


7-3-20 Northern Cardinal juvenile7-3-20 Northern Cardinal juvenile 7-5-20 Tufted Titmouse7-5-20 Tufted Titmouse 7-5-20 Carolina Chickadee7-5-20 Carolina Chickadee


The bigger the bird, the longer it takes to raise them. American Crows have a lot to learn from the adults. The sump puddle has become a bit of a classroom for them, and they are noisy about their lessons.

7-5-20 American Crow juvenile7-5-20 American Crow juvenile


All thrushes, like these American Robins, do love to bathe. They're quick studies when it comes to claiming ownership of a water feature.


7-6-20 American Robin juveniles at Dripper Bath7-6-20 American Robin juveniles at Dripper Bath


Two young Cooper's hawks have been investigating the basin this week. The larger one is probably a female. It seemed to be having some difficulty keeping lunch down.

  7-7-20 Cooper's Hawk juvenile #17-7-20 Cooper's Hawk juvenile #1 7-7-20 Cooper's Hawk juvenile #17-7-20 Cooper's Hawk juvenile #1 7--9-20 Cooper's Hawk juvenile #27--9-20 Cooper's Hawk juvenile #2


At least one female and two male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have been seen fairly regularly in the yard. One plant that is not native, but one I keep for them is this Salvia x Black and Blue. It has a high sugar content in the nectar and they really go for it. It keeps their energy up for catching tiny gnats and other insects.


7-6-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Salvia 'Black and Blue'7-6-20 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Salvia 'Black and Blue'


The American Goldfinches are checking the Purple Coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) for seed already. It's definitely a favorite of theirs. 


7-6-20 American Goldfinch  on Purple Coneflower7-6-20 American Goldfinch on Purple Coneflower


Part of my time the last few weeks was spent in completing a project that's been on my list for a couple of years. Fall migration is fast approaching, believe it or not. Identifying warblers during this season is much more difficult because many of the birds don't just look dull, but look completely different. So, here is a link to a new gallery that shows an introductory slide for each species in the spring, followed by a variety of images of that species in the fall. There's even a quiz near the end. Have fun!


Fall Warbler Species at Shady Oaks









Barbara O'Brien(non-registered)
You never fail to thrill!!
Nancy Clogston(non-registered)
Dear Margy, I just immersed myself in your July blog with the Spring and Fall warbler plumage collection. What a fantastic collection of photos! I will be returning to this site often to study up on the warblers. I really appreciate your putting this together for real-life easy comparison. I also like how you identify the insects and the plants that attract them.
Thank you, as always, for your outstanding photography and for promoting care for our natural world. It's a gift you give to us all.
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