A few more pictures from that batch of caterpillars
They start off so small. (There are 2 eggs in the picture above)On their way to becoming eating machines. (4 caterpillars near the middle of the picture, click on the image to get a full size version)The black swallowtail after pumping his wings full. This set of pictures was from a couple of years ago. Usually, the butterflies from the first batch of the year emerge around the beginning of July. As mentioned in the last post, we will often plant fennel for the purpose of hosting the caterpillars. It doesn’t cost much and seeing the new butterflies is definitely worth it. They (Black Swallowtail caterpillars) will eat parsley, carrots, dill and several other related plants. The ones in our area seem to prefer fennel.
One other interesting thing happened with the fennel. It grew back the next year. If the conditions are right it is a biennial or even a perennial. It was even bigger than the year before, but the caterpillars seemed up to the challenge.
We will sometimes plant fennel to feed them.
This is what the previous butterfly looked like around a couple of weeks earlier (not necessarily the same individual).
Things have been a little busy/stressful lately, so here is a random butterfly to look at.
After the Wren tried to build a nest in our last grill, we purchased a cover for our new grill. Weather is going to keep it covered today (Alberto).
Hiding on the far side of a feeder doesn’t always work.
With bird feeders, and seed blocks especially, you really begin to learn how to identify birds by their tails. Some birds spread their tails out while others neatly stack them. Then there is the positon that they hold their tail in (up, down, straight out). After a bit of time, you become familar enough with your local birds to be able to make a pretty good guess at identification from just the tail. This particular picture shows some of the body as well.The bird in question is a Tufted Titmouse. The above picture is from one of our other feeders a couple of years ago. In the case of the Tufted Titmouse, it is the color combined with the mostly stacked straight out position that typically gives it away.
Goldfinches leave our area just as they get their yellow back
Goldfinches (well the males) are bright yellow during the summer, but are fairly plain during the winter. Where we live they tend to leave about the same time as their summer color comes in. Sadly, we are just south of their summer nesting range.
We look forward to their return every spring
The lighting is not the best in this picture as it was fairly late in the evening. We had put the feeder out about a week before. We kept on checking until suddenly he was there on the feeder. This hummingbird (along with a 2nd one we saw the next day) are probably on their way further north.
The determined bird gets the seed
This is a frequent sight when it isn’t trying to nest in our garage.
Cedar Waxwings, strip your bushes of berries, drink your birdbaths dry
We typically see large flocks of Cedar Waxwings this time of year. They work as a group, when they don’t accidentally land on each other. Also visible in this picture is an American Robin.