Thursday, May 20, 2010

Garden Visitors--May 2010

First visitor, on May 13th, this crazy looking moth hanging out on the door to the garage.

This is a Giant Leopard Moth, and here is the wiki on it
One interesting note, it says that the caterpillars of this moth are the woolly bear caterpillars with a red band. Boy and I have found several of these caterpillars in our yard over the last few months, but I've never seen the moth before. Pretty!

There is nothing too special about these birds, just common Starlings. I guess it is sort of special to note that Starlings are a non-native species that was introduced into Central Park in NYC back in the 1800s and has since spread to every single state. (double check me on those facts... it is just what I remember reading somewhere) We have Starlings in our yard every day, but what is neat is that this time, they brought their baby!

This awkward little guy was very funny to watch. He would occasionally trip over a stick or blade of grass and end up falling over. He would then run over to his mommy and stay near her for a while. Several times, if he was following too close to his mommy he would not notice when she stopped and he crash right into her. Quite the birdy circus in the yard.

Here are our other young visitors, a baby white winged dove and the parent. Notice the pretty blue eye bands around the adult?

Doves are one of the most common birds in our yard.

Then a few days later, I saw this!

a mommy bird and two babies, these guys are morning doves. They are the more common type of dove in our area of Texas.

There is also a smaller Inca Dove that has black bands along the bottom of each feather. I have not gotten a picture of those in our yard yet, but I have seen them.

So how I do know all about these birds? I have a helper (notice the bird book under his arm).

Not really, his bird 'I-denty-fa-cA-si-on' book is old and basically useless unless you really don't know what you are looking at or don't need a lot of details. He loves to help though.

This is kind of a cheater picture. More just to remind me to tell the story than to actually show anything. This is taken at the back end of my garden, the gray metal thing in the picture is our gas meter, which was placed directly on the property line, making it a real pain to fence the yard. The previous owners built around the gas meter with a weird boxy addition to the fence. We chose to build over it, just leaving a cut out around the portion of the meter that sticks through. Perched on the lowest pipe of the meter is a baby mocking bird. Nope, you cannot see it from the photos. He has been sitting there for a few days and screaming so loud when his parents come to feed him. He is too small to fly yet, so he must have fallen from the nest. Really, it is a fairly safe spot for him to be. He is hidden by brush and can retreat to either side of hte fence if there is something out to get him. Well, safe except from big dumb me who nearly knocked him over the other day when I went out to investigate all the noise coming from my garden. I decided to be nice to him and not try to take too close of a photo of him.

I also had an insight into my garden visitor from last year at this time-- the baby blue heron In early May, I spotted two full grown blue herons as they flew into a tree in a neighbors yard behind our house (about 2 houses south of us). They are nesting there which explains why the barely-flying baby ended up in my garden last year.


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