Alligators, butterflies, dragonflies and squirrels are some of the wildlife living here in my area that are not birds. I spend most of my nature observation time looking for birds but I also appreciate the other critters! We have both Grey Squirrels and the Sherman’s Fox Squirrels here but the Grey Squirrels are the most commonly seen between the two. We also have Cotton-tail Rabbits, a variety of snakes and lizards and a few Coyotes and perhaps seldom seen, a Bobcat.
Alligators are here in most of the ponds and lakes. I often spot the butterflies and dragonflies in the preserves and of course in neighborhood yards and gardens. Always a beautiful sight! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
An Anole Lizard, A Zebra Long-wing which is the Florida State Butterfly, a Monarch Butterfly, a Killdeer bird, a couple of Grey Squirrels and a Cicada are the subjects of today’s post. The Killdeer was at the same pond where the Little Blue Heron was the other day. Anole lizards are all over the place here in Florida. They can change color from green to brown and even an orange-tan, and are basically harmless.
The Cicada shown may only be an empty shell as it did not move. They have come up and out from their many year-long sleep (some 13 years, others 17 years) underground during their immature stage. The Cicadas go up into the trees, and change shell (exoskeleton). The males make a huge amount of noise to attract their mates, meet their mates, enjoy adult life a bit, the females lay eggs (which hatch and nymphs fall to the ground and burrow down – nymphs suck tree roots for nourishment). The adults then die off as their life cycle completes. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Zebra Long-wing, Florida’s State Butterfly
Northern Yellow-shafted Flicker
I took these pictures in my yard yesterday, July 17, 2012. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Female Red-winged Blackbird
Canada Goslings Learning to Fly
I took these pictures on various days in the past few weeks in my yards. The Ruby-throated Hummingbird was up in the lakeshore Oak that has a branch hanging over the water. A cool spot for the little bird. The insects are Swallow-Tail Butterflies and a Dragonfly. I have enjoyed seeing a variety of animals, birds, and insects here this year and hope to have many more such pretty and interesting visitors in coming months. The weather is hot, there are many boats and swimmers out on the lake and my yard looks fairly chaotic due to the ongoing construction of the new dock. The new dock is nearly done but there still are several tick-list items to go before we can say “Done”. Today’s post will be the last one for about a month. I am taking a break from blogging for some well-deserved time off. The blog will resume in the first week of October. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Please consider donating to the American Red Cross or other similar disaster relief agency to help those who likely may be adversely affected by the coming Hurricane Irene along the East Coast. Many thanks! To my East Coast blog friends, I am thinking of you and hope all will be well.
Bird Feeders are extra-popular supplemental sources of food for creatures other than just birds as I have found this past year here. I have seen Grey Squirrels up on the feeder eating and shaking the seed so that it spilled to the ground. Once I had even seen a Chipmunk do the same (maybe it took note of what the squirrel did?). Amazing! Under the bird feeder, I have frequently seen ground feeding birds such as the Mourning Doves, Robins, and Sparrows. I additionally have seen Mallard Ducks enjoying the freebies from time to time. In a prior post here I documented how the Squirrel knocked the seed down and the Ducks cleaned up! Even the hummingbird nectar feeder has its share of free-loaders. I have recently taken pictures of Butterflies and Wasps on the nectar feeder. So, the hospitality extended by that bird feeder is appreciated by the wildlife. I do hope though, that the wasps find another buffet and our feeder won’t be a nuisance because of wasps. We do discourage the Squirrels each and every time we see them on top of the feeder or even attempting to climb the pole. By the way, the baffle system for the bird feeder pole really did not keep the Squirrels off so we discontinued using it. Please click on the thumbnail version to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Possibly a Monarch Butterfly
Here are some photographs I have taken fairly recently of some insects and butterflies that I have seen here in my yards and also along my street in neighbor’s gardens and along the shoreline of the lake near the dam. I won’t often post insect pictures but occasionally I like to include a variety of critters in my wildlife posts. Please click on the thumbnail version to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Possibly a Mayfly
Eastern Swallowtail Butterfly
Here are some photographs that I took the day before yesterday late in the afternoon of what I think are Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies on various flowers in my neighborhood. I say “I think” because I am in no way an expert on Butterflies, especially the ones here in the Eastern part of our country. The Swallowtail Butterfly males are the yellow and black Butterflies. The females can be blackish blue with small orange- yellow and red spots, or can also be the lighter familiar yellow with black stripes. The Swallowtails eat nectar of various flowers. In the life cycle, the eggs hatch into caterpillars, the caterpillars eat and then make a chrysalis and await their change into Butterflies. The butterflies then mate and lay eggs and start the next generation. The chrysalis, hangs on Willows, Basswoods, Ashes, Birches, Cottonwoods and Cherry trees among others. The caterpillars eat the leaves of these trees then make the chrysalis (some people think of this as a cocoon) and then emerge after days and become the Butterfly we see in these photographs. Some gardeners plant specific flowers to attract Butterflies, such as the lovely pink or white “Butterfly bush” known as Buddleia, seen in some of the photos. Please click on the thumbnail version to see the larger picture.
I saw this blue Butterfly on some wild shrubs down the street from my home while out on a bird watching walk with my camera one afternoon. I am not certain which species of Butterfly it is, but I will guess that it may possibly be a Red-Spotted Purple Admiral Butterfly. These do visit Cumberland County, TN where I live, at this time of year. In any case, the Butterfly is truly lovely! I am totally amazed that we seem to have a good population of Butterflies here in spite of having so very many birds around. Lucky for us! I know that this post is a rare departure from the usual ducks, birds, geese and squirrels that are the main emphasis, but I like to mix it up from time to time for everyone’s enjoyment. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger version of the photo. Enjoy!