Precious Nature

Early May, Kevin told me that a couple of Mockingbirds were building a nest in our Photinia. After we cut the bush back to a tree, it seems to attract birds to build nest in it again. (There was a Cardinal nest earlier in the year. But a critter must have gotten to the eggs. The shells were scattered under the Photinia shortly after Mrs. Cardinal laid them.) Over the weeks, I watched the mockers come to their nest. First they checked on their eggs, and then they brought worms and bugs to the baby bird nursery. I always liked it, when the adult birds picked up these pesky June bugs out of my yard. That’s a few less fat bugs buzzing around my head, when I want to have a drink on my porch in the evenings.

Today, I heard a lot of cheeping in my frontyard. Chewbacca must have heard it, too. He looked out the front door. And there was Mr. and Mrs. Mockingbird causing a ruckus, because the cat sat by the door. That got my attention. I walked out on the front porch. Hm, no noisy little cheep. The adult Mockingbirds watched every move I made in the frontyard. Still nothing! In this heat, I decided it was better to go back into the house. A little bit later, I heard a high-pitched “Cheeeep, cheeeep, cheeeep”, again. This time, the adult bird flew over to the Texas Sage. I went outside, looked in the bush and saw a precious little fluff ball. Awww, it’s a beautiful little fledgling. Since the Northern Mockingbird is the Texas State Bird, I have to be very careful around it. But this little guy/girl made my heart melt.

Our Garden In Mid-May 2018

Our peppers and tomatoes love the warm May weather. And the other vegetables, fruits herbs and flowers (to attract pollinators) like it as well. Yesterday I’ve noticed, we are raising Cabbage White Butterflies inside the greenhouse. I found a couple of empty chrysalis on the Ornamental Kale leaves. No wonder, we have so many flying Cabbage Whites flying around in our garden. Well, I can’t blame them. There is a lot of cabbage to feast on for the caterpillars. And Family Cardinal is happy to get fresh caterpillars for their young. Here are several photos of what’s growing in our raised bed garden in mid-May.

A Visit From The Swainson’s Hawk

Four years ago on a Sunday morning in May, I heard a lot of commotion going on in my backyard. A flock of Blue Jays were screaming as loud as they could in the neighbor’s tree. And when these birds begin to be that noisy, there is usually danger close by. It was nesting season for them. When I looked out my patio door, I immediately saw what the issue was in the backyard: We had a Swainson’s Hawk sitting on the fence. It watched the songbirds on the feeders for a little bit, before these birds noticed the big guy and flew off. The Blue Jays, on the other hand, where really nervous and wanted the hawk gone out of their territory. Some jays came over, and began to attack the Swainson’s Hawk by pecking it on the head. The hawk had enough and flew off to nearby field. I can imagine, when half a dozen of little blue “bullies” would pick on me, I’m out of there too. Well, no baby jays for this hawk in our neighborhood that morning. But it looked very majestic sitting on our fence for a few minutes. It also gave me the chance to capture the moment.

The Cabbage White Butterfly & The Northern Cardinal

For several weeks, a few Cabbage White butterflies show up in my garden. And I know, exactly what their plan is from day one. I have cabbages, cauliflower and kohlrabi growing in my raised beds. This vegetables are the perfect nursery for Cabbage White caterpillars. Once the female laid her eggs, it is only a matter of days until these little boogers hatch and eat their way through my cabbage garden. I have to pick countless amounts of caterpillars off my cabbage leaves almost every day.

But I also get some help from Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal. Every afternoon, I see them picking caterpillars to feed their offspring. It’s great, having natural helpers in our garden. The downside: When Mr. Cardinal finds some juicy Black Swallowtail caterpillars in my parsley and dill, they end up between his beak and later in the baby cardinal tummies as well. UGH! I guess, we have to take the good with the bad.

Sandy “Cheeks” Squirrel

Now, that it is Spring, Sandy comes over to see Mr. Squirrel more frequently. They always hang out and tumble all over our fence and yard together. Mr. Squirrel has a thing for his sweet Sandy. But she makes him shriek sometimes. Because Sandy wants to be close to him, dine with him, and play with him. Sometimes, he’s not sure how to handle her. He always keeps an eye out for her, when she eats at the dish. I wonder, if she wants to be his long-time girlfriend. And he doesn’t want to commit. He sure loves his bachelor life for most of the year. But all he can think of is his Sandy, now. I guess, animals are not so different from us humans.

White-throated Sparrow

This afternoon, I’ve noticed a new visitor on our bird feeder. A little White-throated Sparrow came over for a little snack, before it flew into a neighboring tree. At least, it sat at the dish long enough for me to capture photo of it. Maybe it will come back soon, so I can get a better photo of this little bird. Bring some friends with you, little guy.

1899

First time, I’ve noticed a White-throated Sparrow in our yard.

Mr. Squirrel & Sandy

Oh boy! I can tell, it’s mating season. Mr. Squirrel brought his girlfriend, Sandy, over for brunch. After tumbling around in our yard and chasing each other up and down the fence, they both worked up quite a hungry belly. Both sat on the fence behind the greenhouse and watched me from a safe distance, while I filled up the dish with goodies. It didn’t take long, before Mr Squirrel jumped down from the fence and checked out the food. Sandy followed him quickly. As much as Mr. Squirrel loves his Sandy, he can not handle it having her sitting in the food dish, while he’s there. So, he always threw some seeds down to her. But that wasn’t enough for Sandy. She had to see for herself, what’s in the dish. Mr. Squirrel got startled, when Sandy jumped up. And they both ran away from each other. After a few minutes, Sandy was done with the brunch date and left. Mr. Squirrel came back and finished his meal. Now, he’s fed and taking a nap in the attic again. Yeah, he found his way back into the attic. No matter how many times we evict his squirrel butt, he always comes back again. Can we really blame him?