Another month, another slew of wildlife happenings in my gardens. Thanks to for-the-most-part regular rains this year, there are more butterflies, moths and birds in my gardens. Central Texas is still in drought, but it’s eased a tiny bit within Austin’s city limits.
Around my pond there is almost always a dragonfly or two–weaving, diving, hovering, then resting on the tips of nearby foliage after their flying frenzy. I often see this handsome fellow, a Neon Skimmer (Libellula croceipennis) and his relatives.
This particular species is the most common of the order Odonata around these parts.
Another common dude cruising, landing and generally being gorgeous is the Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis).
He posed nicely for me one hot, sunny afternoon while I was in the pond, feeding my lilies and having my toes nibbled by the fish. For the last two summers, I didn’t see as many dragon and damselflies in my gardens owing to the ongoing drought. I’m happy to say that this summer they’re back in full force; I’ve enjoyed the show.
Just what the world needs, more “stink” bugs.
These two love-bugs are commonly called Leaf-footed bugs (Leptoglossus phyllopus).
They are happily ensconced in my gardens, I’m somewhat sorry to say, though I admire their resourcefulness. Leaf-footed bugs are in the general category of “sucking” insects–meaning that they suck juices from plants. They puncture their plant victims with their mouths and suck the juices out, leaving the fruits or berries hard and discolored. They menace commercial and home crops, like tomatoes (my tomatoes, to be specific). I didn’t bother these two (I am after all, a romantic), but I’ve been known to squish’m. Yeah.
On to something prettier and more welcome in my gardens, this Red Admiral butterfly (Vanessa atalanta) was sunning herself poolside. She’s easily identified by the top part of her wings as she held them open.
The undersides of her hind-wings and fore-wings are also colorful.
Her wings are held in a vertical position, like a soldier at attention, though she’s actually at rest.
I’m fairly sure this is the adult version of the caterpillar that I profiled last month, the Yellow-striped Armyworm Moth, Spodoptera ornithogalli.
When I was identifying that caterpillar, I noticed in photographs of the adult moth that the pattern on the wing varies, though all share the muted, mottled gray/brown coloration.
I spied this lovely orb-weaver in her netting between Iris straps a few weeks ago.
I couldn’t identify her and I hoped to observe her for a few days. Alas, she disappeared the next day. I’ll just call her a garden spider.
This female hummingbird was sipping her breakfast when I rudely approached to take some photos of her plant choice of nectar.
I don’t know what species of hummer she is
…I can only confirm she’s a she and not a he.
We surprised each other. About the same time I realized there was a tiny bird in my camera lens, she realized there was a person photographing her dining experience. I was enthralled and she was annoyed. She promptly flew off–maybe to shoot some hoops?
While gabbing on the phone to a friend one Sunday afternoon, I found this enchanting butterfly working the blooms on delicious oregano.
This Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus) crawled from branches to blooms and back again.
Such a pretty little thing.
He never opened his wings, so I couldn’t see the top side of the hind and fore wings, but you can see those here and read further about this member of the Lycaenidae sub-family of butterflies. The Lycaenidae are members of the Superfamily Papilionoidea, apparently considered “true butterflies”.
I enjoy lots of wildness in my gardens and I bet you do too. Please join in posting about the wild visitors to your gardens for August Wildlife Wednesday. Share the rare or mundane, funny or fascinating, beneficial or harmful critters you encounter. When you comment on my post, leave a link to your post for Wildlife Wednesday.
Happy Wildlife Wednesday and good wildlife gardening!
Yay! Wildlife Wednesday again! July kind of scooted right by, didn’t it? Great shots, especially of the hairstreak. They are tiny but gorgeous. I have plans to dig out a lot of my oregano to make room for more native plants, but I’ll leave a patch for the hairstreaks. They love that stuff and I love them. .
Here’s my contribution for Wildlife Wednesday: http://austinagrodolce.blogspot.com/2014/08/what-you-see-in-your-own-garden-might.html
Happy WW! I’ve never noticed the Hairstreak before–but I’m also noticing critters like Hairstreaks more. I find the oregano a great source for pollinators; there always seems to be something working that plant. Yummy for me and them, I guess. Thanks as always for stopping by, Deb!
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You’re welcome–it’s a fun meme and it’s helped me to be a better identifier of the wild and wonderful in my own gardens.
Our son gave us a small oregano plant a couple of years ago. You know, right, that there is no such thing as a “small” oregano plant? At least, after a season there isn’t. Now it’s everywhere in our yard, and that’s just fine. We saw a Red Spotted Purple butterfly drinking from the oregano blooms the other day. Also noted that there is a lovely gentle fragrance from the blooms.
Here’s my contribution for the monthly post:
You’re right, Maggie. Oregano spreads and spreads, though I’ve never had it seed into other areas than where the original plant is. So many pollinators love oregano. Well, what’s not to love?? Thanks for participating! Happy WW!
Oh man, it’s EVERYWHERE! Side yard, front yard, rear yard at the composter… I’ve taken the “when life gives you lemons…” approach and have transplanted an entire slope in the stuff. Today the yard, tomorrow the entire block! (Hope the neighbours enjoy Italian seasoning.)
That’s really interesting. Given the numbers of bees and butterflies that I see on mine, I wonder why I don’t see more of it popping up in other spots? Hmm. Sauce anyone?
Hi! Blogger Deborah Wilson gave me the heads up about your Wildlife Wednesday. Here’s my contribution: http://sherylsmithrodgers.blogspot.com/2014/08/wildlife-wednesday-august-2014.html
Thanks for joining in the fun!
Hurrah for Wildlife Wednesday. And dragonflies. They were literally swarming at the pond last night.
Hi Debra! I just love dragons and damsels. So entertaining to watch in flight and beautiful and other-worldly to look at up close.
I love the dragonflies and all the critters you found in your garden. I’ll need to look for the Hairstreak, I don’t think I’ve seen one here.
I love those damsels and dragons too–I found another today–so pretty and interesting in their flight and behaviors. I bet you have that Hairstreak in SA. It’s a tiny little thing and doesn’t seem to fly and flutter as much as crawl as he’s feeding. Thanks for joining in Shirley!
Your wildlife is so amazing! Mine is nothing like that, but I was so intrigued by the idea that I decided to join in. Here’s what I have. http://myriad234.wordpress.com/2014/08/07/wildlife-wednesday-a-few-hours-late/
I’m so glad you’re on board and sharing what you’ve seen in your gardens, Deborah!! Have fun with this and hopefully, we’ll all learn a thing or two.
You got some good shots. I was lazy and avoiding the heat.. so don’t have many.
But, here’s my contribution. Thanks for hosting.
So glad you joined in, Linda! I don’t blame you for avoiding the heat–summer has finally arrived in Central Texas in full force!.
Tina – how do I automatically get your blog post. I don’t see an email button or join button.
Hi Gardenannie! I think there’s a gray button at the bottom of the page–I have five posts/page so you’ll have to scroll down to the bottom. The button has a plus sign and says “Follow”. I think that’s how it works. Let me know if that doesn’t work for you and we’ll figure something out. Thanks!
Found the follow button at the top of the page. Thanks!
Top or bottom, glad you found it!
I’m late to the party, but better late than never. I never get tired of seeing the hummingbirds in the garden. That orb-weaver has such an interesting web design! Thanks for sharing and hosting – one of my favorite memes! Here is some of the wildlife in my garden and abroad this past month. http://rebeccastexasgarden.blogspot.com/2014/08/wildlife-august-2014.html
No worries about being late–life happens! I’m glad you could join in this month. That hummingbird was just such a fluke–I didn’t even realize she was there until I was getting the blooms focused in the camera lens. So glad you like Wildlife Wednesday!