Red, White, Blue and Other Stuff Too: Wildlife Wednesday, July

As it’s both Wildlife Wednesday and Independence Day, let’s cheer America’s 242 birthday and wish a hearty huzzah for wildlife in the garden.

Wildlife is active in my garden this summer, but I’ve been slow at catching that activity. Feathered and furred alike, it seems they scatter when they see me with the camera!  That woman is out with her weird, third eye!!  Plus, it’s been unusually windy here, so photos of teeny-tiny bees-n-such have been difficult to come by. Nevertheless, wildlife persists, augmenting the beauty of the early summer garden.

This brilliant male Northern Cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis, brightens the landscape with Red plumage whenever he visits my garden.

He and his lovely lady,

…never nest in my garden, but are regular visitors to the trees, feeders, and water features.   They raised two chicks this spring and early summer; both babies have fledged and are learning to garden-hop.  I haven’t managed good shots of the girl, but the boy is working on his red attire.

He’s a bit mottled in this shot, taken in mid-June.   I’ve noticed recently that his red feathers are becoming more dominant, lessening his awkward teen appearance.  Thank goodness!  Soon, he and his sister will move on to a different part of the neighborhood, both in search for mates for next year.

As for White, well, it’s less in the guise of wildlife and more in flower form, like this sweet Four O’clock bloomMirabilis jalapa.  The flowers open at sundown and close early in the morning.

I guess for wildlife White, I could include some white-wing, as in this White-winged DoveZenaida asiatica.

Like many birds who visit the pond, this one perches on a rock which is adjacent to the tumbling rush of cool water.

Blue has greater representation in my garden with a bevy of Blue jays,  Cyanocitta cristata, who call it home.

I dole out peanuts every morning and the Blue jays love them!    Each morning,  7 or 8 jays take turns plucking peanuts from a ceramic bowl affixed to the fence.  Additionally, a Blue jay pair nested in my Mountain Laurel tree in May and June, so I’ve enjoyed watching the parenting care in raising the brood and the antics of the fledglings.  The newbies have finally learned how to take their own peanuts for breakfast, rather than fluttering their wings in hopes that mom or dad will share peanuts.

This Blue made a brief visit one afternoon.

Austin hosts numerous communities of Monk parakeets, Myiopsitta monachus.  I see them flying over my neighborhood and hear their loud cawing, but only rarely do they land in my garden.  I assume this Blue parakeet is part of a Monk group, though he/she could also be an escaped or lost pet.  The bird was eyeing my pond, but was in the tree for just a few minutes.

Other Things in the garden include an uptick of damselflies and dragonflies–they thrive in summer and are constant pond companions as they flit through the garden while hunting for their meals and resting on foliage.  This Neon Skimmer,  Libellula croceipennis, posed beautifully one weekend afternoon as I lolled in the swing.

This male is a bright orange, his mate of a paler hue.  I’ve observed her laying eggs in the pond several times this summer–more skimmers in our future, unless the fish eat all the larvae.

I see Red-bellied WoodpeckersMelanerpes carolinus, during winter and early spring, but this summer, both a male and female have been regular guests at the feeder.

This guy snatched black-oil sunflower seeds from the feeder, afterwards zooming to the nearby oak tree to stuff the seeds in a hole.  I didn’t see a juvenile at any point, but wondered if this was parenting behavior teaching a young one.

Finally, this unknown moth surprised me late one evening.

Like most folks, I’m bedazzled by the beauty of butterflies; their bright colors and lovely patterns seduce the wildlife watcher during daylight hours.  But moths are certainly gorgeous, though subtle in color.  Their patterns are remarkably intricate, but we don’t see these nighttime lovelies enough to appreciate their good looks or their contribution to flowers and gardens.

Wildlife in the garden–it’s been a good month and I hope you’ve enjoyed your critters, no matter what their colors, stars, or stripes.   Please post about your wild happenings and leave a link when you comment here–and happy wildlife gardening!

Happy Birthday, America–it’s been a good run for our democratic institutions–may they remain.

29 thoughts on “Red, White, Blue and Other Stuff Too: Wildlife Wednesday, July

  1. The moth is probably some sort of tree moth, with that pattern – usually very well camouflaged on tree bark. We have a lot like it here in the UK.

    I love the way the female (?) of the Cardinals has a red beak while the male is fully red, and the youngster is sort of a sort of patchy version of both!

    The parakeet-like thing is a blue budgerigar (commonly referred to in the UK as a budgie).

    I hope you’re having a good Independence day. 🙂

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    • Yes, I imagine you’re right about the moth. There are quite a few of these kinds of moths, I just couldn’t find an exact match for it as I looked through my usual sources. I did send a photo to Butterflies and Moths of North America and they’re usually good about getting back; I’ll update if I hear from them.

      The Cardinals are color-coordinated, aren’t they?

      I know that the blue parakeet is called a budgerigar–budgie in the UK. I’ve seen one or two of the blues in the flocks of Monk parakeet and I hope the one in my back garden was one of those, rather than someone’s lost pet.

      Thank you–it’s certainly a more sober day than in the past. Each Independence Day, National Public Radio has a recitation of the Declaration of Independence and I always find it moving. This morning, I felt very sad listening to it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Haha! I love that–creamsicle and it really does describe a female cardinal. Junior is smoothing out his coloring though, I just saw him today and he doesn’t quite look the mottled mess that he’s been.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Tina congratulations on Independence Day. Your photos are magnificent I love them all. The Northern Cardinal, his lady and his children are adorable. The white flower Mirabilis jalapa is beautiful. The Blue Jays are lovely. The Neon Skimer is divine. The unidentified nocturnal moth is very beautiful. They are all wonderful. Live Wildlife !!!! Tina that does not get too hot. Take care. Greetings from Margarita.

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    • Thanks, Margarita. I enjoy watching the birds and other critters around here and am glad when I get some decent shots. It’s been very hot here, but today, we had rain in the afternoon, so that was quite nice.

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    • Thanks! Truthfully, I’m having a hard time blogging, I just don’t quite have the interest, so I was glad to come up with a post that someone likes! Interesting about the parakeet; I’ve only had them visit very briefly.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy Independence Day from Australia. I enjoyed reading your red white and blue post. They are beautiful birds that visit your garden.

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    • Thanks so much, Jane! We really are very lucky here in Texas to have a wide variety of birds native to our area, plus those who migrate through in spring and fall. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Wildlife Wednesday – Flying High | Frogend dweller's Blog

  5. I’ll never tire of seeing your Northern cardinals, they are just so amazingly red (OK I am overlooking the females, but still…). The poor juvenile males look like they have chickenpox though! Glad to hear your boy is gradually coming together. Do your blue jays wait on you putting the peanuts out?
    Sorry my wildlife post is a day late. Here it is: https://wp.me/pM8Y1-7az

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  6. I’m really curious about that reddish-pink, almost gaura-like flower in your header. I have a photo of something similar that I haven’t been able to identify.

    What I can identify are bluejays, and I have a lot of those. They’ve been around since about November, and there have to be at least three family groups stopping by for peanuts. The woodpeckers always delight, of course. I spotted one that looks like yours, except there’s not a bit of red on its head. The poor thing looks bald! I’ve assumed it’s a juvenile, but I just haven’t looked it up.

    I’ve identified some flowers recently thanks to a new field guide that’s come out. It was reviewed in the last NPSOT newsletter; it’s Michael Eason’s Wildflowers of Texas. It’s the most useful book I’ve come across. For one thing, it covers all the ecoregions of the state, so I can carry it with me to the hill country, the coast, and so on. It’s beautifully organized by color, and by genus and species within the colors. A nice touch is the way they’ve made each color section visible by edging the pages in that color, and bless their hearts, they put a six inch/centimeter ruler on the back — with a nice, laminated cover.

    Even better, each page has three photos and descriptions, so you can compare multiple species from a single genus at a glance. There’s nothing like having six species of coreopsis spread out in front of you. Can you tell I’m enthused?

    I’m glad you got some rain, and I hope your Independence Day was great. Tuesday night my area got about four inches, and of course Houston got doused on the 4th. The good news is that the rain continued on down the coast, so some of the refuges may have a bit of water in their ponds.

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    • The rain was glorious, the coming mosquitoes–not so much! I got just under 2 inches, so that was a nice Independence Day gift. The book sounds great–I really need a guide like that. I use my phone, but I’m still fond of things with paper.

      I’m seeing more woodpeckers this summer and I never see them this time of year. Today, I saw a little female or juvenile Downy–just briefly–at my tube feeder (which is all I put out in the summer, peanuts excepted). I just love the Down woodpeckers, but they sure are hard to photograph! Lots of hummingbird action this summer–I’m thrilled about having so many (or maybe it’s just one or two really active ones).

      The flower is the stalk of a Red yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora). It’s a photo from several years ago, but they are in their prime now.

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    • They aren’t native to this area, but are descendants of released pets. Apparently, they don’t negatively impact other wildlife, but because of their huge nests built connected to electricity transformers, they have been responsible for some fires.

      As for the blue budgie, I don’t know if he/she was someone’s lost pet or a blue member of a bigger monk parakeet group. It is fun to see them, I have to admit!

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  7. A great collection of photos Tina, creative tie in with your Independence Day too! It was funny for me to see your pic of the budgie. Budgies are commonly called parakeets outside of Australia but they are the one and the same. A native bird here in Aussie, but also a popular pet here and overseas. I even had a blue one named Zoe when I was younger, she never spoke but was a great whistler!

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  8. Wonderful array of wildlife Tina! I was looking today at the neatly cut foliage of Cercis – the leaf cutters were busy, and I thought about you 🙂

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