Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Wildlife Wednesday - May 2015

The wildlife that frequented the garden over the past month was pretty spectacular.  The birds and butterflies have definitely been the most impressive.


My neighbors that share a fenceline with me have a hedge full of flowers right now that are attracting an abundance of butterflies that I get to appreciate daily.  While these plants aren't directly in my garden, I'm going to count it anyways, because, while I don't find these butterflies collecting nectar from my garden right now, I do find them basking in the sun in between their sugary meals.

The most popular of the butterflies on this hedge are the red admirals (black, orange and white).  I've seen as many as 100 or so butterflies on this hedge at one time!  The shrubs just pulse with the multitude of wildlife that is enjoying their nectar.  Besides the red admirals, I've spotted some common buckeyes...

...and painted ladies...

...and grey hairstreaks.


The main attraction in the garden right now is by far my hummingbirds.  I've already dedicated an entire post to them, but I thought they needed to be highlighted here again.  Here are some of my favorite pictures of my hummers...

I've had quite a few black-chinned hummingbirds as well as Anna hummingbirds.

They love frequenting the feeders in the morning and evenings.

I've seen other gardeners with many hummers feasting at a feeder at one time, but my birds tend to be extremely territorial and like to scare each other off so that they get the feeder all to themselves (the male black-chins are the worst culprits).

I've also spotted either a male ruby-throated hummingbird or Anna's hummingbird, but he doesn't appear to be a bit fan of the paparazzi.

Springtime has brought about a bunch of baby birds, and now that we are getting later into spring, the fledglings have been pushed from their nests and have started working on their adult life skills.  

This fledgling mockingbird has already learned to seek shelter in the oleanders out front to keep away from predators and paparazzi, but I still got a picture of him as he fled the safety of the oleander in search of his momma.

I also saw the last of the American robins before they took off for some cooler summer weather up north.


The hummingbirds aren't the only ones that have been enjoying the hummingbird feeders.  I'm not quite sure who I've been feeding more... the hummers or the bees.  At this rate, I should start keeping bees.  I'm already feeding them, I might as well reap the rewards in liquid gold (aka honey).  Yeah... if only I had time for that.

When the bees aren't bee-ing lazy by feasting at the feeder, they can be readily found on the poppies.  I'm certainly happy about that... it means I have a good chance of having some nice poppy seed pods for replanting later in the year.

Bugs and Other Critters

I found these little green guys on the poppies and gaillardia.  Not sure what they are though.

I also found the largest snail that I've ever had in the garden.  Anyone know what kind it is?  Friend or foe?

Then there are the ladybugs on the fennel...

And more lady bugs without spots.  From what I can tell, both of these varieties are Asian ladybugs.

I've had a number of Black-Eastern Swallowtail caterpillars.  They seem to be a constant fixture in my garden, as long as I have fennel, parsley, and/or dill growing (which I always do).

Then there are other caterpillars I'm not as familiar with.  I found several that were munching down my sunflowers like nobody's business.  If you have any idea what they may be, please let me know!

And to close out this month's Wildlife Wednesday, one of my resident Texas spiny lizards, basking in the afternoon sun.

Thanks to Tina over at My Gardener Says for hosting this fun meme on the first Wednesday of every month!


  1. You have a lot going on!! Your photos are just beautiful--those hummingbirds--wow! You said the hummer doesn't like paparazzi, but he must like you, because he posed so well.

    Aren't the Red Admirals just the most friendly little things? I swear, they seem to WANT to have their photo taken. Also, there are lots of Gray Hairstreaks this spring--I've had them in my gardens, but so has everyone else.

    Thanks so much for joining in-your posts are always well-worth a read!

    1. Thanks, Tina. I always consider cutting down my number of photos and animals to highlight since there seem to be so many. I end up making a lot of cuts, but have a lot left to share. I guess that's a good problem to have ;-) Yes - the red admirals are very friendly. As I was taking snapshots of them, several landed on me. I guess I made a good sun bathing landing.

  2. Wow - great shots of all your visitors! Not the point of Wildlife Wednesday but I must say I love your poppies - I've got one bread seed poppy plant I'm checking daily to try and harvest seed from. I'll be happy to have more plants next year if reseeding works out. I find the color variations and form so lovely.

    I think your little green guys on the poppies and gaillardia are katydid nymphs. I mis-identified one as a cricket nymph in a recent post - going back to fix that right now! Have a lovely May - looking forward to seeing more of your garden and visitors.

    1. This was my first year of poppies and I absolutely love them! I'm hoping they reseed well so I can enjoy them for seasons to come. And thanks for the ID on the little katydid nymph!

  3. You've got the knack for photographing these elusive garden visitors.

    1. Thanks! I can't take all the credit. My husband has had the best luck/skill with snapping the pics of the hummingbirds, so I have him to thank for some of these great shots.

  4. You have wonderful hummingbird pictures...! I can't catch ours so well, and we haven't had as many different types so far - just a pair of Anna's and a Costa hummingbird. I'm trying to make sure I plant for them so maybe the count will go up. I love your poppies, with or without the bees; and the baby mockingbird is delightful :) As I understand, the furry caterpillars are moths while smooth are butterflies - not entirely sure on that and it doesn't narrow the field much, does it ;-)

    1. My garden didn't have any blooms that the hummers liked earlier this spring, so enticing them with the feeder worked well. Now that my lantana is starting to bloom, I see that they like to feast on those and just supplement their diets with the feeder. I had a handful of hummers last year but significantly more this year. I hope that between the feeder and additional hummingbird friendly plants I continue to add to the garden will keep them coming back and growing their numbers.

  5. Dear Rebecca, I really enjoyed seeing what wildlife is visiting your garden! It looks like you have provided a Bed & Breakfast for them ;-)! Your photos of the hummingbirds are simply stunning. I have never seen bees feasting at the hummingbird feeders here though, but it makes sense that they do. Who wouldn't go for an easy meal, right? I have found two similar looking hairy caterpillars, although their colors were different, in my garden recently as well, but I didn't have time to trying to identify them, yet. Your post reminded me to do some research about them...
    Wishing you a lovely rest of the weekend!

    1. Thanks, Christina! It is a lot of fun to see all the different wildlife that makes its way to my garden every day, and to look back and see how the wildlife changes with the seasons with the momentary visitors that stop by during migration, as well as the everyday residents. Good luck identifying your caterpillars!

  6. Seeing wildlife from other climates is always a treat. I had no idea you had red admirals over there Rebecca. They are common here too. Of course, the star of the show just has to be the hummingbirds - amazing little creatures that they are.
    I can't help you with the id of the hairy caterpillar - the ones we have here are very similar looking and I can contest to the fact that their hairs are quite an irritant - my nephew once stood on one with bare feet and his foot was itchy and sore for hours afterwards.