Wildlife Wednesday: June 2015

Today is the first Wednesday in June. JUNE. Can you believe that? I can’t. This year is going by so fast it’s almost scary. Memorial Day is already a memory and Independence Day is fast approaching. That means the meat — and heat — of summer is closing in. It also means that today is Wildlife Wednesday, a monthly meme hosted by Tina and her blog My Gardener Says… as a way to celebrate the wildlife in our gardens.

We’ve been really lucky here in North Texas so far this year when it comes to the heat part of the equation. Normally by this time we’ve broken the 100°F (approximately 38°C) mark at least once. As it is, we’ve cracked 90°F only a couple times to this point. Much of that has to do with the rainy month of May.

The little American Robin (Turdus migratorius) below spent most of a very rainy day in a Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia) outside our back window. He continually looked for Mama, who was toiling away trying to keep the little guy fed.

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

She returned on a regular basis to check on her offspring. Both of them looked pretty pitiful due to their exposure to the constant rainfall.

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

More often than not Baby Bird was rewarded with a morsel of food. He had quite a time trying to get this earthworm down!

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

Then Mama Bird would be off again in her eternal search for food. Baby Bird just continued to sit, waiting and sulking and probably wishing he’d found a dryer place to roost!

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

We ended the month of May with exactly 17 inches of rain, the most rainfall we’ve recorded for any month. Ever. That was the official total. Unofficial reports had some areas in the region receiving upwards of 20 inches for the month. Our monthly average for May is 3.79 inches. To put it in perspective, already this year we’ve had 25.11 inches of rain, just 3.81 inches below our average annual total! Our May rainfall alone eclipsed the 12.97 inches we received in all of 2011, the official first year of our drought. We’ve already received more rain this year than in any of the previous four years. And June is historically our wettest month…

Here’s another Robin with one of her offspring. She had two almost fully grown youngsters following her around. No wonder she looks frazzled!

American Robin  (Turdus migratorius)
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

I’m pretty sure the bird in this photo is a Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens). When I saw him I had to run into the house to grab my camera. I just knew he’d be gone when I got back outside, but thankfully he stuck around.

Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)

He spent a short while crawling around the trunk of a small tree looking for insects.

Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)

Isn’t this Eastern Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger) cute? He’s sitting in a 6 inch flower pot, so that should tell you how small he is.

Eastern Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger)
Eastern Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger)

I managed to snap quite a few pictures of insects before the rains started falling and in the few nice sunny days since they stopped. Here’s a Hoverfly (Syrphidae).

Hoverfly (Syrphidae)
Hoverfly (Syrphidae)

Another Hoverfly (Syrphidae).

Hoverfly (Syrphidae)
Hoverfly (Syrphidae)

And a Bee. Don’t ask me what species!

Bee On Flower
Bee On Flower

Dragonflies have been abundant due to the wet weather. Did you know that the Dragonfly symbolizes change, transformation and adaptability? The life history of these creatures is astonishing. If you’re interested in reading about Dragonflies visit this page at Wikipedia. You’ll learn more than you ever thought possible!

Dragonfly (Anisoptera)
Dragonfly (Anisoptera)

Here’s a Mosquito (Culicidae) on the bloom of a Plains Coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria). Mosquitoes actually pollinate flowers! They pollinate goldenrod, orchids and various types of grasses. Nectar is actually the natural food of adult mosquitoes. And I was convinced they were only after my blood!

Mosquito (Culicidae)
Mosquito (Culicidae)

Here’s a Red Admiral Butterfly (Vanessa atalanta) perching on a Hummingbird feeder.

Red Admiral Butterfly (Vanessa atalanta)
Red Admiral Butterfly (Vanessa atalanta)

And speaking of Hummingbirds, here is my last photo for this month’s Wildlife Wednesday — a Hummingbird! The bird was flitting about so the picture isn’t the greatest. I would hazard a guess that it’s a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris), but I can’t be sure.

Hummingbird
Hummingbird

That’s it for this month’s Wildlife Wednesday post. I’m already searching out critters for next month! If you want to join in by posting a link to your garden wildlife on Tina’s meme, or just stop by to check out what others are posting, visit My Gardener Says… and be amazed! Many thanks to Tina for hosting this meme!

 

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20 thoughts on “Wildlife Wednesday: June 2015

  1. You say at the end, “that’s it” –but it’s quite a lot!! Where to begin? Your rain stats are something. Austin had the wettest May ever, but not the EVER, ever. So, you beat us. 🙂

    Loved the robin picks–they both look pretty miserable, but the little guy, is just pathetic looking. I’m sure all those worms that Mama fed to him made him strong and handsome. And, he’s dry now, so that’s a plus.

    Love all of your insect shots–and the Downy Woodpecker!! I’ve seen a couple in my neighborhood and I do’t recall ever seeing them here before. Great shots of those–they’re quick ones!

    Thanks for joining in with WW–it’s always a treat to read you and see your photos.

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    • I hear Woodpeckers on occasion, and see one rarely. This one just happened to be there and I was able to get a few pictures. According to the Cornell site they’re here year-round so he probably has a nest close by. There’s an old tree surrounded by weedy stuff behind our property — perhaps he lives there. I think I may make up a new batch of suet to see if it attracts him!

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  2. Unbelievable amount of rain you got this past month. In the news every day, thought of you all down there often. Those poor bedraggled robins!
    I didn’t know that mosquitoes were pollinators – so interesting!

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  3. Those woodpecker shots are amazing. I’ve tried for several years to get a good clear shot of one and never manage. They are so shy and fast – always on the move.

    That is fascinating about the mosquitoes pollinating flowers – I had no idea. I suppose I should have been wondering what the males eat since it is the females that bite humans…SOMEbody’s gotta be supplying the guys with dinner. Great WW post – looking forward to more!

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    • Yes, he was crawling around the tree pretty quickly. I had to change the setting on my camera to get the photos. I didn’t realize mosquitoes pollinated, either. I think I’d rather have the bees doing the pollinating, though….

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  4. A most enjoyable post and wonderful pictures. I especially like the dragonfly.
    As you probably know your robin is very different to the one here.
    I hope that the coming summer sees more settled weather there. xx

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    • Yes, I’ve seen pictures of your robins and they are quite different. I wonder how they got the same name? The weather has settled a bit. The weatherman has been rambling on about high pressure systems, etc. The rain is gone, but the humidity is sticking around!

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  5. You captured some great photos and I admire your photos of the insects…the mosquitoes here are blood thirsty….your temps are like ours actually, but not the rainfall…Mazy was dry and June started with 5 inches of needed rain….that is a downy woodpecker…they are so cute and a female ruby throated hummer….your critters look so happy. I also spotted some recently fledged robins in the garden….so cute. Happy June!

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  6. Quite an abundance of wildlife! My favorite is your dragonfly – I love the alternating patters of clear and opaque wings. And the baby wildlife in your garden – so cute (well, at least the squirrel. It look like the robin in growing through his more awkward stages at this point). Thanks for sharing!

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