Today is the first Wednesday of the month — time for Wildlife Wednesday, a meme hosted by Tina and her blog My Gardener Says… as a way to celebrate the wildlife in our gardens. Following the wonderful yet prolonged rains of the previous month, June popped with every kind of wildlife imaginable! Here’s what was happening in my garden.
Western Kingbirds (Tyrannus verticalis) were quite abundant this June. To be quite honest, I’d never heard of this bird prior to taking a couple photos of it and researching it at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology site.
The Western Kingbird is in the Tyrant Flycatcher (Tyrannidae) family. They prey on insects. The one below swooped down and caught what looks to be a grasshopper in mid-air.
Western Kingbirds can be found throughout the western United States during the summer. Their winter migration takes them to Central America. In size they’re a bit smaller than an American Robin (Turdus migratorius).
It appears this Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) might still be a juvenile. His plumage doesn’t seem to have completely filled in and his crest certainly seems more black than blue!
Below is a Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus). His warm chestnut color isn’t obvious due to the cover of deep shade.
Here’s a White-Winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica) on her nest…
…and a nest full of American Robin (Turdus migratorius) youngsters!
From birds we’ll jump to bugs! Damselflies have been prolific this spring and early summer, more so than usual, due mostly to the damp and unseasonably cool weather. Below is a slideshow of the ones I was able to get photos of. I didn’t even attempt to identify any of them! If there’s a Damselfly expert out there — go for it!
June 15-21 was National Pollinator Week. Though I’ve been unable to identify most of them, there’ve been lots of pollinators in my garden! I believe the one pictured below is a Leaf Cutting Bee (Megachilidae).
As for the rest of them, your guess is as good as mine. Here’s one on a Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia)…
…on a Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)…
…on a Plains Coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria)…
…and on a weedy wildflower.
I noticed the other day that we have toads in the garden. Toads are amphibians and are members of the Bufonidae family. As I was doing some weeding I kept hearing a shuffling underneath some flowers. Taking my life into my own hands…I stuck my hand through the foliage and pushed it aside. Actually, I figured it might be a baby bird. But it was a toad! He waddled off and hunkered down in a hollow in the cement frame beneath the fence. I continued weeding and he eventually reappeared, not looking quite as anxious. Perhaps he was gobbling up all those mosquitoes that were trying to gobble me up. I hope so!
Another visitor has been this gecko.
He’s most probably a Mediterranean House Gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus).
And lastly…we have a turtle. This tough guy looks likes he’s been through a ringer!
We had a turtle in our back yard on-and-off for about 6 years, until just before the beginning of the drought five years ago. Could this be the same turtle? The fact that he wasn’t seen for a number of years doesn’t mean he wasn’t actually around. This one has been hiding in the leaves and mulch beneath the shrubs along our back fence — a nice, comparatively cool place. So, who knows? I wish turtles could talk.
Thanks for stopping by to take a peek at my Wildlife Wednesday post for this month. Be sure to stop by Tina’s blog at My Gardener Says… to check out the wildlife that other folks have hosted in their gardens during June.