Wildlife Wednesday: August 2015

Wildlife Wednesday, hosted by Tina and her blog My Gardener Says on the first Wednesday of each month, really sneaked up on me this time around! The day was half over before I finally remembered what it was that I’d been trying to remember all morning to remember to do… Wildlife Wednesday offers us gardeners — and everyone else, too — a chance to celebrate the wildlife in our gardens through pictures and prose. A multitude of thanks goes out to Tina for hosting this wonderful meme each month!

Summer has finally arrived in North Texas. Prior to today we had hit 100°F only three times this year — a mark that is way, way, way below average. This week, unfortunately, things will be back to “normal”, with the forecast for the next seven days calling for high temperatures ranging from 102°F to 106°F (approximately 39°C to 41°C) and heat indexes of 105°F to 112°F (approximately 40°C to 44°C). Blech! Not only will I not be venturing outdoors much over the next week or so, especially in the afternoons, neither will any wildlife that has any sense at all! So I guess it’s a good thing I’ve got a few critters to share this month — before we all start hibernating.

My garden visitors during the past month have been mainly birds and bugs. During the early part of July we were fortunate to receive a few inches of rain. Birds take cover where they can during downpours — these three found a perch atop a downspout coming off the roof.

Birds On Downspout
Birds On Downspout

The bird below appears to be a Juvenile White-Winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica).

Juvenile White-Winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica)
Juvenile White-Winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica)

Here’s another White-Winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica). He looks so pretty against the bright blue background of the sky.

White-Winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica)
White-Winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica)

Just like the white winged dove
Sings a song, sounds like she’s singing
Ooh, ooh, ooh
Just like the white winged dove
Sings a song, sounds like she’s singing
Ooh baby, ooh said, ooh

“Edge of Seventeen” — Stevie Nicks

Bet you didn’t know the White-Winged Dove made it into a Stevie Nicks song! My Hubbie’s a fan. What else can I say? 🙂

Here’s a Mississippi Kite (Ictinia mississippiensis) in our neighbor’s Live Oak Tree (Quercus virginiana). As one of the tallest trees in the neighborhood it affords these Kites a “birds-eye view” of their surroundings.

Mississippi Kite (Ictinia mississippiensi)
Mississippi Kite (Ictinia mississippiensi)

Western Kingbirds (Tyrannus verticalis) are an extremely common sight around my yard — especially since I finally noticed them and found out what they are! Quite a few broods have been hatched and raised in the Shumard Oak (Quercus shumardii) in our front yard. Below is a parent and a juvenile. The belly area of the adult is a deeper yellow than that of the juvenile.

Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis)
Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis)

Western Kingbirds are flycatchers, which makes them insectivores. In the photo below one of the parents (at bottom) is feeding the young ones. You might be able to make out a yellow grasshopper leg hanging from its mouth.

Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis)
Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis)

My favorite birds of the past month were by far the Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris). Even though I have several feeders available for them, I’ve only seen them feeding on flowers.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris)
Ruby-Throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)

This is either a female or an immature bird.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris)
Ruby-Throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)

She — or he — spent the large part of a recent afternoon zipping around a Turk’s Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus).

Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris)
Ruby-Throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)

The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird beats its wings about 53 times per second. No wonder my camera setting couldn’t keep up!

Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris)
Ruby-Throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)

These small birds prefer to feed on red or orange flowers. I guess that’s why they’ve been so fond of the Turk’s Cap and the neighbor’s Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans).

Now for the bugs…

Common Whitetail Skimmers (Plathemis lydia) have been very…well…common this summer! Here we have an adult male, an immature male and a female. The wing pattern of the female dragonfly is just the opposite of that of the male.

This appears to be a female or juvenile male Eastern Pondhawk. The male of this species of dragonfly gradually turns blue.

Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis)
Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis)

I’m not sure what species of Dragonfly this one is…

Dragonfly
Dragonfly

Here are a couple Damselflies. Maybe one day I’ll have the time and make an effort to identify them.

I think this is an Halictid Bee (Augochloropsis metallica). These are also called Sweat Bees.

Halictid Bee) Augochloropsis metallica)
Halictid Bee (Augochloropsis metallica)

How about a Red Footed Cannibalfly (Promachus rufipes)? Ewwwww!

Red Footed Cannibalfly (Promachus rufipes)
Red Footed Cannibalfly (Promachus rufipes)

And last but not least, I have an update on a recent post — Picture Perfect Monday: Nameless Beauty. This pretty little fly now has an identification. Its called a Feather-legged Fly (Trichopoda pennipes). Very apt, I would say!

Feather-legged Fly (Trichopoda pennipes)
Feather-legged Fly (Trichopoda pennipes)

That ends this month’s Wildlife Wednesday. I hope you enjoyed your visit and I’m glad you stopped by! For more wildlife head over to My Gardener Says. Thanks again to Tina for hosting this wonderful meme!

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30 thoughts on “Wildlife Wednesday: August 2015

  1. Up to your usual stellar standards, I see. The photos are magnificent, Ann. I don’t know which I liked more–the Kite, Kingbirds or Hummingbirds. The hummers were beautifully caught; I’m in great admiration, because I find them so hard to photograph. And your bees-wow! I’ve had some sweat bees, but they always seem to move so quickly and they tended to skedaddle as I rushed to get my camera! Loved your flies!! Thanks so much for participating, it’s always a treat.

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  2. I knew and have seen most of the birds you featured today, but I’ve never tried to identify the bugs I see! I am so happy that I now know the names of the two dragonfly species you named. 🙂 Your pictures are beautiful!
    Squid

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  3. Great post as we’ve come to expect! The kites look so fierce…quite the opposite of the delicate hummingbird – you’ve capture the full spectrum of sweet to stern, in terms of feathery friends. I just caught a photo of what might be a pond hawk, now I have a good starting point at least to try and identify it. You are always leading the way and I’m so glad you are participating, morning OR afternoon. Your posts are worth waiting for.

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  4. Wow it has been hot up there! We’ve had it pretty good by comparison with only one triple digit so far.

    The Mississippi Kite is a new one to me and it sure is a handsome bird. I enjoy those skimmers that always look like they’re carrying banners from their wings as they fly. One of the best part of Wildlife Wednesday is learning all the names and identifying features of these flying creatures in the garden.

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    • I agree about learning the names of the bugs, birds and animals. Instead of something being just a frog, its actually some type of frog, etc. Its a real learning experience for me, not only in doing the research for my post, but seeing what others are posting and finding out more about their critters, so when I might happen to see one I can say, hey, look, there’s a …. !

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  5. That’s way too hot for me, as the low 20’sC is as hot as I like it
    Another wonderful selection of wildlife that you’re so lucky to see from your doorstep. Great pictures, especially of the bugs/insects which are such fascinating, and colourful, creatures. xx

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  6. Wow oh wow. What amazing photos! And an amazing collection of critters. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a kite before. Thanks so much for sharing.

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    • Thanks! I really do like the Kites. When they’re hunting they’re normally out for insects, such as cicadas and grasshoppers. They do send the other birds into a tizzy, though! When they’re first spotted floating in the sky there’s a lot of bird-noise. Then its gets very quiet until they circle to another area. They’re beautiful to watch.

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  7. Really amazing pictures!!! And the Shumard Oak is looking wonderful!
    Some have to hibernate in the summer and some in the winter 🙂

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  8. amazing shots! Getting a humming bird, birds in general and all those amazing insects-REALLY NEAT!
    I am always too slow to get the hummer-lol You have a wildlife paradise:-) I am in awe of diversity on your property-WOW!
    I love dragon flies and have been seeing more in my yard, but I want more like what you have for they are beautiful. I love bugs-still a kid at heart. I found some new ones in my yard I have never seen before. As I am building diversity, I am finding more coming:-)
    Love Fleetwood Mac too!
    + the cooooing of those doves while I garden is calming-music to my ears.

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  9. Love your photos – you must be very patient to get all those insects before they fly away. This has been the year for butterflies and bumblebees, as well as many birds, here in our garden. Now that the seeds are ripening, it gets kind of noisy out there!
    I was wondering why I hadn’t seen your posts and I saw that WP had ‘unfollowed’ me. Been having problems with Akismet throwing my comments in spam folders, too. Gremlins!
    Hope you stay cool this week and the plants and animals in your garden survive the heat wave. 🙂

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    • Well, when its hot outside its a lot easier to stand still, it doesn’t bring up a sweat quite so quickly! 🙂 So its more that than patience. Yes, those gremlins really live up to their name sometimes, don’t they? The temperatures aren’t so bad right now, looks like we might be getting a break going into the fall. We actually had a morning low of 56 the other day thanks to a “cold” front. It set a record low for the day. Very odd for August….

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  10. GREAT photos, especially the hummingbirds and the kingbirds. Here we have mourning doves, not white wing doves, so my first association for that bird is in fact the Stevie Nicks song.

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  11. Wow – you really are getting a menagerie of wildlife in the garden, despite the heat! I love the kite and kingbirds! I don’t have any unique birds in my garden at this point. There are still the hummers, and plenty of mockingbirds, with a wren and cardinal spotted from time to time. I’d love a little variety with my feathered friends like you have. And those dragonflies! So many different varieties! And nice job being quick on the draw… they also seem to be so tricky for me to shoot!

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    • There have really been a lot more dragonflies this year, and they don’t seem to be slowing down! I wish we had more mockingbirds, as you seem to. Some years we have so many, but this year there seem to be very few. I miss their beautiful songs!

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  12. you have a lot of wildlife and beautiful photos, your hot sounds too hot but I am so fed up with cool summer I think I would like it now, your photos of the wee creatures are so clear and detailed, keep cool, Frances

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    • Sometimes the hot is too hot for us too! We were lucky to have a front come through earlier this week — we actually had one day that didn’t get out of the 70s and we set a record morning low one day. I think the critters were all confused by it!

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  13. Quite a display of bugs and I also love my hummers…they surprise me when I see them foraging in so many flowers I would never suspect they would like. Your birds are cute hanging under the roof. I did know the song but never saw a white-winged dove….now I have!

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    • The flowers around here have gotten scarce but there are still hummers about. I know quite a few people have feeders out. Since they also eat bugs and sap I’m sure they must do okay during periods when nectar isn’t readily available. As you said, it’s really amazing what types of flowers they’ll visit.

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