Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #169 – The Ordinary

Our challenge from guest host I.J. Khanewala of Don’t Hold your Breath is to show ordinary objects. I chose a few images from my back yard that show ordinary sights around my October garden.

In the image above, the pink plumes of the Muhly Grass is an ordinary sign of fall where I live.

Every October, when most of the flowers in my butterfly garden are gone, the bright orange Mexican Sunflowers are still attracting butterflies. Gulf Fritillaries, Skippers, and Monarch butterflies are ordinary visitors feasting on the last of the nectar.

Gulf Fritillary on Mexican Sunflower
Monarch on Mexican Sunflower
Skipper on Mexican Sunflower

Many thanks to our guest host I.J. Khanewala for challenging us with Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #169: The Ordinary

Thanks also to Terri’s Sunday Stills Challenge: Burnt or Blood Orange

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #160 – Your Inspiration

Our host Patti has challenged us to show what our inspiration looks like. I find my inspiration in the natural world.

In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.

John Muir

Starting the day by watching the sun rise adds inspiration to any day.

The richness I achieve comes from Nature, the source of my inspiration.

Claude Monet
Black Eyed Susans
Sunflower on a sunny July Day
Gulf Fritillary on Mexican Sunflower

The natural beauty found in America’s National Parks never ceases to inspire me.

Grand Canyon North Rim Roosevelt Point
Giant Redwood in Redwoods National Park
Hot Spring, Yellowstone National Park
Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, California

If you truly love nature you will find beauty everywhere.

Vincent Van Gogh
Spoonbill and Snowy Egret
White tail deer
Great Egret

The weekly challenges from the gifted lens-artists hosts Tina, Ann-Christine, Patti and Amy always inspire me to be a better photographer. I’m also inspired by all of the talented WordPress bloggers who respond to the challenge with their wonderful photographs.

Many thanks to Patti for this challenge. Be sure to visit her original post at Lens-Artists challenge #160: Your Inspiration.

Backyard Bees, Butterflies and Birds

We’ve had lots of activity in our backyard these first two weeks of July. Bees and Butterflies are frequent visitors to the butterfly garden.

Ruby Throated Hummingbirds and Northern Cardinals are two of the birds we see every summer around our back yard. Snow Egrets are frequent summer visitors to the salt water creek. Roseate Spoonbills first started coming to our area a few years ago. I’ve seen them two years in a row now so hopefully they will keep returning each summer.

Shared with Lisa’s Bird Weekly Challenge: Birds Common in your area this time of year

Hungry Monarch Caterpillars

Our Lens-Artists challenge from guest host Priscilla at Scillagrace is to “present a “Getting To Know You” post showing your relationship with a subject you’ve photographed. The subject could be a Person, a Place, a Culture, an Object…anything that has captured your attention, won your affection and taught you a thing or two.”

I’ve always enjoyed watching butterflies as they fly from one flower to another so I planted a butterfly garden several years ago. The more I watched them the more I wanted to learn about them. Monarchs frequently fly through the area to feed and lay their eggs on milkweed plants.

Monarch butterflies will feed on many different nectar plants. I have found Mexican Sunflowers to be a favorite for them and many other varieties of butterflies. By summer the garden will be covered with zinnias, Mexican Sunflowers, coneflowers, and other nectar plants.

Right now my garden is in it’s early stages with very few blooms. I’m afraid the few Monarch butterflies that have come by my garden have been disappointed in the slim pickings. The only nectar plant blooming right now is a single Mexican sunflower with multiple blooms. I’ve been watching the butterflies drink their fill.

Monarch butterfly on Mexican Sunflower

Every year I enjoy getting to know the caterpillars before they move on to become butterflies. I’ve learned their job is to eat so they have the strength to transform into a chrysalis.

The only plant that Monarch caterpillars feed on is milkweed (Asclepias). This year the female Monarchs laid their eggs on just about every available milkweed leaf they could find. The eggs hatched into tiny caterpillars and for the second year in a row they have devoured every leaf on every milkweed plant.

I observed the first group of caterpillars for several days and observed how quickly they grew before crawling off to make their chrysalis.

The caterpillars like to spin their chrysalis in a safe place and I very rarely can find them. Hopefully all the these caterpillars will emerge as beautiful Monarchs.

Many thanks to Priscilla at Scillagrace.com for this Photo Challenge. Please be sure to visit her original post at Lens-Artists Challenge #145: Getting to Know You