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

Lens- Artists Challenge #130: It’s a Small World

This week’s guest host Ann Gee has challenged us to walk around our yard or home and take close-up or macro shots or choose close-up shots from our archives.

Ann explained the difference between a macro and close-up. A macro is taken with a dedicated macro lens. A close-up is zooming in on a subject. All of my photos are close-ups since I don’t have a dedicated macro lens.

I often take close-ups in my garden. The image at the top of the page and the next two are interesting critters from last year’s garden.

Grasshopper on Zinnia
Green Lynx Spider

I experimented with some new subjects as I walked around my yard this week.

Palm Frond
Holly Berries

Many thanks to guest host Ann Gee at Slow Shutter Speed for this weeks Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 130: It’s a Small World

Lens- Artists Challenge #129: Favorite Images of 2020

Here’s a look back at 2020 with a few of my favorite photos from the year.

Before Covid-19 shut down world, the first two and a half months of 2020 were pretty normal for me. Henry and I explored the beach close to home, enjoyed a fun getaway to nearby Savannah to attend a Willie Nelson concert and be tourists for two days, I puttered in the garden and planted Camellias, and I had fun going on outings with friends.

After the shutdown began in mid March my photography options were limited to things and places close to home. The weather was perfect for working in the garden, watching the birds and butterflies, and walking in the neighborhood or at the beach.

In July we ventured away from home to celebrate our 50th anniversary. Our original plan was to go on our first ever cruise. When all the cruises were cancelled, our plan B was to spend a few nights at the Jekyll Island Club. It turned out to be a perfect place for us to celebrate.

Birds and butterflies continued to keep me entertained during the hot, dry August. We were safe as tropical storm Isaias passed us by.

Fall arrived with cooler weather, clear blue skies, a walk in the park and more birds.

Our holidays were quiet with no family visiting from out of town and no neighborhood parties. Phone calls and Facetime kept us in touch with all of our loved ones. The Christmas lights in our neighborhood made me smile and there were some beautiful days for being outside.

Many thanks to Tina, Patti, Amy, Ann-Christine and the guest hosts for these wonderful Lens-Artists challenges. Thank you for giving me an incentive to keep taking photos and keep this blog going.

Wishing everyone a Happy and Safe 2021!

Many thanks to Tina for this weeks Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 129 – Favorite Images of 2020

Lens-Artists #116: Symmetry

For this photo challenge Patti has asked us to explore symmetry in our images.

The image above is an example of vertical symmetry. The road divides the image vertically so the branches appear to meet above the middle of the road and the trees appear to be exactly the same on both sides.

These images show how vertical symmetry can be used in architecture. The designers of St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland used symmetry both inside (left photo) and outside (right photo.

Black Swallowtail Butterfly

The butterfly is an example of vertical symmetry found in nature. The left and right wings seem to be mirror images of each other.

Horizontal symmetry is illustrated in this image of a tree and it’s reflection in a foggy lake.

Cabbage Palm
Seashell symmetry

I often see radial symmetry in nature. Palm fronds on a palm tree and seashells are both good examples

Thanks to Patti for this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #116: Symmetry.