June in the Butterfly Garden

My butterfly garden is full of colorful blooms and the butterflies are starting to take notice.

20180620Butterfly-(11)
Butterfly on Mexican Sunflower
20180605Garden-(3)
Monarch on Milkweed
20180607Garden-(2)
Zinnias
20180620Butterfly-(16)
Mexican Sunflower
20180619Creek-(2)
Purple Coneflower
20180619Creek-(1)
Black Eyed Susan

The birds continue to come by daily.

20180604Bunting-in-rocks-(9)
Male Painted Bunting
20180603Garden-(17)-Tufted-Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse
20180613Garden-(3)
Ruby Throated Hummingbird
20180612Cardinal-(7)
The cardinals search for dropped seeds on the ground beneath the bird feeder

Happy Summer!

Linked to Ingrid’s Wandering Wednesday – Flowers

Back Yard Painted Buntings

We’ve been watching painted buntings come to our feeder  in the back yard for the last couple of weeks. For several days every time I set up my camera to capture these beautiful birds I scared them away. They are very skittish and fly off when they sense the slightest movement. 

I never gave up trying and my patience finally paid off when I was able to get a few shots of a pair at the feeder.

Pair of Painted Buntings
Pair of Painted Buntings
The male kept on eating after the female flew off.

Male Painted Bunting
Male Painted Bunting
After she left he came around to my side of the feeder so I could get a good look at him. The food must be better on this side!

Male Painted Bunting
Male Painted Bunting

Nesting Birds at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge

Wood storks, egrets, and herons build their nests every spring in the trees of Woody Pond at the Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge. Located in Georgia just a few miles from I 95 in between Savannah and Brunswick, it is a great day trip from our home.

Woody Pond at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge
Woody Pond at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge

Wood storks were placed on the Endangered Species list in 1984. After almost 30 years of conservation efforts to increase the wood stork population, their status was upgraded to Threatened in June, 2014.

A path along the dike beside Woody Pond provides a great place to view the birds. The wood storks and egrets shared the trees.

Wood Storks and Great Egrets
Wood Storks and Great Egrets
Nesting Wood Storks and Great Egrets at Woody Pond
Nesting Wood Storks and Great Egrets at Woody Pond

Many of the wood storks were working on their nests. None of their eggs had hatched yet.

Wood Storks building a nest
Wood Storks building a nest
Wood Stork on nest
Wood Stork on nest

As I took photos, Henry used the spotting scope and pointed out a mother egret with chicks that I would have never seen. The nests were a long way from where we were so the picture isn’t the best but it gives you an idea of the size of the baby egret.

Great Egret with chicks
Great Egret with chicks

In the shallow water at the edge of the pond a tri-colored heron entertained us as he searched for food.

After leaving the refuge we stopped at the Smallest Church in America to take a look and do a little geocaching.

Smallest Church in America
Smallest Church in America

An arsonist burned this church in November, 2015. The church is being rebuilt through the efforts of volunteers and the work is almost complete.

After finding the geocache hidden near the church we headed for home.

An Unexpected Visitor in the Neighborhood

Coastal Georgia is home to many wetlands birds. Herons, Egrets, Wood Storks and Ibis are regularly seen in and around the salt marsh, creeks and rivers here.

One July afternoon this summer I was surprised to see a large pink bird flying over the marsh. It was too far away and flew by too fast for me to to tell for sure but I thought it must be a Roseate Spoonbill. Spoonbills nest along the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana and in south Florida but they are considered uncommon this far north.

A neighbor confirmed that yes, I did see a Spoonbill. In fact, she saw a pair feeding in the creek at low tide. I continued to see the brilliant pink of the pair as they flew by our house almost every afternoon for about 3 weeks. One day I finally saw where one landed so I grabbed my camera and ran out to capture a few pictures.

Other Roseate Spoonbills have been spotted in other coastal Georgia locations in recent years. I know from now on I will always be on the lookout for pink birds among the flocks of Herons and Egrets I see in the salt marsh.