Wildlife Wednesday: May 2015

The last thirty days took us from bare twigs to full green canopy. That spring growth can transform everything so quickly just never gets old for me.

April is abundance. We’ve had rain and the trees and berries are water heavy. Birds linger under the mulberry eating their fill of berries and I suppose some insects for dessert.

Birds

When my dad was visiting he said he kept seeing a blue jay outside his hotel window. It is probably the same jay that has taunted me all month. Everywhere I go I see him posing just so on a branch. Waiting … waiting … until I -almost- have the shot. At the precise moment my finger touches the button … he jumps into the air laughing his ass off while I curse at yet another missed photo. Blue jays. Bah.

The red-winged blackbirds are more cooperative:

red-winged blackbird april 2015 2
Red-winged blackbird

I love these birds so much. I remember them from fishing trips when I was growing up on the other side of the continent so seeing them here is like running into an old nearly forgotten friend. They live in large colonies around pond edges. I think their calls are beautiful — if music was a liquid it might sound like the red-winged blackbird.

Actually, they make a variety of sounds for a variety of purposes. The ones at the pond near my house make a certain call in spring that I have never heard before and isn’t listed on the Cornell All About Birds site. It sounds to me like a clear whistling bee-yip. The colony seems to use it to triangulate possible intruders and/or nosy people wandering through their nesting area.

A lovely grackle trying to take a bath in peace ….

Grackle
Grackle

And look! A pied-billed grebe! So cute. So little.

Pied-billed grebe
Pied-billed grebe

On one of the information signs at the Mueller demonstration garden is the line: where there is water there is life.

Life and turtles …

Someone on a forum told me this is probably an ancient red-eared slider. As they age the red marking fades.

res-eared slider
red-eared slider

Birds, Bees and the Beetle that Laid the Golden Eggs

Whether you think they are welcome or not, insects can be colourful.

Trirhabda bacharidis
Trirhabda bacharidis larva
small blue beetle
small blue beetle

And have knack for finding colourful places …

Imagine a world where flowers were the size the size of a small room. Here’s a skipper in paradise an evening primrose.

skipper in primrose
skipper
prickly pear and friends
prickly pear flower and friends

At the very beginning of this month I found these eggs on my indigofera. Normally I don’t care if ‘pests’ eat plants (unless they are bugs of mass destruction) but this is a small plant just starting to get established. I raced inside to find out which bug lays golden eggs.

ladybug eggs

No cause for alarm. A few days later …

a group of ladybug larvae emerged. I separated them so they wouldn’t eat each other. I don’t KNOW if they do that but I have heard rumours.

ladybug hatclings 2

And while I know the world really doesn’t need more bee photos I don’t really care. haha

Bee with thunder thighs … mmmm magnolia ….

bee in magnolia april 2025

Bee with handsome sunglasses …

bee2 may 2015

And one more just cuz …

bee may 2015

I am so thankful that Tina from My Gardener Says hosts Wildlife Wednesday. The recurring deadline helps keep me mindful of the world around me. Do check out her blog and the comments section where you can see the more exotic wildlife other people from around the world find in their backyards and beyond.

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37 thoughts on “Wildlife Wednesday: May 2015

  1. I did enjoy this post Debra. As usual amazing photos. You really have an eye for detail and notice the tiniest creatures. I had no idea that ladybirds laid golden eggs.

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  2. Bluejays definitely have a tendency to tease. As for redwing blackbirds, I also enjoy their distinctive calls. I enjoy it less when they divebomb my head for getting too close to their nests.

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    1. I do feel like a beginner when it comes to taking photos so thanks for the encouragement. I wonder if it hurts to pack in so much pollen!

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    1. Thanks for saying so. Insects are truly amazing creatures. I kind of wish I had read more about them than I did about fairies as I grew up. heh

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  3. I couldn’t agree more Debra….Tina’s meme keeps me observing so carefully. Love hearing about your red-wings. Ours are now separated and have staked out territory for nesting. I loved seeing the ladybug larvae…I’ll keep a look-out for it.

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    1. Yes. Tina has done a great thing here and I appreciate how she keeps it going. The ladybug eggs were a surprise. The plant had curled up its leaves in response to being too hot (maybe?) and so I just happened to see the eggs underneath. Its nice to know what to look for in the future.

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    1. Thanks for saying so because I think I am like the worst bird photographer ever. hahahaha. My list of missed shots is huge. I love how accessible the red-winged blackbird is.

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  4. Awesome photos, Debra! The one of the bee & magnolia is my favorite. I love your curiosity and respect for nature. Nice to know I’ve got kin out there! ;-)

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    1. Likewise! I love your blog. Getting a bee in the magnolia shot is almost a cheat. I can see one in nearly every flower and the scent is nearly intoxicating.

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  5. Pretty sure I’ve heard your red-winged blackbird call when walking the wetlands boardwalk at the Heard Sanctuary in McKinney. A big flock was nearly hidden in a leafy thicket, but the birds flying in and out made an odd sound. I always expect them to sing, “Okalee can’t catch me!”

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    1. So I am not imagining it. haha I was starting to doubt myself. I love that phrase! “Okalee can’t catch me!” That’s one to remember. Cute.

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  6. My blue jay/red-winged blackbird problem seems just the opposite of yours! The jays are really good at settling somewhere so I can get a few good shots. The red-winged blackbirds, though, are another story. I can take, take, take pictures and 99% of the time all I have is a black bird, no wing color. It’s there when I press the button but not when I look at the pictures! And they — the rwbb’s — also make a noise unlike what I’ve heard online. It’s sort of metallic sounding, almost like a drill piercing metal. That’s the only way I can describe it. Love your bee pictures and thanks for the info on the ladybug eggs. Nice to know! Great post.

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    1. Thanks for all the encouragement! When it comes to photographing birds I am so accustomed to the missed shot that I don’t even get frustrated any more. It would be nice to document all the good stuff but it is just as great to simply be outside to see things. All my keepers are lucky accidents. Sorry about your blackbird photos. After reading Julie’s comment I was inspired to learn more. The males actually do decide how much colour to display and they may very well have been messing with you.

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  7. Such a lovely post. And I love a bug/egg story with a happy ending. So OK – maybe the world doesn’t need more blurry bee photos – yours are fantastic. Not sharing them would just be selfish!

    I grew up here and don’t recall seeing red-winged blackbirds, though I’ve been told they were always around. But then there was a time when nobody paid attention to golden cheeked warblers, either. Every bird has their day. Speaking of which…

    Don’t you just love bird names? “Pied-billed grebe” could be used as such an insult with the right intonation, or perhaps a threat? “Release… the pied-billed greeeeeeebes……!”.

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    1. Thanks, Deb. Grebe! It really does sound like an insult. I definitely can see hairdressers catching on to its use. The ‘hair’ on the eared grebe and horned grebe both look like jobs for professionals to manage.

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  8. Really beautiful photographs Debra, your Red Winged Blackbirds are startling, I wonder why Mother nature designed the wing colouring as it is. I really love to see Bee photographs, the tricky bit is identifying them. Great shot of the Ladybird larvae, I have just looked that larvae eating each other up and seems they do if hungry enough. We do not have enough water for wildlife in my garden, something I am going to address this year.

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        1. So often we see birds from the side. Not sure why that is so but one time I was looking at a blackbird head on when he displayed his shoulders. The red pops out like giant red eyes. It was a little startling even for me at a distance.

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  9. Oh, just gorgeous photos. I think I’ve asked you this before, but do you have a macro lens, or just a REALLY good macro …button on your camera? All of your insect shots are just fabulous.
    I think I need to take a class….

    I agree with you about the song of the Red-winged Blackbird–I can recognize it anywhere and love hearing them and knowing they’re around. I had a rather shy male this year, only one, I think. No one (at least in the Austin bird world) seems to enjoy bathing as much as Grackles, especially the males. Thanks so much for participating!

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    1. Thanks, Tina. I just press the button. But it does have a little framing bracket that lets me know if it is focused on what I want. And you see my keepers. The pile of throw aways is like a skyscraper.

      And thanks for keeping Wildlife Wednesday going. I really do appreciate it.

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