backyard visitors, bees, birds, bugs, flowers, fun, in the neighborhood, nature, perseverance, photography, technology

Bee crazy…

I hope you like bees, because evidently I can go out in the backyard and take pictures of them any time I want to. They love this white flower that smells so good. We bought seven flowering plants the other day, but so far the butterflies are sticking with the bougainvillea, and the bees are sticking with this plant. Wish I could remember what it is. But I’m so happy to see the bees, they have been scarce for a while now…

Upside-down bees…
Right side up bees…
I love when this bird gets on the cup feeder like this.
We bought a whole new big woodpecker feed cylinder and put it on the other holder, and moved the remnants of the first one to this one. I guess she likes to finish what she stared.

Sometimes it looks like a feeding frenzy out there. One bird will come to the feeders and all of a sudden there are lots of them out there. And then you go out and sit with you camera and they get shy…

attention to detail, attitude adjustments, backyard visitors, birds, bugs, connections, coping, dragonflies, finding my way, friends, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography, technology

And another thing…

Something has been bothering me for over a year now. May 29th is the anniversary of me starting this blog, which WordPress reminds me of every year. Last year it was 5 years, and I thought that I should write something profound to mark the occasion. I thought I should admit that my snowbird status is a bit dubious these days, and I’m not actually spending my days on the ‘nature coast’ as much, plus I’m not doing things totally on my own anymore. Hooray for me! But I didn’t write anything then, and now my 6th blog-iversary has come and gone, and not only that, but WordPress recently informed me that I had written 1500 blog posts! And still I didn’t mark the occasion. Let me remind you that starting the blog was as big a surprise to me as it might have been to anyone who read it back then. I was off that day, and I wanted to go to the class where I had met some very nice gals who are still my good friends, and I hardly paid attention to what the day’s subject would be. At the end of that class we all had the framework of a blog in our computers, all we had to do was write. I told myself not to do it. I was sure that I’d run out of things to say in a week or two and want to quit, and it would be an embarrassment. But I did start, and I quit at one point for a couple of months and missed writing it, so I picked it up again. And here we are. I’m still running off at the mouth. I guess I’m not done yet.

We had just said that we hadn’t seen a hawk out back in a while when he showed up on the fence. I went in and got my camera but took a couple of shots through the sliding glass door plus the screening on the lanai. Good thing I did because just then he dove into the yard behind us, after some unsuspecting creature I’m sure.
I bought some cord to make a chain to hang the feeder from since I couldn’t reach to hang it on the hook. Mrs. Downey evidently thinks it will do nicely.
Whenever I’m at the rookery I’ll attempt a shot of a bird in flight, but they are hard to get. This shot was pathetic until I clicked on the new ‘denoise’ button in Lightroom and it cleaned it up.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, or so they say.
I’m sorry to say that the dragonfly that was on the feeders in the backyard the other day hasn’t been back since then. Darn it.
Waiting for the dragonflies at the pond leaves you time to look around for something else to shoot. This little guy was in the grass. I think it looks like he’s fought a battle or two.
This is a butterfly shot from the botanical garden. Cute little guy.
Here I am, always looking for birds or bugs, when life is all around us if you look around.

I still think that writing this blog has been therapy for me, so thanks for reading, I really appreciate all of you.

backyard visitors, bugs, butterflies, dragonflies, flowers, friends, fun, gardens, nature, perseverance, photography

Jean’s Magic Garden…

Not only do I chase my photographer friends around after their pictures have introduced me to yet another great place to go for photos, but now I take all my gardening advice from them too. Thanks to Larry for this nugget of information. A nursery in Homosassa that grows all their own plants, all their native plants that will do well in our area, and takes time to help a couple of novice gardeners decide what to buy. You won’t drive by this place and find it by accident. Nope. Even the GPS will lie to you, so that once you take that last turn it will be a dead end to private property, but with a sign to help you find the garden. But you will be glad you did.

Here’s our haul, for this visit at least. I eventually placed them around the yard to see what we wanted to put where. What we need now is someone to do the dirty work for a couple of senior citizens.

We have enjoyed sitting outside and watching the birds at the feeders since we put them in. We also would see butterflies flit through, but they would hardly ever stop, even with the giant bougainvillea loaded with its flowers. So I said we need to draw in the pollinators, give them a reason to stop, hence the trip to the nursery. And of course I can take their pictures when they do stop by.

The flowers had been placed around the yard, and then I noticed this in the corner of the Bird Buddy. A butterfly? I snuck up on it, camera in hand, but it didn’t move. I told it to scoot, mostly because I’m too short to see down into the feeder and I was afraid it was dead. It ignored me and I feared the worst.
We decided that the little white flowers on this plant would be lost against the white fence, plus Jean had told us to plant it near the lanai so you could smell the lovely scent as you sat there. As soon as we placed it next to the lanai we could smell the flowers, and then I saw a bee flitting around.
The flowers were moving in the breeze, surely that’s why so many of my shots were out of focus.
I came back in, but almost right away I noticed a dragonfly up on the post for the bird feeders. It stayed put so I went back out with the camera and it stayed like this long enough that I got so many pictures that I just went back to the lanai and left him there.
I guess the butterfly wasn’t dead because now he was on the ‘nuts and bugs’ cake that was on another feeder. Why it was there is a mystery, and again it stayed put for me to take lots of pictures.
This time I didn’t get back to the lanai to sit down before I noticed this dragonfly on the perch, daring me to take it’s picture.

I have no idea what was going on out there yesterday. Are the new flowers responsible for the invasion of the dragonflies and butterflies? And bees too? Can’t wait to see what happens today, but this time I’ll try not to clunk my head into the hummingbird feeder thereby dousing my hair with sugar water. But first we need to buy another woodpecker seed cylinder since the birds have almost destroyed the first one. And a trellis for one of the plants we bought, and I’m sure I’ll think of a few more things also…

attitude adjustments, backyard visitors, birds, Florida wildlife, in the neighborhood, life goes on, live and learn, nature, perseverance, photography


I never would have imagined that I’d be disappointed to see cardinals in my yard, but that is what has happened since we put up the Bird Buddy. I am disappointed when I get a ‘postcard’ from Bird Buddy with images of birds who have stopped long enough to get their picture taken, but the pictures always turn out to be cardinals. I know from sitting outside, or even just looking out the sliding glass door, that lots more varieties of birds are out there all day long. But nobody comes as often as the cardinals, and nobody places themselves directly in front of the camera long enough to get their picture taken. And when I sit at the doorway of the lanai, looking out into the yard with my camera at the ready, it’s usually the cardinals who will sit still long enough for me to take my own pictures. Such are the difficulties of life for me lately, so I have a nerve even bringing the subject up, don’t I?

The camera has fancy functions that I play with from time to time, but never study up quite enough to nail the picture I’m trying to get.
Not quite what I had in mind.
Here we have a regular visitor but not to the Bird Buddy. A female red-bellied woodpecker. I believe I spotted her mister also, but failed to get his picture.
After the original holder for the big woodpecker feed cylinder fell to the ground, which we noticed in time to rescue it, we got a new, simpler, holder for it. Now the woodpeckers, and anyone else who cares to, can perch on it and eat from the top down.
Practice supposedly makes perfect, but when it comes to nailing
a shot of these birds as they take off, well, lets say I’m still practicing.
This is a Mrs. Downey Woodpecker. There is no little red patch on the back of her head, as is sported by Mr. Downey Woodpecker. They both were out on the feeder the other day, but I missed the photo.
attention to detail, backyard visitors, birds, butterflies, dragonflies, Florida wildlife, fun, in the neighborhood, live and learn, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, squirrels, technology

Just because…

Just because I’m ready to sit outside with my camera and enjoy the birds who visit the feeders doesn’t mean that they will actually show up on cue. And just because I have my camera set to take the fastest bursts possible doesn’t mean that I will actually get that great shot of a bird lifting off with its wings spread just so.

I wind up with a slew of pictures of a titmouse holding onto the post, but when the moment finally comes that he takes off it startles me and I take my finger off the shutter and this is the last shot of the burst.
Cute little guy thinks he’s a woodpecker I guess. This feeder gets a lot of attention from more than just the woodpeckers. And it slowed him down a bit. These guys stop just long enough to pick up a morsel and off they go.
I love the backgrounds the bougainvillea gives me for my photographs, but now there is a void in the shrubbery and this vine with big leaves seems to be the reason. It may be taking over, and I have no clue what it is. I’m always afraid it might be poison-something.
Someone else has discovered the woodpecker feeder. But she poses everywhere and all the time.
I walked out in the yard to examine the possibility that bugs were on the flowers out there. And this butterfly cooperated by showing up way up high, but I had my zoom lens plus extender so I was able to get a shot or 20.
Just because I wasn’t at the pond doesn’t mean I wasn’t delighted when this dragonfly showed up and landed in the bougainvillea. I hit the shutter and got a burst of about 40 shots exactly like this one. Doesn’t he just look happy?

I played with the new artificial intelligence features in Photoshop yesterday and it was amazing what you can do. One of my friends said that now no one will believe that the shots that she has worked so hard to get are ‘real.’ Looking at that dragonfly face I can see that someone might question it, but it is ‘just’ a photo. I always hope for a shot of a dragonfly face like that, and to that end I’ve spent a lot of time sitting by the pond, waiting for the magic to happen. And this shot took just a second when I wasn’t expecting it at all. We all put lots of time and money into our photography habit and now something new is on the horizon. I wonder where it will lead…

attention to detail, attitude adjustments, backyard visitors, birds, Florida wildlife, fun, in the neighborhood, nature, Natures little dramas, perseverance, photography

Gender issues…

Perhaps it’s not the correct political climate to be trying to figure out who the mated pairs of our backyard birds may be. We have our funny immature somebody in the feature photo. But what got me thinking about this again was the appearance of the female red-winged blackbird yesterday.

I think I saw this bird at the Celery Fields, and I was so surprised to find out it was a female red-winged blackbird. So now I wondered if other bird couples had been visiting.
Her Mr. announces his arrival to be sure you notice him.
The other day Bernie was enjoying all the birds out there when this bird showed up and started sounding off. The two doves who were scavenging on the ground popped their heads up, and all the birds scattered immediately, just as a hawk swooped in through the yard, and only a few feet from the lanai. But the hawk must have found his dinner elsewhere.
So I wondered if the female red-bellied woodpecker had ever shown up, and guess what, this is the female. She has a red nape, while the male has a full crown of red on the top of his head also. I looked though my photos and I think I’ve only seen the female, so far at least. And yes, her first stop is to check out the post before she chows down on the woodpecker cylinder.
This guy’s potential confusion may extend to his pretending to be a woodpecker.
I bought the little cup feeder to hold the meal worms which only attracted the crows to the feeder. So I replaced the meal worms with ‘butter buds’ and they are a hit with everybody, including the crows.
My experiments with ‘precapture’ from the other day were less than successful. But all the gnashing of teeth that I did over the technology must have worked because this photo showed up in Lightroom today. So my efforts the other day weren’t a total waste of time.
Any scattered seeds don’t have a chance to sprout with this grounds crew on duty.

The tufted titmouse has been too fast for me to get pictures lately. But I looked up the male/female identification issue and they are identical. You have to watch their behavior as the males are more territorial than the females. I will keep an eye out when they visit next time. As you have seen it’s been a lot of fun watching the goings on at the feeders. And such nice timing since the action is best at ‘happy hour.’