Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wordless Wednesday Common Tern

Common Tern

Wordless Wednesday Royal Tern with Chick

Royal Tern with Chick

After Hurricane Irene

We are all lucky along the Delaware Bay with just minimal wind damage from Hurricane Irene. My damage is to my plantings in the yard which makes me happy that I took pictures of the yard just before I left for work. The damage is from the sustained winds that has tore up the Canna's, destroyed the Mexican Sunflower plants among others. Directly behind me at the neighbors a Mulberry tree, favored by the birds, has fallen. It's hit their shed (and not my garage).

Arriving home Sunday with the winds blowing about 60MPH, I had difficulty actually getting in my back door. Shortly after I arrived home, the electricity went off.

Mid-afternoon I drove over to Sunset Beach. When I arrived there was a large group of birders who had been there most of the day. They had seen an awesome number of birds which is apparently something that happens after a storm like this. Boy, I wish I had known that when I first drove home becaue I would have immediately gone over to Sunset Beach to add some new birds and experiences to my life! Since the group was breaking up I went over to the State Park to see what was going on there but it was closed and locked up. I parked and walked in where I saw Black Skimmers and varity of Gulls in the parking lot. An immature Royal Tern, some Semi-palmated Plovers, several Killdeer, more Gulls and Terns were in the grassy areas.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Calm before the Storm.. a beautiful sunset...

Hurricane Irene is on her way with each media broadcast playing up the fact that Cape May County and more specifically the Delaware Bay is going to have a direct hit from the hurricane.
The county is under mandatory evacuation with the barrier islands being evacuated tonight and the mainland areas going tomorrow. It probably couldn't have happened at a worse time during the summer with this being the weekend before Labor Day.
26 years ago in Sept 1985 Hurricane Gloria came to visit Cape May County and we were spared major damage because at the last minute it veered up the coast and hit around Atlantic City. Russ and I had only lived here for 3 months and knew hardly anyone so I made him take me back to PA.

Now I have offered my services to my job (hospital) and plan not to evacuate. Since there are a number of employees who have already left the area with their families my offer has been accepted. Tomorrow I will get my valaubles together and pack the car leaving here Saturday morning for the hospital. I am anxious and worried that this time the house will be destroyed but if that's God's will so be it. Things can be replaced.
In the meantime tonight there was a gorgous sunset!

Brown Booby

Well, the rare Ivory Gull started my birding and photographic journey and now in town is a Brown Booby. She arrived around August 20th in Jarvis Sound by the naturalist aboard the Osprey. This bird is normally found in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean so is way out of her normal territory.
According to Wikipedia "Brown Boobies are spectacular divers, plunging into the ocean at high speed. They mainly eat small fish or squid which gather in groups near the surface and may catch leaping fish while skimming the surface. Although they are powerful and agile fliers, they are particularly clumsy in takeoffs and landings; they use strong winds and high perches to assist their takeoffs."
Fortunately the Brown Booby has stayed around long enough for me to have a day off from work to come out to have a look and take some pictures.

Hummingbird Moths

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Common Buckeyes in my backyard

I am having more butterflies come into the backyard as my plants are growing larger in the garden. I also have a plate of rotten fruit out to attract the fruit eating variti of birds. I see many Common Buckeye's, some Orange Sulfur's, some Eastern Question Marks along with many I can't ID.

More exciting times - Monarch Butterflies

In 2010 I learned that to have Monarchs come and raise their young one needed to have milkweed. I planted milkweed last year but not enough or soon enough to have any great stands of it. Some mikweed species are perennial but there are a few varities that need to be planted every year.

This year I started earlier and planted more types of milkweed so I am attracting the graceful Monarchs into the yard. I was SO excited to find a chrysalis hanging from the side of the back steps on Friday!

Monarchs are the only butterly known for their long migration similar to birds. In North America in the fall monarchs begin their journey. It takes several generations of Monarch's to reach their wintering grounds in Mexico and CA. Once there the monarch goes into a phase of non reproduction which lasts 7 months or more. Normally, a summer monarch will live about 2 months.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Exciting times in my backyard -Eastern Black Swallowtails

As I mentioned before I attended a workshop last year on drawing butterflies and birds into your yard. This occurs by planting both plants that provide nectar but also plants that are host plants for caterpillars.

Like in 2010 I have a profusion of Eastern Black Swallowtails in my yard. The host plants for EBS are in the carrot family - fennel, dill, parsley and Queen's Ann Lace. After mating the butterfly lays small yellow eggs on the host plants.

After the eggs hatch they are called instars; are quite tiny and black resembling bird poop before growing larger. The caterpillar grows to about 2" before pupating into a chrysalis. Of course, the birds love to eat them for a tasty treat.

The pictures show the life cycle of the EBS.