Sunday, July 12, 2009

Creatures that Fly Part II

Who doesn't love bee balm? This is Monarda fistulosa
'Claire Grace', being visited by a silver spotted skipper.

The focus isn't the best but I like this image anyway.

Hummingbird moths love bee balm too.

Carpenter bee feeding on Monarda x 'Raspberry Wine'

Goldfinches love to eat Verbena bonariensis seeds. I am
always surprising these little guys when I walk out the front door.

There is an indigo bunting and a blue grosbeak that spends most evenings singing near the big
perennial bed. I finally got some shots of the indigo bunting singing at the top of a blackgum.

Male blue grosbeak perched at the top of a young
Prunus mume at the northern end of the big bed.

Look what I found nearby! A baby blue grosbeak. The past few days the whole entourage, parents
and babies, have been travelling around in the dense cover between the horse pastures and the house.

They are all very vocal and highly visible, with their loud calls and the characteristic way they flip their tails. But they stay in such dense cover that my huntress cat couldn't even be bothered to get up off of the driveway to take a look. She finds cotton rats to be easier prey.

I wish I'd had a camera to record the following: last night I was out watering some zinnias I'd just put in, when a female hummingbird zoomed by to feed on the summer phlox. She looked at the spray from the garden hose and judged it too harsh. So I angled the spray up to make it softer, and boy was that the ticket. She flew back and forth under the spray a few times, then perched atop a rose bush and proceeded to take a very long bath. She rubbed all over the foliage like a cat. She ruffled her wings and tail feathers and spread them all out. She was so cute. It was hysterical. Finally she zoomed toward me, gave a little bow as though to say thank you, and flew off.

Hummingbirds have so much personality.


  1. Just a visual treat, so thanks.

    We have the Hummingbird Hawk moth over here, but Hummingbirds sadly no.

    Beautiful pics.

  2. Hi Sweetbay, your monarda and blue feathered friends are just endearing, but your story of the shower hungry hummingbird brought tears to my eyes. I love her bow at the end too. Just a delight and your telling was enchanting. :-)

  3. Sweet bay love seeing your birds! I have never seen a blue grosbeak before. Love the insects too especially the ethereal flight of the skipper. Great shots! I had a very similar experience with a hummer and hose years back. Magical garden encounters. Treasures!

  4. That would be so fun with the hummingbird! She was surely thanking you for the treat. The indigo is such a pretty blue. I've only seen one before, and that was on my walking trail. They are rather elusive-great shots.

  5. Sweetbay,

    What a delight seeing Blue Grosbeaks. I'm sure they are out in some of the places I go but I've not seen any this year. Yet.
    Nice series of photos too!

  6. Sweetbay-- an Indigo Bunting AND a Blue Grosbeak, I am so jealous! I love the Goldfinches on the Verbena. Great photos of the hummingbird moth too!

  7. Loved this post. Really enjoyed seeing all your birds and hearing about your hummingbird. You have an amazing garden, very wildlife friendly.

  8. Oh Wow! You got some great shots! You must have a quick finger. I just love monarda too!--Randy

  9. That goldfinch looks like he has a crown on his head! I can't wait to see my first Raspberry Vine monarda to show its blooms. Wonderful images Sweet Bay! I like the second picture, too - in motion! Thanks for your comments on my posts!

  10. The Indigo bunting is so pretty. I love Monarda too, most of mine end up with mildew before they bloom, luckily the flowers are so pretty I don't mind too much. Those hummingbirds moths are really interesting, I've only seen them once when we were in Las Vegas.

  11. Thank you for sharing your wildlife with us in the photos and through your words. What a fun experience you had with the hummingbird! My robins seem to be getting tamer. They will come within a few feet of me, and make eye contact.

  12. Those shots of the hummingbird moth are very cool. You are lucky to have such unusual birds as well, they must like your garden.

  13. Beautiful, fascinating and inspiring - thanks for sharing!

  14. Love the birds! I'm jealous. I have mockingbirds, eastern bluebirds and killdeer living here and rarely see anything else. Except the hummingbirds. They really are lovable.

  15. Yes, hummers are personality plus, aren't they? Oh my, those wonderful blues. Lucky you! I had a very brief encounter with an Indigo Bunting back in May. No photos unfortunatey, but it was gorgeous! We get Rosebreasted grosbeaks here...all family members. We've got baby woodpeckers, baby sparrows, purple finches. It's such fun to see the families :)
    Wonderful photos of all the critters. I know how hard it is to get those hummingbird moths. Great job! Aren't those carpenter bees huge? Really great closeups!

  16. Loved your story about Miss Hummingbird. Especially the part about her little bow and how she rubbed against the foliage like a cat. They seem such curious little birds. I love them, but they are hard to catch on video, huh? Your other photos delighted me.~~Dee

  17. A lot of similar things are blooming here! :) I love Verbena bonariensis, and it seeds itself like crazy in my friend's garden, but not in mine.... !!!????? Love the lavender shades of day lilies.


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