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Friday, July 25, 2008

For the Birds...or WOW (wings of wonder)

Today I was planning to get ready for a few days away. However, when I went out on the deck for lunch, I was amazed at the variety of bird life that were busily having lunch as well! Needless to say I became enchanted as I watched various feathered friends.

The first birds I noticed were the Northern Flickers. Northern Flickers are a type of woodpecker that often peck ants out of the ground, also utilizing their specialized tongue. There were five of them pecking and flicking bits of moss and grass out of their way so they could reach the tasty ants. I have learned that the males have a red moustache. The two that are together seem to be a mother with a young one as in the video I took, the young one is fed by its mother. However the video seems to be too large for Photobucket so will have to check later to see if there's another way to upload it. Here's a 5 photo slideshow.:

A pileated woodpecker arrived: (may be a female, because males have red moustaches and more of a red head)
Here's a closer look ~

Then some baby robins looking rather "puffy" appeared at the bottom of the back garden:

I don't know if it was the heat, or if they were suntanning or what, but all of a sudden one opened its wings and lay flat on its belly. Shortly after, another did the same!

Of course, the crows were still interested in the cherry tree, so every so often one would come cawing down to have another go at it:


Just then I heard a whirring sound and knew a hummingbird was near:


If you watch carefully you can see it in these videos:

Well, you'd think that was more than enough for one day, when lo and behold, the swallowtail butterfly thought it better get into the picture. Remembering the beautiful closeup butterfly photos on London Daily Photos, I went in for the eye to eye.

I thought I better check the front garden, and what did I spy, but another butterfly, and luckily it was busily enjoying the Heliotrope long enough for me to get a couple of photos:

I think it looks similar to Flighty's butterfly.

Earlier in the morning I had checked the rose garden as is my usual practice, and noticed a couple of blooms had blossomed on "Hot Cocoa":

Also in the rose garden, the sunflowers are maturing ~ if you look into the centre of this one, there are a few different creatures engaging in whatever it is they do. I can see at least three different ones.


Am I ready to go tomorrow? No. Did I have an amazing day? Yes.
Tomorrow will take care of itself :)


  1. Wow indeed! What a wonderful selection of wildlife in your garden.
    It must be doubly pleasing to not only see but to capture it all on film as you have.
    I think that you're right to say that the white butterfly looks the same as the ones I see here.
    Nice roses, and an unusual shade of red.
    I think that you'll remember the day for a long time to come! xx

  2. I love heliotrope, I must grow some again next year, I just love the aroma. No wonder the butterfly was hovering! I am intrigued to see your native birds. A great photo of the divebombing crow! I often see blackbirds in my garden flat on their bellies in the dry dirt, maybe it is a way of cooling themselves down? x

  3. Hi Flighty ~ Indeed a memorable day. I couldn't believe the number of birds that were sharing the back garden! I hope you were able to see the little hummingbird. So often it hovers around when I don't have the camera ready...and then it's off like a shot.

    Yes, they are nice roses, aren't they? Sort of a russet shade, with an unusual scent. I quite like the blooms.

    Hi Louise ~ I agree ~ heliotrope has a lovely scent ~ I have some near my front door, and a huge pot of it on the deck! I'm pleased to share "our" birds with you. I am fascinated by them and I love seeing various kinds in my own yard, and also down at the beach! I'm glad to have the time to just enjoy them.

    I think you're right about the birds cooling down by spreading their wings. They also puff up to cool down... perhaps they still have a lot of downy feathers that's keeping them warm. Maybe I could put another bird bath in the back there. I was surprised that the neighbourhood cat was no where around since these birds were in abundance! Yes, I did catch the crow in a great dive, thanks :)

  4. I looked at the hummingbird videos a couple of times. It seems that you have problems following them, which isn't surprising! xx

  5. You know, by the pattern on the woodpecker's face, from a distance, it looks like he's frowning. But up close, I can see a little smile. You're amazing. These are terrific photos, Glo. What variety of lovely things to look at (including that lovely Hot Cocoa - aren't those colours unusual?).

  6. Glo, that is a lovely set of photos. I have always liked woodpeckers. Is your "hummer" territorial like ours is? Love "being in your garden" :)

  7. Have a safe trip. Being as far north as you are, do you reach a certain point at which you begin to feel jealous of the remaining couple of months of summer, and start counting down and crossing your fingers for extra time or an Indian summer?

  8. PS My laptop is acting up tonight (hm, has it reached that age?) and can't see the videos or the slide show, but I really do miss the hummers we used to have in TX.

  9. Flighty ~ yes, it's difficult to film the hummingbird when it moves so quickly and I have my eye focusing through the camera searching for the thing! But I did see it whirring by a few times, just hoped others could see it too. :)

    Thanks Nikki :) I'm glad you enjoyed the photos and now that you've mentioned the "facial expressions" on the woodpecker, I can see them, too. It definitely was a day of variety, and held me spellbound. Have you seen the Hot Cocoa rose before?

    Hello Roomie ~ Happy to have you in the garden with me :) This year I've only seen one hummingbird at a time, but in other years there have been more than one around the hummingbird feeder and they buzzed at each other then. My apricot tree, where I'm sure the hummingbirds nest, is now known as my "grapricot" tree, because the grapevines have taken over and hang over it like a huge canopy!

    Hello Olivia ~ sorry to read that you can't access the slideshows or videos ~ hope your laptop stops acting up :)
    I've found a link re Vancouver Island which you might find interesting

    and here's what it says about our climate:

    Climate: Brought in by the winds and currents of the Pacific, Vancouver Island's climate is considerably milder than that of the mainland. The moisture-laden ocean air first hits the westerly mountains, dumping huge amounts of rain in some areas. These rains have created and sustained the island's rain forests, home to some of the biggest trees in the world. These warm winds also keep the climate mild, with the west coast rarely seeing snow in winter. The ocean air loses strength in its climb over the central mountains, making the east coast of the island much drier and warmer than the west. The south end of the island receives little annual precipitation, while, at lower elevations, winter snow is usually minimal. It is not unusual to see golfers on the course in mid January, while skiers try out the deep powder on nearby mountains.

  10. Hi Glo

    thanks for the informative links. I know BC is milder than the rest of Canada and remember hearing that Victoria's spring blossoms pop out before the rest of Canada and there's a flower festival to prove it, but having said that, anything up there is bound to intimidate me a little - remember, I am an honorary Texan and being born in London makes no difference!

    So you can imagine, I am somewhat dreading the NYC winter, although the sunset at 6pm is 100% better than UK nightfall of 3.30pm. Those Northern European sunsets of 10.30pm can never make up for that.

    Everything in moderation I always say...

  11. Correction: ...Northern European *summer* sunsets of 10.30pm...

  12. Hi Liv ~ I know that last winter was a doozy for NYC ~ lots of snow and cold, so I'm sure it will be an interesting winter for you. One thing about places that expect snow...they usually have enough heavy equipment to clear it up. We don't always get snow here, and even if it does snow, it doesn't last long. We have some snowy mountains nearby for those who love skiing. The prairies, now, that's a whole different story, as far as winter goes. When my youngest son was born we lived up north, and it was 55 F below zero! I've never been to Texas, but can imagine that it's climate is totally different.

  13. Well, I comfort myself with the fact that winter in NY is nowhere near as bad as winter in southern Ontario. My relatives live above a snow line, and I have been there a few times for Christmas and got cabin fever once when we were snowed in at -40C. After a while, when it went up to -4C we had acclimatized so much that we were unable to zip our jackets and certainly didn't need gloves...!