Today in nature I saw

We have those at our house too. They move too fast for me to ever get a picture. The other day my wife and I were planting a couple of butterfly bushes in the back and one skittered across the patio, practically running over the top of her foot before disappearing. She never even saw it.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a county native plant sale. We (sisters & I) bought my mom a flat of pollinator plants that we planted for her. That was her request - no more Mothers Day, birthday or Christmas gifts. She has enough “stuff”. You can plant me a pollinator garden.
Anyway, at the sale they had informational booths. One had a honey bee hive under glass so we could see the bees working. They were also selling honey. One of the booths had information on Monarch butterflies. There were a few of the caterpillars crawling around and there was a metal “tree” that had all of the stages of the butterfly in real life. It was very interesting. I had no idea that the caterpillar splits down it’s back and that’s where the chrysalis emerges. I thought it was more like a cocoon. The guy asked if I would like to take a chrysalis home. I said - sure! He gave me a plastic cup that had a chrysalis hanging from a piece of cheese cloth that was stretched over the top of the cup. He also told me how to take care of it and thankfully some printed instructions. He said he didn’t know how old the chrysalis was. So he had no idea when the butterfly would emerge. I checked every day and saw no change. I thought I had a dud. Yesterday I noticed the chrysalis had turned from bright green to a brown-ish black color. That’s a sign that the butterfly will be emerging within a day. This morning I had a butterfly! Now I’m supposed to wait a day or two for it’s wings to dry out and harden then I can set it free. It was very exciting! I wish I could have seen it happening, but I’m just glad that it did.

That’s really cool. What did you have to do to take care of the chrysalis?

We used to spend a half day at the Butterfly Farm in St Martin every year. Hurricane Irma destroyed the farm and they never rebuilt. It was so cool to just slowly/carefully walk around while dozens of species of butterflies flew around, occasionally landing on you before moving on.

Owl cutie

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Owl booty

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Cool! I never see owls. Saw a little green heron at our pond, though.

Speaking of our pond, a mallard invasion has occurred. My gf has been putting out cracked corn for the two hens and drake caring for their 6 ducklings. Word has gotten out and a swarm of a dozen or so mallards are coming to eat. The hang out (and shit) on our dock.

Now my gf delays putting out corn until the invaders get tired of waiting and fly off to wherever they usually hang.

I was driving on a backroad and saw these three. Had to stop and get a picture.

Aw, sweet little things.

I got up this morning to a view of this prehistoric looking thing perched on the window screen of my home office.

I walked out on the deck for a better look and it’s a beautiful but really huge moth. Wingspan nearly 6 inches. I blew on it, and it did a bluffing display, showing it’s “eyes”.


Finally, I didn’t want to look at the creepy other side from my desk all day, so I disturbed the screen it was on and it fluttered all of 8 feet to land on my deck. Now it’s just sitting there. No idea why it’s so lethargic, is it at end of life? Breeding thing?

That’s a polyphemus moth - one of the big silkworm moths. Sadly, they only live about a week. Their only purpose while alive is to mate and lay eggs. They don’t even eat.

Beautiful moth!

Russian Blue Sage grows like a weed up here. The bees love it:

That looks a lot like one I saw at a motel in Lone Pine CA years ago.

I put up a feeder, and got a Rufous hummingbird to visit within a day:

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Our hummingbirds (ruby throated) are voracious this year. We always hang a feeder and clean/refill every few days. This year we had to hang a second and are refilling them daily.

I actually looked to see if they were leaking. Nope, and the birds were buzzing around when I checked.

Not today, but Wednesday the 26th. Had to travel to Albuquerque, my sister was in the emergency department at UNM Hospital. As I was trying to find a spot to park, this came across in front of me, and hung right in front of me so I could get pictures. First one I’ve seen in close to 50 years - always hoped I’d never have to see New Mexico again.
Roadrunner

Thought they’d be taller. If I couldn’t see its X-shaped feet, or it didn’t jump up and go “meep! meep!” I wouldn’t recognize it.
I hope your sister will be okay, @Dogginit .

Nothing! He told me to just leave it in the cup at room temp.

The next day I took it in the woods behind our house. I was thinking I’d have to kind of dump it out on a bush. The whole time I was walking, the butterfly was going crazy in the cup, flapping its wings. I took off the cover and it just about exploded from the cup! Off it went way above the trees. It was a really cool experience.

I didn’t know that the yard guys were scheduled this morning!
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Nice herd!