Friday, September 28, 2007

Bees Visit the Hummingbird Feeder

The hummingbird feeder is an amazing draw for a number of different birds. This bee seems to enjoy the sugar water as much as the hummingbirds.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Toad Shows in the Daylight

Although sunny, it was a cool day in the Habitat. Which is why this American Toad may have been enjoying the relative warm of the driveway asphalt.
The toads are seen only rarely during daylight. After a few photos, this guy sought out the dampness under one of the azalea bushes.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Moth Comes a-Knocking

We seldom have a visitor appear at the front door. This visitor did not really knock and was certainly not invited in the house.One of the great benefits of a glass front door is the ability to photograph the underside of moths and other insects that come 'a-knocking'. No clue as to the type, but he was fun to observe.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Hawk Migration???

On two successive days this week, a Cooper's Hawk was observed perched on one of the bird feeders in the Colvin Run Habitat. On this day, the squirrels and crows continued to feed on the ground not too far away.With one possible exception in early June, the very active Coops of the last winter have not been observed since late February. With a little luck, the Cooper's Hawks have migrated back into town.

This photo was taken by my wife - congrats on taking the shot and your first Internet publication!

Follow-up: After initially writing this post and while looking out the window, a Cooper's Hawk swooped down from above the house. His prey, a goldfinch drinking from the birdbath, narrowly escaped. The event was over in 3 seconds.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Deer Fawn Enjoys the Butterfly Bush

The smallest of this year's new born is doing just fine. He and his slightly larger sibling stop by often to eat the flowers, shrubs, and tree leaves. In the first photo, the fawn munches on the bush planted recently to encourage the butterflies to stop by.
Of course, as seen in this second photo, mother deer is always close around and watching me watch the young.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Meet Rascal

The next time that I report wildlife from Texas, you can expect to see more of this young pup. This is Rascal, a male lab-boxer mix.
He was adopted from the Fort Worth Humane Society and is officially 2 months old as of yesterday. Looking at those paws - well - can you say large boy?

Northern Flicker Observed

As with other birds such as the hummingbirds, we have seen a noticeable decline in the number of northern flicker woodpeckers and red-bellied woodpeckers in the Colvin Run Habitat this summer.
So, it was a great thrill to see this flicker appear during a day in July. Of course, the flicker feeds on the ground unlike most other woodpeckers.
This flicker was enjoying the many ants that grace the slate pathway.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Speaking of Butterflies

Speaking of butterflies (see yesterday's post), here is another variety observed in the Colvin Run Habitat this past summer.
I am not sure whether I am more observant this year in finding butterflies or whether they are really more noticeable this year. Either case, they are fun to see and photograph.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Here is the Virginia state insect, the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. This fellow was enjoying one of the only flowers that the deer seem to not eat in the Colvin Run Habitat.
By the looks of this guys, he has seen some tough going as the trailing edges of the wings are clearly damaged.
This photo was taken during a hot summer day in July.
There are better butterfly photos posted at

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Baffled Squirrel

I can always tell the new squirrels coming to the Colvin Run Habitat - they try to reach the top of the bird feeders.
The other squirrels have long ago accepted the baffle that blocks the path, but the new guys always spend 5 or 1o minutes trying anyway.
The squirrel population noticeably peaked in July and demonstrably decreased in August. Possible reasons? The drought, and a likely resultant increase in rabies. August is a time for new born squirrels. And, lastly, the return of the fox, although I have never seen the squirrel population decrease that significantly due to a fox.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Hummingbird Migration in Full Swing

The number of hummingbirds observed in the Colvin Run Habitat this past summer was disappointing. I believe that the low numbers was due to the drought currently being experienced in the mid-Atlantic states.However, beginning the third week of August the number rose dramatically. Instead of seeing a hummingbird once a week, several were observed every morning and evening. The observed hummingbirds were clearly distinct as they were of different sizes. The hummingbirds are most likely passing through on their way to Central America for the winter.
I have never observed hummingbirds as aggressive - they not only chased each other from the feeders, but they also chased other birds - finches, titmice, and on one occasion a cardinal. These photos were taken as the sun came up one morning.This female (third photo-no red throat as in the male below) made a rare mid-day appearance. After she shared the feeder with a bee interested in the sugar water, she perched on the dogwood and posed for me (first two photos). I was able to approach to within ten feet.
This male paid a more typical sunrise visit. The low light of the early morning is the reason for the poorer photo quality of the last two photos.
Remember that these birds are about the length of an adult human's ring finger.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Blogger and Red-Tailed Fox Return

I took the last month off - for a variety of unintended reasons. But, like the fox pictured here, I am back.

A fox was last seen in the Colvin Run Habitat in very late June. Over the last 15 months, there have been at least 4 distinct foxes that have been observed multiple times. The fox shown in these photos appeared first in late June and on the last day of August.
He arrived this time at sunrise, which is the reason (or shall I say my excuse) for the low light conditions and hence poor photo quality.
He seemed to appear out of the overgrown holly bush in the Habitat where he seems to spend time. He then checked out the bird feeders and headed in to the nearby brush. Running down stairs and onto the porch, I managed to get these photos as he sat and observed the neighbor's beagle.
As you can see from the photos, every once in a while he would look over at me, though I was making very, very little noise. His visit lasted a total of 6 minutes. My wife has named this fox "Frisky" because of his quick appearances and disappearances.