Wednesday, July 18

That's a What!

Several weeks go my brother called telling me about this strange looking butterfly or moth that was hanging from the hand rail to his workshop. His description was quite vivid and I knew I had to run over there in hopes of getting a few pictures. You know how these things work, you get there and its gone. Well not this time. It was actual still hanging in the very same spot. I took several pictures of this beautiful creature not knowing what it was. After 15 minutes of shooting pictures my brother and I went inside his house and got on the Internet in hopes of identifying this brillant wonder.

Turns out it is a Cecopia Moth, the largest moth in North American. Why did it defy "Murphy's Law" and not fly off? Cecopia Moths only fly at night. Other strange but true facts are that it only lives for two weeks and it has no mouth or proboscis to feed. Its only purpose in their adult life is to mate and perpetuate the species. And what a beautiful species it is!

Tuesday, July 3

Fun With Hummingbirds

The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have been putting on quite a show this afternoon following another heavy thunderstorm that moved though the area. At least 8-10 are fighting over the six feeders. I've only seen 3 males with the rest of the crew made up of females and immatures.

A pair of immature males has been the most entertaining. One will be on the feeder when it is dive-bombed by the other and they begin this midair joust were they face off and fly about 20 to 30 feet straight up. Sometimes they will slowly descend and repeat the score. Other times they come tumbling down in the grasp of one another, not letting lose of each other until they almost hit the ground. I have noticed that a couple of the feeders have seen a changing of the guard in the last few days. The feeder outside my computer room window is presently owned by a immature male. It was the domain of an adult male (no way to tell if it was the same one) for the last several months.

It's amazing how much fun you can have with some water and a couple of pounds of sugar!

Sunday, April 29

A Good Day for Birding

It was by far the best day for birding during the Spring migration on my walk thought the woods. I had just finished mowing grass and while taking a break I saw a Rose-breasted Grosbeak on one of the feeders. My first of the season. I thought that more Spring migrating birds might be around so I headed for the woods.

A brilliant Indigo Bunting feeding along a fence row with a couple of Northern Cardinals was my first sighting. I could hear a Carolina Wren calling and another song that I thought was a vireo. It got closer and closer and with a few squeaks I got great looks at a White-eyed Vireo. While squeaking up the vireo a Gray Catbird popped up from some heavy brush. There was some movement above, it was a female Summer Tanager. Hey, this is getting good. I stood in that one spot for a while but never saw another migrant.

Headed back to the house to see a pair of Mississippi Kites soaring overhead. A Red-bellied Woodpecker worked on excavating a nest cavity in an old pine tree not from the Pine where the Red-shouldered Hawks are nesting. I did manage to see a single chick on the nest. Might have been more but could only see the one. Not much else other than the regular crew of Carolina Chickadees and such. Did have a dozen Chimney Swifts fly overhead along with a lone Yellow-billed Cuckoo.

Monday, April 16

They're Back

American Goldfinches are pretty common birds during the winter months and I had my fair share this past winter. I haven't seen any since late February so it was an treat to see several at the feeders over the weekend. The males begin to look quite different as they molt into their breeding plumage. Other feeder birds included my FOS (first of season) Indigo Bunting, Northern Cardinal, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Chipping Sparrow, House Finch, Brown-headed Cowbird, Common Grackle, Blue Jay, Mourning Dove and Inca Dove. There were plenty of fly over Black and Turkey Vultures but no kettles of migrating hawks. Speaking of hawks, I saw the Red-shouldered Hawk on its nest. Almost forgot the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. Saw three males at once on one occasion but still haven't seen a female ruby-throat.

I made a brief walk to the woods and heard a White-eyed Vireo but could never see it. I looked for 15 minutes while it called but could never get a look at it. Also had a FOS Prothonotary Warbler dart in front of me down by the pond. A lingering Yellow-rumped Warbler was foraging down by the sough along with a couple of Northern Cardinals and Blue Jays while a Carolina Wren worked a brush pile. Only came across a few butterflies like this Little Wood-Satyr. Also saw more Pearl Crescents, Eastern Tiger Swallow-tails and Cloudless Sulphur.

Sunday, April 8

Bickham Dickson Park

It's one of the best birding parks in the city of Shreveport. A mix of ox-bow lakes, open meadows and river woodlands, the park is located on the banks of the Red River. In fact at one time the ox bow lakes were part of the ever winding Red River. The birding is good year around but it is during Spring migration when birding is at its best. I've birded the park for many years and have a personal species list of 199. On one spring day, fellow birder Charles Lyon and I tallied 102 species. It was the best day of birding I've had at any time in Caddo Parish.

Today, however, the woodland birding was almost a big goose egg. I was saved from a shutout by single Red-headed and Downy Woodpeckers. The best birding today was around the back loop drive. A blanket of yellow wild flowers cover the inner part of the loop while the outside of loop provided great views of Yellow-crowned Night-herons. I counted a half dozen with most of them showing their breeding plumes. There were lots of swallows flying about, mostly Barn and Purple Martins. The lake still had quite a few American Coots, Pied-billed Grebes, a pair of Blue-winged Teal.

Sunday, April 1

Sunday Mourning Walk in the Woods

Took another walk in the woods this mourning and boy was it quiet. Quiet is nice but not this quiet. Only managed to see or hear four birds, Northern Cardinal, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Carolina Wren and Ruby-crowned Kinglet. However, there was enough butterfly activity to keep me awake. Pearl Crescents (see photo right) were everywhere! I must have counted two dozen. Good numbers of Little Wood-Satyr were seen as were a few Giant Swallowtails and one Red-spotted Purple. Around the house I still have a couple of male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds with more cardinals, Chipping Sparrows, Mourning Doves and an occasional Eastern Bluebird.

Wednesday, March 28

Unexpected Surprise!

Nature is full of surprises and I got one as I was leaving for work this afternoon. I was about to drive off when a splash of green at the base of a pine tree caught my eye. I did a double take, jumped out of my car and ran back inside the house to get my camera. Resting at the base of the pine tree was a beautiful Luna Moth. It's only the second one I gotten a picture of and one of the few that I have ever seen. This one was especially striking!