Sunday, September 15, 2013


The Monarchs have had a tough year.  The 2012 generation that overwintered in Mexico had a rough start.  As they headed north in the early spring of 2013 they would  normally lay their eggs on milkweeds in southern Texas, but that area is in drought and the milkweeds were few in numbers.  According to the T.V. series Northland Adventures many of the Monarch then tried to proceed farther north to find milkweed  but due to a late, cold spring the milkweeds were not yet up. The very wet, cold, and stormy weather in the Midwest took its toll on the next generation also.  Much of the upper Midwest is now in drought and we are again having a shorter than normal blooming season for our prairie flowers.  This shortened season is putting stress on 2013's last generation of Monarchs as they head all the way to Mexico for the winter.   Bad weather along with continued habitat loss in both the Midwest and Mexico is taking its toll.  Each year we are seeing fewer Monarchs.  Lets hope next year is better.

Friday, September 13, 2013

We still have about a dozen Hummingbirds at the feeder but all appear to be juveniles or females.  Last year all our hummers left by Sept. 20th and then one showed up on Sept. 26 and left the same day. In 2011 that last hummers left our place on Sept. 21.

Bumble Bee enjoying the last of our Butterfly Milkweed.  They do not allow me to get my face or body closer than about 3 feet, but they will tolerate being photographed if I slowly move just the camera to within about 3 inches of them.  (This seems to work better in the late summer and fall when they are very intent on gathering pollen and nectar.)

Yellow-Black Mud Dauber.  We also have the more common Purple Mud Dauber here.  1 inch long.

Leafhopper.  Click on the photo and blow this photo up.  You will notice that the wings have veins that look just like a leaf.  The body also resembles a twig.  This one was on our back door frame.  It is at most 1/2 inch in length.

Found this beheaded weasel on our ski trails.  This is probably the work of owls as we have seen this before.  Many years ago we found two screech owls that were living in my father-in-laws spruce trees.  They would bring the mice they killed up to the back patio and behead them and then proceeded to eat only the high calorie brain from each mouse.  All owls will do this if hunting is good.

Our Canada Goldenrod is just about done blooming for this year.  The bloom time was somewhat short this year, perhaps because of dry conditions.

The New England Asters are just beginning to bloom.  They will provide pollen and nectar for the bees and butterflies right up to a freeze. GO UP AND TO THE RIGHT AND CLICK ON SEPTEMBER 2013 OR ANY MONTH DESIRED TO VIEW MORE NATURE PHOTOS.

Red Admiral.  This one sat on my leg for about 15 minutes as I was photographing flowers.

Giant Swallowtail on our apple tree.  This one has seen its best days.

Sphinx moth caterpillar.  This is not the caterpillar for the moth below but it is a very close relative.  Found this one on our sidewalk. ( GO UP AND TO THE RIGHT AND CLICK ON AUGUST 2013 TO SEE SPHINX MOTH PHOTO).