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Monday, August 16, 2010

Critters in the Garden

This afternoon I went to visit my friend Katie, who lives in the center of the island on a property with a pond and a huge garden. Despite the heat (we've had three or four days now with temperatures well above 80), there was quite a bit of activity on the wildlife front, and we were both ready, cameras in hand.

In addition to lots of cabbage white butterflies that are abundant right now all over the island, I also spotted a Lorquin's admiral (Limentis lorquini). This is a species I see every year but have yet to successfully photograph. Today I was so close to getting that perfect picture! Alas, I couldn't quite maneuver my way through the plants and this image is blurred by the stem of a plant in front of the rather tattered looking admiral. I'll have to keep trying, but this will do for now!

Near the edge of the pond we spotted several Pacific tree frogs (Pseudacris regilla) - amazingly enough the first frogs I've ever seen on the island! These were some of the smallest tree frogs I've ever seen: Katie described them accurately as being about the size of a thumb nail. They weren't very camera shy, either....

The bees were enjoying the wide variety of flowers in bloom in the garden, and I've tentatively identified the bumblebee species that we saw as Bombus mixtus:

The two dogs on the property kept us company and didn't really seem to disturb much of the wildlife, other than maybe the wood ducks on the pond which quickly made themselves scarce. With a face like this I couldn't resist pointing the camera at the domestic wildlife, too:

In terms of bird life, I saw a family of about ten California quail on my drive up. Overheard we had a pair of turkey vultures and a band-tailed pigeon (216) - I had to double check my year list and was surprised I hadn't picked up this species yet this year! In the trees in the yard and at the feeders we saw and heard cedar waxwings, chestnut-backed chickadees, red-breasted nuthatches, and purple finches. Here's a male purple finch in the tree where the feeder was hanging:

One other species of butterfly also caught our attention. It was enjoying several different flower species including these daisies. I'm pretty sure it's a woodland skipper (Ochlodes sylvanoides), reported to be common in the region, especially in early August:

It turned out to be a beautiful afternoon the garden, though it was nice to retreat to the coolness of the shade after a while!


Warren Baker said...

Nice selection of wildlife Monika. I know the feeling with the butterfly photo :-)

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Luvin the dog's ears! Good butterflies, and a cute tree frog too - don't get them here sadly.