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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Winged Wonders

Even though we're still locked in the worst drought ever in Houston history, I thought I'd blog about something more cheerful today.

I had seen a hummingbird in the garden a couple of weeks ago.  Although I thought it a bit early, I decided to go ahead and put my feeders out.  This weekend I have been entertained by at least three hummingbirds zooming around the garden, performing an aerial ballet that wears me out just to watch them.

I've only been able to snap a couple of photos, but I thought I'd share them anyway.

Our pine tree was the perfect place for them to sit and watch guard over the feeders to make sure no other hummingbirds came close.  Several times this weekend, I've glanced out the back door to see this little figure up in the tree.

I can never quite figure out how people get those photos of several hummers at the same feeder. The ones in my garden seem to spend all their time chasing each other away from the feeders, even though there were enough feeders to go round. 

I was pleased to see that in between taking sips from the feeders I had put out, or chasing/being chased away from those feeders, the hummers also seemed to enjoy the blooms on the crepe myrtle tree and the vitex. 

In addition to the hummingbirds, there have been some other winged wonders in the garden this week.

Overall this year, I haven't seen many butterflies, compared to years past, but this weekend saw some activity which I was able to get photos of.

I saw this little skipper on the white Texas Star hibiscus - he was so intent on collecting nectar, he was still there after I had gone indoors, got my camera, put fresh batteries in it and came back outside again.

The "Yellow Gold" lantana in the front garden seem to be favorites of many butterflies, including this Giant Swallowtail...

... and this Gulf Fritillary.

As I look over the monitor of my computer and out the back door, I can just catch a glimpse of my little hummingbird friend, resting in the Crepe Myrtle, next to the feeder.  All is peaceful... for now...

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.


meemsnyc said...

How lucky that you have hummingbirds visiting you!

Jayne said...

Thanks - yes, we are very lucky to have them. They are so entertaining :-)

Lancashire rose said...

They really are territorial and will fight off any intruder on their patch. So glad you got a photo as it is not an easy thing to do.

Cassy said...

The hummingbird looks so cute.
The butterflies added to the beauty of the flowers as well.

Cassy from Beginner Free Guitar Lessons

maiaT said...

Your photos are wonderful Jayne. I thought the hummingbirds never stop from their flight but that in your picture is quite still.

We just have hummingbird moths and those are buzzing constantly, they never rest.
You have very beautiful butterflies in your garden too.

Have a beautiful Sunday!

Kathleen Scott said...

Most of the male black-chins left our area (Hill Country)a few weeks ago, the females and juveniles are mostly gone now. The hummers in your pictures looked like female or juvenile black-chins--you can tell them apart from ruby-throated by the longer wing-to-tail ratio and longer beak-to-head ratio.

Wonderful that you have butterflies. It says you're doing a great habitat gardening job.

We've been so dry this year that we haven't had a population.

BTW, I think your yellow & black butterfly pic on the gold lantana is a Tiger Swallowtail.

Jayne said...

Hi Kathleen, thanks for stopping by and commenting. I'm not good at ID'ing hummingbirds at all. Every now and then I catch a flash of red and I assume it's a male ruby throat. No red, I assume it's a female. Now I'll have to look closer to see if they are black chinned, I'll have to get my book out :-) And yes, you're right about the butterfly. I was looking in my butterfly book after I posted and realized I'd got it wrong.

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

What type of hummingbirds visit your garden? Ruby throated?

Jayne said...

Hi, Lisa and Robb. We get mostly ruby throated here, although black chinned also come through here and other Houston gardeners are seeing rufous hummingbirds this year.