“I am having a good day, chewing my hay and waiting for judging at the Farm Show.”
“Forget about that other goat, I am pretty confident that I am going to win first place.”
“Grrrrr… Step away from the goat pen!”
As I was cutting flowers, I ran across this big fellow. A quick internet search revealed it is a common garden spider called the Black and Yellow Argiope ( Argiope aurantia). They catch large insects such as grasshoppers and butterflies in their web. I decided I could pass on this flower and leave Mr. Spider alone.
As I was walking by the flowers this afternoon, I looked up at a basket of petunias and came face-to-face with a very large frog who was enjoying his (or her) time in the basket. Being startled, I jumped a foot in the air but then I decide that it was a pretty interesting visitor to have sitting in the flowers—much better than a snake!
The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly(Papilio glaucus) is one of the most common and easily identified butterflies. With the bright yellow color and distinctive stripes, it even has an easy-to-remember name.
This is also a butterfly where it is easy to determine the male and female.
Two Sachem Skipper butterflies (Atalopedes campestris) on Lantana blossoms. The greenish Sachem is the male. I believe the other Skipper is the female but did not get a clear identification. For anyone interested in butterfly identification, the Gardens with Wings site is very helpful in figuring out the correct name of the butterfly. You can search by open wing color or closed wing color, in addition to common name or size. For several years I had wanted to start learn to identify butterflies and with the help of Gardens with Wings and a visiting four-year-old granddaughter, it is finally happening this summer.
Silver-spotted Skipper, a very common small brown butterfly, stopping by the butterfly bush. More information about the silver-spotted skipper can be found at this link.
Even though it is officially spring, we have a few of our “winter” birds still taking advantage of the bird seed. There are a some dark-eyed juncos and I saw this white throated sparrow today hopping among the spring flowers and weeds (Look in the back in front of the boulder). They will leave soon for their summer habitat and will show up here again late next fall.
The Eastern Bluebirds remain in the area all year and a pair stopped by today to enjoy the mealworms. Although I have several bluebird houses, they usually prefer to make their nests in some of the tree cavities. Whether in a bird house or in a hole in a tree, the resurgence of the Eastern Bluebird population has brought tremendous enjoyment to everyone who loves to watch birds.
Two wild turkeys came wandering in the backyard today pecking at the stray bird seed on the ground. We have not seen the turkeys since last fall when we had groups of 20-30 roaming the yard regularly.
One year on Thanksgiving day we had 30 turkeys in the yard, however we were satisfied with store-bought turkey rather than what was in the back of the house. Continue reading
You know that spring is arriving in our area when you hear the call of the Eastern Phoebe in the early morning. The phoebe is a small gray flycatcher and usually arrives in the early spring. According to local folklore, it is time to buy the Easter ham when you hear the phoebe. However, this year with early spring and late Easter, the ham would be in the refrigerator for a pretty long time. For years, we have had a phoebe make its nest on the top of a column on our front porch. The only problem is that the column ends up streaked with bird droppings which is not too attractive but the advantage is that we can get a close look at the baby birds each year. Continue reading
Lanchester Landfill, the big mountain west of Morgantown on the border of Lancaster and Chester Counties, has a resident population of goats and sheep that graze on the hillside. Continue reading
This past weekend was the Great Backyard Bird Count sponsored by The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society. The four-day count is an opportunity for bird watchers from all over the United States and Canada to submit a list of the different species visiting their yards. Participants count birds for as little as 15 minutes or all day and then submit the total number of birds for each species observed during the count. The scientists analyze the data to answer questions about the winter bird population, such as; how the weather is affecting the movement of the population; what new species are sighted in particular areas of the country; what species are declining and what species are increasing. Continue reading