Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Nature Notes: Dragonfly, towhee and hibiscus

The dragonfly was hiding deep within the bushes but I caught sight of the banded body which made me zoom in to see what was there.
The hibiscus (Rose of Sharon) was curled up like paper with ants crawling in and out.
I was trying to get a shot of a Goldfinch but the male rufous-sided towhee came flying into the bath and scared it off.
I tried to get a shot of a titmouse today but it was too fast for me.
I haven't been taking very many pictures for the past week or so but I did get a bunch of shots of this towhee bathing.
I think they are rather distinguished looking birds.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Today's Flowers: Flowers from yesteryear

The excessive heat has been hard on my flowers this year so I'm looking back to the summer of 2010.
My gerber daisies came back each year, after being dormant in the winter, until this year when the heat damaged them before they bloomed.
I have lots of shots of my gerber daisies that I never posted so I picked some from my 2010 photo files.
Looking through my photo files made me miss them.
This rose bush is something else I miss.
I planted it almost 20 years ago but it has appears to have died this year.
My perennial lavender is a plant I started from seed that also came back to bloom for close to 20 summers but this year it came back and turned brown before blooming.
My ice plant is still alive but I only got a few blooms this year before they were singed by the heat.
My hydrangea blossoms turned brown after a brief bloom this year.
All of the shots in this post were taken during the summer of 2010.
Although I still have some echinacea in bloom this year, I haven't seen any of the swallowtail butterflies that are usually abundant in the summer.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Photohunters: Paintings and Joker

This may be a stretch but the only thing of I think of to combine the two photohunters themes (paintings and joker) was to use paintings by my Dad who had a great sense of humor.
All of the paintings in this post were ones my Dad did of me at various times in my life.
The one above is a charcoal drawing but I'm including it because it's my favorite of my dad's portraits of me, although its not a painting. The last painting is perhaps the one I find the most interesting of his paintings of me. The next to the last was done when I was around 20 and is the oldest I was when he painted me.
What I really wish I had to show my Dad as a joker was a sketch he ended up giving someone else.
When he was in the hospital, near the end of his life, he had a urinal version of a bed pan. He put a flower in it and did a good sketch of the flower in the urinal. He treated it seriously as a flower drawing and looking at it you'd do a double take on realizing the flower was in a urinal. If he'd painted it instead of drawing it, and if I had the painting it would have been perfect for the theme.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Nature Notes: Hot and drippy

The porcelain vine (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata) below represents how I feel, hot and dripping from the humidity.
It's actually cooler than it was. But going from highs in the 100s F to highs in the 90s F, along with continuing humidity, doesn't help me much.
Ordinarily my hydrangea blooms don't turn brown until winter but this year the heat burned most of the blooms. Below is one little blossom that retains its color. You can also see it at the bottom of the shot above.
My pecan tree is loaded with pecans.
I wonder how many I'll get and how many the squirrels will get.
Most of the echinaceas (coneflowers) have gone to seed but a few blooms are adding color to my yard.
In spite of the heat, my perennial grasses are doing well because there has been so much rain.
A bee is burrowing deep into the rose of sharon (hibiscus) bloom.
My crepe myrtle tree is reaching full bloom.
I've let so many volunteer trees grow in my back yard that they partially block the crepe myrtle but the blossoms peek through.
I could heard dozens of birds in the crepe myrtle so I shot blindly towards where I heard them. If you look closely in the shot below you should be able to spot part of several birds although they are partially hidden.
Next is a female cardinal that still has a touch of the darker color on its beak so you can tell it's one of this year's birds, nearly grown.
Next is an adult female cardinal enjoying a bath.
The American Robin below is fluffed out after a bath.
The next shot shows an American Robin on my deck swing.
They are light enough that the swing doesn't move much when they land.
The next female cardinal has shaken some water off but is still pretty wet.
The male rufous-sided towhee has taken a bath.
Wait a minute, he went back in for a longer bath.
The catbird looks thoroughly drenched.
Another catbird is debating a bath.
Another male rufous-sided towhee beats him to that bath.
By the time the catbird makes it into the bath most of the water is gone.
Next is another female cardinal whose beak hasn't quite changed to the adult color.
In contrast the female cardinal below has the adult beak color.