Creating a wildlife haven one plant at a time

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Rain Makes Everyone Happy

Thunderstorms and rain were on the menu for this weekend. When the showers stopped briefly yesterday I took a walk around the garden. The humidity climbed as the sun peaked out from behind the clouds but the plants and animals were happy.


These three pollinators are happily sharing two Gaillardia blooms.

I saw this brightly colored skipper butterfly for the first time in our garden. Using the Butterflies and Moths of North America website I identified it as a male Zabulon Skipper. There is a regional checklist feature on the site that allows you to get a list of butterflies in your area - down to your county - which narrows the search and makes it more manageable. It lists the butterflies by species and there is a link with photographs and details on each one.


Another common skipper is the Silver-spotted seen here on Salvia greggii.


The big butterflies were out too. This male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail was warming up on the giant elephant ear before it got to work.


The female (below) was already out floating and gliding around the garden. They are so graceful and fun to watch.


Dragonflies were racing around the garden too, most happy with the replenishment of the water supply. This one took a very brief rest; they never perch for long as they are always on the go. I used my Stokes Beginner's Guide to Dragonflies to identify this as a female Common Whitetail. It looks very similar to the twelve spotted skimmer that I also often see here.


The bees were out in mass covering themselves in pollen. This bumblebee was so heavy on one of the lower branches of the Salvia it was touching the ground.


The Russian Sage and Purple Coneflowers I have planted together is one of the bee's favorite areas.



All that work makes for thirsty bees. They even have to stop for a quick drink at the bird bath too.



Summer is a time for the spring babies to grow and we are seeing plenty of them in the garden. Lots of juvenile Eastern Fence Lizards scurry around in the rocks and walls throughout our garden.


The once upon a time tadpoles that we had in our pond all spring and most of summer are now tiny toads.  They are using the protection of the weeds near the pond as a safe haven. Good news for me, I have the perfect excuse not to weed this area of the garden.

Every time I walk near the area they scurry for shelter and as small and shy as they are become a real challenge to photograph. Can you make out the teeny tiny toad?


I hope the rain is finding you where ever you are! Most of the U.S. is in dire need of rainfall. For now our garden is over joyed with the recent 1.5 inches of rain we received over the weekend.

17 comments:

  1. Hey Karin, great photos. Can't believe you got that Dragonfly at rest. I never catch them other than flying around. We got some rain too. Don't know how much yet.

    Cher Sunray Gardens

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  2. Love your pollinator pictures, as well as your reptile and amphibian. Yes, rain does make everyone happy. It would sure make me happy if we got some today!

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  3. I'm so glad you finally got some rain. :o) There's a chance of rain today and we really need it. I love your wildlife pictures. I'm rotten at capturing wildlife on film. The picture of the bee drinking is amazing!!

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  4. thanks for the wonderful butterfly link..Already identified a buckeye larvae on my toadflax. We got 1/2" last night. Yea!!! At least this front will break the heat, a little bit.

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  5. Good to hear the rain came. It certainly made for some happy and photogenic critters. Nice captures, Karin. We really got a storm yesterday and it was much needed.

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  6. I always love your photography and these are SO beautiful. I especially love the thirsty bee and the cheeky looking lizard ;-)

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  7. Brief downpour of a .05 inches today. We need so much more but we are not getting the storms. But the pollinators and butterflies are still around although not in great numbers. I love that website and use it as well. Fabulous photos Karin!

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  8. We have so many juvenile skinks and blue tailed lizards and fence lizards...they are so tiny!!
    That picture of the individual bee drinking is amazing! Great shot of the group of them drinking as well.
    Wonderful photos, glad you have good reference books... between you and Randy I know all the winged creatures will be IDed. ;-)

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  9. We've had more than our fair share of rain in the UK this year. Wish we had more butterflies. Yours are fantastic.

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  10. Karin, how lucky having rain and storms!! today here for the first day in more than three months we are having three (literally) drops of rain, but it's Mediterranean summer, so should be otherwise and hopefully we will have August storms, I love your shots showing micro life!

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  11. Karin, you have a gift for capturing the little creatures in great shots! I agree--rain makes all the difference. The water, and also all the natural minerals from rainwater are blessing my garden now. It looked horrible in July, and now it looks lush an healthy again. :)

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    1. So glad to hear that your garden is revived. When we visited Michigan in July everything was very brown and parched. It is really amazing what most plants can endure!

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  12. What great captures! I love how all the birds here seem to come out whenever it is barely drizzling. They enjoy a soft rain so much in all this heat!

    Thanks for the butterfly id tool - I am constantly trying to identify things!

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  13. Glad to hear you got rain. I feel so blessed to be living in one of the few states that is not in a drought... You have much more patience than I do for identifying butterflies - I always get overwhelmed when I try. I recognize the silver-spotted skipper. I used to see those all the time in my old garden. Thanks for the ID!

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  14. We had some rain as well, but the garden is so parched that the benefits seem short lived. I will probably have to water again today. I did not realize their was a difference in Swallowtail butterflies until I saw your pictures. The female has much more blue. I am not sure I have ever seen a skipper before. Now I will have to watch out for them in the garden. Thanks Karin for the link to the butterfly site. I bookmarked it.

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    1. I think you will find the site very useful. Skippers are often overlooked because they are much smaller and less colorful but they really are fun to watch.

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  15. Fantastic photos of all the life going on in the garden. We are finally getting a soaking rain. I'm looking forward to seeing the goings on in my garden after the rain.

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"Don't wait for someone to bring you flowers. Plant your own garden and decorate your soul"

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