Creating a wildlife haven one plant at a time

Friday, October 26, 2012

Some Autumn Blooms, Folliage and Predators

October has been pretty darn spectacular. Its essence has really shown through in all the beautiful blooms and foliage. Mornings have been brisk with sunshine warming up to gorgeous days. Fall is definitely in the air.

The Ryan's Pink Chrysanthemum are at peak right now and really brightening up the garden. I can see them out my kitchen window and they are really putting on a show.




The Swamp sunflowers (Helianthus angustifolius) are still going strong. Towering over 6 feet high they tend to fall over with heavy winds and/or rain. They are now leaning amongst the sumac which are just beginning to change into their fall coat.


We are still seeing the stray Monarch and a good number of Cloudless Sulphurs fluttering through the garden on their way to warmer winter climates.


Painted Ladies, various skippers, Buckeye, Checkerspots and Gulf Fritillary are still busy in the garden. Some mornings they are slow to rise with the onset of the cooler temperatures making it even more important to have good spots for them to perch and warm themselves near nectar plants. We even spotted a hummer this weekend at the Pineapple Sage. I am keeping the feeders up for those stragglers.


The purple coneflowers are still putting out some blooms and look pretty with a touch of dew on them in the morning.

This week I spotted some downy asters growing at the edge of the empty lot next door.


 The pollinators are all abuzz over these gorgeous blooms.




The red-tailed hawks have been frequenting the garden. We observed one eying a chipmunk the other morning. They had an altercation under the stalks of the Chrysanthemum but we believe the chipmunk escaped down one of its tunnels that was conveniently located behind the plant. There was a lot of tussling going on but the hawk came out empty handed.

We also spotted a hawk on the shepherds hook of one of the bird feeders (he must of been feeling really cheeky). That time it caught something moving amongst the azaleas. It was difficult to see what it caught as I was focused on grabbing my camera. This shot was taken through our embarrassingly dirty windows. Even zooming in on this shot I can't make out was caught. Typically they like going after the mourning doves. Probably a little more meat on them than the songbirds.


The foliage is just starting to show signs of change in our garden so we took a ride to the North Georgia Mountains the other weekend to take in the colors of autumn. This was the road coming down from Brasstown Bald, Georgia's highest peak at 4,784 feet. It was very foggy at the top so we didn't get a view of the mountains on this trip.


A final note: I have been very busy with several volunteer obligations these past few weeks. There are some big events coming up that need my attention and sadly they have kept me away from our garden and reading all your wonderful posts. Hopefully I will be back to reading and commenting soon.

36 comments:

  1. Such a beautiful look at Fall in your garden and the trees in your area. The hawk is a good capture and they rarely lose a battle for small rodent food. One almost got Gilbert the squirrel in the pear tree in my garden to a red tailed. I think if I did not rush outside, I would have seen Gilbert airborne. I know the hawks need to eat, but you get so used to seeing the same garden critters. My little chipmunk, Chipper, is gone and I think a cat got him. Do you have a nice relationship with your resident chipmunks? Most gardeners don't like them. I am guessing you like them from all the cute images you have of them.

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    1. I think the chipmunks are so cute and we have LOTS of them. My dogs spend their days watching them through the windows and as soon as I open the door they are off like lightning bolts trying to catch them. I can only image the chipmunks little hearts pounding. I have hundreds of holes throughout the garden. We call them their escape pods. The chipmunks have killed several plants over the years from their hole digging under or too near the plants but that is all part of living in harmony with the wildlife. They even made a hole in the grass which my husband filled with rocks so they would tunnel a different way. Needless to say it didn't work out so well because they just took out all the rocks and left them in a pile in the grass. They are so comical! Sorry to hear about Chipper.

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  2. Your garden looks lovely, what with all the flowers and wildlife. I have not seen Monarchs in weeks, but I do see the Cloudless Sulphurs around. We have a few chipmunks around, and the hawks eye those as well as the birds. Your fall scenes are lovely. We are just now reaching our peak, and I am glad it has been lovely weather this autumn.

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    1. It has been a very gorgeous fall. The leaves have come on rather quickly in the last week. We have been having September like weather and next week it will be more like December. I wonder how all the blooms will look after our first severe temperature dip. And, I haven't even gotten my bulbs in yet.

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  3. You did well to capture the hawk! By the time I grab my camera the birds have long gone (note to self: must keep memory card in camera!). The flowers are lovely and the fall picture is WOW!!

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    1. Me too, I never seem to have my camera handy, the right lens or battery charged when the shot presents itself. But we keep on trying.

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  4. The hawks and other hunting birds always create a lot of excitement when they appear. There is a red tailed hawk in our area. Sometimes he perches on the Siberian elm right in front of our back porch.

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    1. I bet you enjoy watching your hawk. They are such fascinating, beautiful birds!

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  5. Love that shot of color on the mountain road. Gorgeous! Thanks for sharing when you can.

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    1. Thanks Ellen! The leaves are finally starting to turn in my garden. More photos coming soon.

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  6. This is one of your most amazing posts, Karin--starting out with the lovely Ryan's Pink Mums! Wow, that color is so unique! The shots of the pollinators are fantastic, and the view on the road in the Georgia mountains is stunning!

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    1. Awww, thank you! I really look forward to the mums each fall! Their color really is nice against the fallen leaves plus the bees love them!

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  7. That picture of the hawk is amazing! I know it's sad that they must kill something to eat, but they have to eat, too. The view of the trees on the mountains is glorious!

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    1. I enjoy watching the birds of prey. They can sit still for so long to stalk their next meal. Plus they usually take out the weakest birds or rodents. Whenever I spot them close enough to get a good shot I don't have my camera handy so this was the best I could do. I'll keep trying.

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  8. Beautiful fall colors Karin, I love it. I was going to take our hummingbird feeders down, maybe I will leave them up for a little longer. We have had a large number of skippers and fritillaries in the garden, not many others.
    The hawk picture is amazing. wow! I know we have chipmunks but they are so secretive, only seen them once in the couple years here.

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    1. I am surprised you don't see many chipmunks. We see them dashing around the garden all day long. I keep my feeders up for a long time into winter always hoping that maybe, just maybe a rufous hummer will winter in my garden.

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  9. Can't even tell that photo was through a window, that hawk is beautiful. How lucky to see him around your garden even if he is hunting.

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    1. Yes, we are happy to have those predators around, just wish they would control the vole population.

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  10. Karin my latest post had helianthus as well...your garden is spectacular with its blooms and critters....I am living a longer fall through your lovely images.

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  11. I love the swamp sunflowers - they are so spectacular in bloom! That is exciting to see the hawk! I hope they focus some of their efforts on your voles! The photo of fall in the mountains is so pretty. I like the fog behind the trees as well.

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    1. The swamp sunflowers had buds for the longest time. I thought they would never bloom but when they did, WOW! Thankfully they are still blooming for the bees! And, I am always hopeful that the birds of prey make a dent in the vole population!

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  12. The colors are fast disappearing here with all the rains. We are well ahead of you in heading into winter. It is nice to pause and appreciate the fall moments you have captured so nicely Karin. I love the shot of the butterfly on the aster. Hawks are fascinating creatures, aren't they? It is rare to see them photographed sitting on the ground where they are as vulnerable on the ground as their prey is.

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    1. We had several days of strong wind as a result of Sandy and sadly it blew many of the leaves off the trees. I will just have to enjoy what little is left!

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  13. This post is just beautiful, Karin. This time of year is so special and there is so much beauty to capture. I imagine you feel as I do that you just need to keep your camera strapped to your side anytime you walk out the door. Just never know what you're going to see! Thanks for sharing all this fall goodness. The foliage is AMAZING. My husband asked yesterday if I'd like to drive out to Lost Maples to see some color. YES, of course, I said! We've been here almost 30 years and never been out there. People make reservations a year in advance so we'll have to just drive out and hope to see the park. We are going to go early on a week day to hopefully avoid the possibility of being turned away. Have you been?

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    1. Cat, I am looking forward to seeing your photos from Lost Maples. We have never been. I hope you have a wonderful day and lots of photo ops.

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  14. Beautiful shots of your fall flowers (mums are among my favorites !), and foliage - ours is long done so we've escaped down south. Great captures of the bee, butterfly and the hawk.

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    1. Thanks Rick! Sounds like you are enjoying your warmer surroundings!

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  15. I found your blog accidently and was taken with the clarity and quality of your photographs, could you tell me what camera and lens you are using - especially for the butterfly at the top.

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    1. Paulinec, so glad that you visited! I use a Nikon D80. I used a telephoto lens (70-300mm) for the header shot. I usually use this lens when photographing butterflies because if I get to close they flutter away. I hope you will come back and visit again!

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  16. It is so nice to see the colors and activity in the garden. Here in Michigan, we are in the grey days of late autumn. I hope your projects go well and I look forward to your new posts when you have the time.

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    1. Thanks Mary! After this next week I should be able to breath again and spend some time in the garden. I saw some photos of Lake Michigan with some incredible waves from Sandy. Where you impacted?

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  17. Your fall garden is beautiful! My son was accepted to North Georgia State College and I fell in love with that area when we went to visit. When he decided to go into the Army instead of college, I thought I'd probably never be able to go back to that beautiful area. But thanks to your blog, I'm back! Thanks!!

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    1. It fills my heart with joy that my photos transported you back to North Georgia. It really is a beautiful part of the country, especially in fall. Glad you have fond memories!

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  18. Congrats on the hawk pic!
    I've been seeing hawks recently, but none are posing for me... I consider myself lucky to get a glimpse as they fly away...
    I think it's the cool temps, that is causing my birds to fly away as soon as I spot them.

    Beautiful pic of the ryan's pink, I need to shoot mine, I've been so busy shooting the wildflowers, that I've over-looked the garden plants...

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  19. Thankyou for sharing some lovely autumnal photos.

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  20. If it weren't because the images are about mums, I would say they are from spring. Lovely. I am too wuite taken by work and do not have much time to read and interact with you blogger family, I am hoping for a more relaxed season.

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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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