This time of year is always a good time for us to keep one eye open looking out the window. Last Sunday during our drinkiepoo, we saw a little yellowish-green bird flitting amongst the leaves of our golden currant bushes outside the living room window. I, of course, grabbed my camera. He moves so fast, and he is extremely hard to follow and focus on, but I was able to get some video. He is the Orange-Crowned Warbler, a cutie that we see around this time of year during bird migration.
So, where is the orange, you say? This little guy has an orange topknot, but like the little Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, you only get to see it if he is courting or if he is excited or scared (I guess courting and excited would be the same thing). It is very rarely ever seen, but I am hoping to one day see it. I did verify this picture with the local Audubon society expert, so that’s definitely who he is.
Although the little warbler was just passing through, we have also begun to see some of the visitors that we have here only during the winter. The Biker-Helmet Sparrows (officially known as White-Crowned Sparrows) have descended upon us. I believe the one in this video below with the brown-striped head is a juvenile.
Speaking of sparrows, it appears that we had a population explosion over the summer. We have noticed all summer long that we had a bigger group of sparrows under our feeder that we used to have. We’ve decided that it is because we kept our seed feeders up all last winter, instead of just putting out suet. It paid off in unprecedented numbers of the cute little guys hopping around. (video below has been sped-up)
We were also very happy to see a large group of quail under our feeder, at least for a couple of days. We haven’t seen many quail this summer, but it was obvious with this group that they were Mom, Dad, and the Kids. (I had to take this video through the blinds so they wouldn’t see me and scatter.)
I’m keeping my eyes peeled for other migrants around here. I don’t know if this picture below shows a migratory butterfly or not. Since this butterfly is common throughout the Western U.S., it may be a local resident. I have seen this fellow before, but I always thought it was a Painted Lady butterfly, which has similar coloring but a different pattern. When I looked it up and compared this picture, it turns out that this is a Mormon Fritillary butterfly. It was good to see another butterfly going to my buddlea bush, since the Tiger Swallowtail butterflies reached the end of their life cycle a couple weeks ago. In the picture below you can see the butterfly’s proboscis (the long tube the butterfly uses to suck up nectar).
A WELCOME RELIEF
We finally had some rain at our house this past Friday. This is the first rain that has fallen on our yard since June 16th. Not only did it give our plants some natural water, it also cleared out some of the smoke from the air, so we were able to breathe more easily for a few days.
If there are any thoughts that we have a ways to go before Fall arrives, this picture below of a golden currant leaf will dispel that notion. It looks like a purse, to me.
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Summer Girl sure does love her toys. The other morning while Linda and I were having our coffee, she was stretched out on the rug, right beside her little catnip slug. She has played with that thing so much that it is starting to look a bit shabby. Maybe Santa will bring her a new one this Christmas (if she’s a good girl…I know, it’s a stretch but we can hope).