Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Wildlife Wednesday, the debut

Thanks to Tina Huckabee at My Gardener Says..., there is now a Wildlife Wednesday meme--the first Wednesday of the month is dedicated to photos and description of the animal kingdom visitors who grace our gardens.

Since this is the debut, I'll post the few pics of wildlife I've captured over the past year or so. I'm no great photographer, and I probably only manage to capture one or two wildlife sightings out of ten. But I'll do my best to collect them in this post. I'm no champ and identifying them either, but this will be a good motivator for me to learn.

See the little guy hiding behind the trellis, on the horizontal fence board? I believe he's a Texas Spiny Lizard, Sceloporus olivaceus. We've seen this guy or his relatives several times over the years, particularly in hot weather, and most often clutching a window screen--we've often had the belly view from inside the house. Wise little guy, he tends to favor brushy spots where he can easily hide.





Here's what I think might be a Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar (Papilio glaucus). He was scaling a tomato vine, which isn't one of his host plants, but maybe he had wandered over there from the remains of the fennel, or perhaps the carrot greens.
Correction: This is much more likely a Tomato Hornworm, which partially explains why my tomato plant took a turn for the ugly. Thanks for catching this, Tina!



Earlier this year, I snapped a photo of a large Crookneck Squash blossom, with itty bitty ants crawling all over it.  I didn't know whether or not they were beneficial, so I assumed they were either beneficial or harmless and let them be. This webpage seems to support that theory.


These two butterfly photos are from last year. The black one is a Pipevine Swallowtail, Battus philenor (with some pretty blue at the bottom of its wings, if you take a close look). The orange-and-black one is an American Lady, Vanessa virginiensis. Thanks to Tim Jones at Ground Truth Investigations for helping me identify them last year.


Of course, my wildlife post wouldn't be complete without a shot of one of the several resident Anole lizards, Anolis carolinensis. These little guys (and gals) have been occupants of our garden, probably long before we were. They seem to enjoy the deck--we think they might live under there--and they show up on the walls behind our flower and veggie beds all the time. We see them in brown, green and sometimes even a plum purple color, and sometimes we get to watch them change. We see their babies in the spring. We've always been fond of these little lizards.

10 comments:

  1. I love those spiny lizards. I've never had them at my home, but they were in the Green Garden at ZBG and I think they're so cute. Check out this site: http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/CoopExt/4DMG/Pests/tomato.htm Could that be similar to or even the worm in your photo? The segmentation that is typical of the tom hornworm isn't usually on the Tiger Swallowtail larvae. This site shows the Tiger Swallowtail: http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Papilio-glaucus

    Your butterfly photos are great--those can be hard to find.

    All the best for you and your family for the next few weeks/months!

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  2. Ooh, good catch on the Tomato Hornworm! I bet that's what it was. Ugh!

    Thanks for your kind wishes! I'll keep you posted. :)

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    1. I've squished a few of those in my life. Ewe!

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  3. I am a big fan of spiny lizards, too. I think they are wonderful. Love all these photos but that BLUE flower is SO blue. wow.

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    2. Thanks for stopping by! Those blue flowers are on the plumbagos--possibly the lowest maintenance, highest yield plant in my garden. I can't take credit for what they do. Several species of butterfly seem to like them, too.

      Your blog is beautifully photographed and well-written. I love the personality profiles of each animal.

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  4. Beautiful swallowtail! Your plumbago blooms look wonderful, too!

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    1. Thanks so much! I enjoyed seeing and reading about the little guys in your garden, too. Happy WW!

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  5. That swallowtail on the plumbago is calendar worthy - great catch! As many anoles as I see here I rarely if ever see any spiny lizards. It is good to see they're around even if not in my spaces. I'm so pleased you threw in for Wildlife Wednesday. The more the merrier, yes? I'm betting we can all help each other out with identification assists and information about the many visitors we all get in our outdoor spaces.

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  6. Thanks, Deb! Yes, I think this is going to be a great learning experience, which will enhance our enjoyment of gardening and relationships with these critters.

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