I'll start with a few photos from about a month ago--over at the little stormwater retention pond I've been visiting frequently this summer. I finally got a good picture of one of the little frogs before it leapt into the water (leopard frog? I think). This guy was really tiny but you can't tell it from this picture......
How about now? Same frog with an oak leaf for better size definition.
I also got this nice picture of an Eastern Comma Butterfly (summer form). This butterfly was loving the moist mud at the edge of the pond.It's hard to get pictures of them as they sit and continually flap their wings--I just keep snapping away and eventually I'm lucky enough to get the shot when its wings are open all the way.
One night last week while doing the dishes, I glanced out the window and there was the Cooper's Hawk--sitting right on the edge of the ground feeding tray (this is the same tray my night-time deer eat corn from). Occasionally I'll see the Cooper's Hawk swoop through the yard and sometimes even find little piles of feathers from a bird it has killed, but I was really delighted to see this one land and sit still long enough for me to snap some (less than ideal) pictures through the window screen. Judging by the color of the breast feathers and dark orange-appearing eye, I'm calling this bird an adult.
My, what big ears you have!!We saw this little fawn last Saturday night in a hayfield in Fillmore County.
I've started saving water from the air conditioner that I've always previously let run down the drain. I get from 3-4 of these jugs every day and with 8 birdbaths around the yard, this really saves on running water from the tap, plus it's much easier to carry a couple of jugs than the big bucket of water I used to fill from the outside faucet.
When I got home from work this afternoon, I noticed something with black wings flying around in the Swallowtail Ranch jar. "Hmmm, that seems odd, those wings are too small for a swallowtail," I thought to myself.
Upon closer inspection, I realized it wasn't a butterfly at all, but a wasp! How disappointing. This is one of the parasitic wasps (Trogus species). When I found this swallowtail caterpillar and put it in the "ranch" it was almost completely full grown. Here's what my Kaufman Field Guide to insects says about these wasps: "All are internal parasites of caterpillars but emerge as adult wasps from the pupa of the host." Yuck!! The field guide even shows a picture of one of these wasps emerging from the pupa of a swallowtail butterfly. The other swallowtail caterpillar I found was much smaller (the green cocoon you can see in the picture). I hope that one didn't become a victim of one of these wasps too, but I'll find out for sure if (and when) the butterfly emerges from this green cocoon.