June 5th – more bluebirds

I think this is my best bird picture this year. The baby bluebirds had become bolder and coming closer to the house.

Young bluebird close up
Young bluebird close up

Eastern Towhees tend to hide in the bush most of the time, so I didn’t even realise that this was one because it was out on our short grassy area (“lawn” would be an exaggeration and an insult to the variety of plants in it) until I looked at it closer.

Eastern towhee
Eastern towhee

Here are a couple of shots of fireflies. It was really dark, so I used a long exposure to get many flashes, so the background appears much lighter than it did to the eye at the time.

Fireflies
Fireflies
Fireflies 2
Fireflies 2

 

Practising for Moth Week

Moth Week is coming up (July 19-27) so I thought I’d practise a bit.  I set up a flood light inside the window, then wait.  Since the window is a bit high from outside, I set up a pair of ladders with a thick board between them so I can move across the window.  An LED ring light provides light for photography as long as the moth is not too close to the flood the pictures are OK, but this first one was a bit too close.

Virginia Ctenucha resting
Virginia Ctenucha resting

Before it settled down, it was fluttering its wings which gave me a chance to shoot its brilliant blue abdomen, though I wasn’t able to get it in focus.  I’ll need more light outside.  That’s why I need to practise.

Virginia Ctenucha vibrating wings
Virginia Ctenucha vibrating wings

Since there are lots of sugar maples and sunset maples around the house, it’s no surprise to find Rosy Maple moths and there are enough leaves around to spare for these lovely moths.

Rosy Maple Moth
Rosy Maple Moth
Waved Sphinx Moth
Waved Sphinx Moth

I’m not sure whether the one below is exactly a Fall Webworm, but if not, closely related.

Fall Webworm
Fall Webworm

OK, not moths any more, but these formidable-looking caterpillars are from a prettier butterfly, the Mourning Cloak.  (Though I like the sound of the British name better:  Camberwell Beauty).  I haven’t seen the butterflies yet this year but I must have missed them.  A set of small willows at the end of the drive were full of these last weekend but as I was away this week I missed seeing them disappear.  There were none to be seen this weekend.  Apparently they drop off and overwinter in the leaf litter.  I’m surprised it is so soon as there were lots of leaves on the willows yet.

Mourning Cloak caterpillars
Mourning Cloak caterpillars

Even further away from moths, here’s a long exposure of the fireflies in the garden.

Fireflies
Fireflies

 

Firefly season, a Grosbeak and flowers

When I took this picture, it was pitch dark, but a long exposure (10 seconds) caught the trails made by the fireflies as they flashed their tails.  The firefly season is just starting so I hope to get some more pictures when they fill the valley with light, in a few weeks.

Firefly trails
Firefly trails

This Grosbeak arrived at our feeder today.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 1
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 2

The blackberry flowers are almost over and starting to form fruit, but this metallic green mason bee is still finding some food.

Mason bee
Mason bee on blackberry flowers

The ninebark (from Lisa) is full of flowers and they are even prettier close-up.

Golden ninebark flower
Golden ninebark flower

And I like this water lily – it has interesting marking on its leaves, which is a change from the others I have, that are all green.

Yellow water lily
Yellow water lily