Monday, July 20, 2020



I said I wouldn't raise Monarchs this year, but two things made me change my mind. 
  • Many reports of population decline 
  • A visitor left a lot of eggs in my yard
This made me feel like it's my civic duty to try to help out Mother Nature.
I may have been mistaken in thinking that starting with eggs only would side-step the threat of T-fly. Folks online tell me that is still possible but reduced chance.

July 19

Mama #1 
First Monarch spotted in our yard, possibly the first Monarch of the year for me.
This lovely Swamp Milkweed was transplanted less than a year ago from Dad's, and it's doing great with wonderful flowers. My Common Milkweed patch (started from seed) is two years old I think, but still not flowering.
After taking this picture I decided to look for eggs and found 33 (a few of which came not from this Swamp MW but the Common patch on the North side of the house).
I decided to rinse them in bleach solution to prevent OE but when I got to the last one it was already eating his way out of the egg. No rinse for that one.

July 20

 Mama #2, I think I can safely say a different individual.

 No doubt about it, that's a recent egg. I was all over that plant yesterday, you can see where I cut an egg out of the leaf so no way could I have missed this one!

 Here she is laying on the top side of the leaf which seems to happen less often.

 Laying eggs in the flowers is new to me.

 I thought this was the common approach, to lay the egg under the leaf.

 How many eggs can you see in this shot? I see five but collected six from this flower. Egg number 5 is barely visible, one nodule to the right of the top one. It's a combined image BTW, for depth of field.

I certainly didn't notice this one yesterday (on Swamp) but that doesn't mean it wasn't there. Sorry for lack of scale, but very very small. 6-1/2 hours later I put him at 4mm, virtually the same as the first hatchling (now roommates).

July 23, new close-up lens for Canon SX60 Powershot.

Here you can see the caterpillar in the egg. 
Probably chew it's way out in the next hour or so. 
Note: I watched until 12:15am but of course nothing happened.

July 24

Some of today's finds.

July 27

High-tech coupling of Dick Tracy two-way wrist radio with lens from (probably) an 8mm movie projector. I was surprised at the results (next four shots/video)

The egg on the left was deposited a couple of days ago on parsley, by the Black Swallowtail I pictured that day. The egg on the right is a Monarch-to-be.

These are two separate individuals, side by side with the same millimeter scale. I suspect the top one is but a day old, the bottom maybe four.

When they get fat enough to outgrow their skin, they shed it. The face plate pops off.

Lens mount upgrade!

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Summer '20 Part 1

Some recent 2020 stuff for my non-FB friends process...

July 24  night sky fun.

 Lame attempt at comet selfie. Thanks for focus help Dan!

Best I could do with Saturn

July 15, Comet Neowise with meteor? From Michael J. Kirwan dam, Wayland Ohio. I like that hint of green. This was my first time on third attempt to spot it.

Same night, three shots combined and boosted in lame attempt to get more tail detail.

Sometimes on warm days we see birds sunbathing. That's what I call it anyway.

July 14, a little after 10pm. Also from MJK dam, after failing to spot the comet.

July 13, about 11pm
I wouldn't have known Jupiter was in opposition if Marianna Choleva Jones hadn't "pulled my coat" to it. Due to trees I had to go all the way to the end of the driveway for this.  All four Galilean moons in view.

July 13, Ruby-throated Hummingbird

July 12, Hibiscus, slightly manipulated (combined for depth-of-field)

July 9, part of the Carolina Wrens On The Porch saga. Video of this exists but I haven't developed it yet. Stay tuned.

July 5, start of the Carolina Wrens On The Porch saga. 

July 5, only one of us needs to be focused here.

July 1.  No shortage of Catbird photo-ops lately. Today's not the first fledgling sighting but first time I saw both parents and kid simultaneously. Here the youngster strikes an odd pose.

June 28. Ma Bluebird sitting on 2nd clutch eggs. I was amused at the way her chin feathers came down so far over the edge of the hole.

June Phoebe nest in our porch. 
(Animated GIF. Real video below.)

I believe this is one of the Phoebe parents.

How did the Catbird get it's name? 
Note: this is not the only thing they say, by a long shot.

June 16, this Killdeer nested in the middle of a friend's driveway. Above animation shows it pretending to be injured in an attempt to lead me away from the nest (below).

May 29, Red-bellied Woodpecker sunbathing.

May 21, releasing the gorgeous newly eclosed Cecropia moth.
Backstory on my Cecropia blog page.

May 13, Orchard Oriole, rare sighting for me.
I believe this is a young male Orchard Oriole. Got a better pic eventually, but where is it?