Posts Tagged ‘female’

Visiting Coopers Hawk

There’s nothing like a close-up seat for viewing a visiting bird.

This visitor was a female Cooper’s hawk.

The females are bigger than the males.

This one spent time checking for any visitors in the yard.

Apparently, the large oak tree across the highway was the main tree magnet.

This last picture was taken after the clouds thinned later in the  afternoon.

Blue Dasher

The numbers of butterflies and dragonflies were extremely low in southern Illinois last summer.

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I think this dragonfly was a male blue dasher.

I don’t need a name to enjoy things I find. Just the discovery and observations are enough … plus taking pictures if it cooperates.

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This widow skimmer landed right in front of me. I took this to mean it wanted in the blog too.

Dandelions

It’s obvious why there are so many dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) around the yard.

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Each flowerhead produces a LOT of seeds …

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with a little help from the insects.

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Wind disperses the

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the parachute – like seeds.

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Each dandelion flowerhead contains both female and male flowers.

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Dandelions don’t actually need wind or insects to pollinate the flowers. If you look close at a female flower and follow it down, you’ll see that they each of them is in a tube. The tube is the male flower. So, the female flower becomes pollinated as it grows out through the male flower.

The Return of the Groundhogs

Foxes and groundhogs have both denned under our barn in past years.  I was beginning to worry that neither would den here this year.

The female groundhog moved in about two weeks ago and suns often.

We saw the male for the first time earlier this afternoon — March tenth. Its fur is darker than hers. Neither me nor my husband had seen a dark one like this one.

A Passing Spicebush Swallowtail

So few butterflies have visited our backyard this summer. Their numbers have been the lowest I’ve ever seen.

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So, I got excited when a spicebush swallowtail flew across our backyard on its way south. It didn’t stop.

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Our yard’s been full of them at times over the years … them and many other butterfly species too.

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A butterfly in an odd position usually means it’s in the clutches of a predator.

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In this case it was a female crab spider.

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Females are much bigger than the males.

Crab spiders have the ability to change color to match the color of the flower they’re on. Obviously, this one hadn’t changed yet. I have no idea how long the change takes.

Dragonflies in the Yard

So far the butterflies are almost nonexistent this summer. I could probably count all I’ve seen on one hand.

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So, I’ve switched to dragonflies instead. Their numbers are relatively low. At least they’re in the yard.

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Male widow skimmer

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This is another widow skimmer. It’s fresher than the one above. This was the only angle it cooperated for.

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Female widow skimmer

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Halloween pennant — it’s the first I’ve seen this summer.

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I have yet to identify the dragonfly above and the one below.

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It’s like I’ve said before, I don’t need a name to enjoy the find.

Pair Widow Skimmers

Dragonfly numbers have been low so far this year.

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This female widow skimmer is one of the few I’ve photographed this summer.

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The male widow skimmer landed right in front of me. Their range covers most of the U.S. except out west from Montana down to Nevada and Utah.

I hope dragonfly numbers increase in our yard.

A Dragonfly Surprise

I took a few minutes to walk around the backyard, looking for any new visitors.

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The male widow skimmer dragonflies have been hanging around in my two small gardens. I didn’t see this other visitor until I got the pictures in the computer. There’s a tiny red mite on the dragonfly’s side. Two other skimmers also had a mite on them.

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  The males have the yellow stripe on their abdomen like the females do. The female widow skimmers lack the white patch on their forewings, and the male’s abdomen will turn a powder blue.

 

Staying Close to Home

Only one groundhog has been in our yard for over a month.

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It looked like it was greeting the sun on this morning.

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Now that the weather’s cooled off considerably, the groundhog spends more time basking in the afternoon sun.

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It ventures out only to eat.

My husband said this one is a female. They’re much smaller than the males.

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Here are two pictures that were taken several years ago.

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 The tangled-vine area still exists and probably remains a good food source.

Resident or Crossing Through?

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It seems like I walk up to an eastern box turtle in the yard every spring.

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It remained calm and posed for pictures.

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Male box turtles have red eyes and the females have brown. So, this is a female.

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Counting the rings on a scute (plate) will give the approximate age of the turtle. So, this one appears to be 8-10 years old.

I once watched a female digging a hole with her hind legs to lay her eggs in. I was camping that night. She worked slowly and methodically. She was still digging when I went to bed. The next morning I could hardly tell where she had been digging. Box turtles lay between 4-6 eggs, and they take roughly 3 months to hatch.