Welcome to my "Florida" blog

Being a third generation Florida native, I'm completely enamored with the diverse beauty of this gorgeous peninsula. For most of the year the weather is divine which makes exploring its unlimited nooks and crannies fun and easy.

Wherever I go I appreciate nature and the world around me. Come along with me as I share the places I visit and perhaps a few other amusements I find interesting along the way.

(FYI: Every post prior to January 1, 2009 was previously published and imported from my garden blog)

Friday, June 27, 2008

A Day for Critters


Monarch on Zinnia

It was an all-dayer in the garden getting caught up from being away last week. When I walked out the door this morning at 7:30 it was my intention to do a few things around the garden and be finished around noon. After all it is miserably hot these days and one would be crazy to work all day in this heat.

Skipper? I can't settle on an ID for this one. Any one?

Turns out there was not a good stopping point and it was after 6:00 when I put my tools away. During the day I kept seeing so many butterflies and critters. Finally I thought to start taking some photos. In the end there was quite a variety- all in my garden - all today.

Not sure what this tiny fellow might be. Have never seen one that I know of... Couldn't even tell it had the unique orange stripe until I looked at the photo... with the naked eye the whole bug appeared to be light tan. It flies quickly and is so small on the leaf of the indigo spire it almost looked like a speck.

Another Monarch on Zinnia


This poor little hairstreak has been tattered and lost its red spot. I think it is a Gray Hairstreak. Funny thing about battle-marked wings is you know when you are seeing the same butterfly later. A few hours after this shot, this very same butterfly was on this very same coneflower. I found that interesting.

A very small --about 1/4 of an inch-- green grasshopper. I wonder how big this type gets and how much damage they are responsible for???? These are not the kind I seek and destroy... I came across no less that 6 of these Easter Lubber variety today. They are 3-4 inches long and can take down an entire Amaryllis or coleus or amazon lily... the list goes on... in no time. I have no mercy on them when once spotted with my grasshopper seeking eyes.
One of my favorites the White Peacock Butterfly. It is particularly unique looking backlit here by the sunshine. Prior to landing on the confederate jasmine it had been checking out the vegetable garden in the same area.

There were also black swallowtail, giant swallowtail and cassius blues in my garden today but no luck with photos.
Gulf Fritillary on - of all things- a butterfly bush-- butterflies really do love butterfly plants. I love to watch these guys flit around in pairs... they seem to dance on the air together and then separately find different landings.


Viewer's Warning: No More Pretty Stuff
I had my camera in hand walking from the back to the front when Hubby turned my attention to the black racer coming out of the bushes over the black hose. It stopped its slithering to stare me down before turning back to the bushes it had come from. I hope it finds all the bad crawly thingies (read: Eastern Lubber grasshoppers) and eats them promptly. Mr. Racer, did you happen to notice the tree frog below? ...

No kidding... as I slammed the side garage door shut at days' end... this very creepy-looking tree frog fell onto my shoulder with a thud that made me let out a shreaky-girl-scream... then I got my camera. Always go for the photo.


I'm still working on the vacation post that will be old news by the time I get it finished. Bear with me... it's coming.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Meems,
You just popped up on my newly installed Google Reader!
Thanks for your help, again!!
Your photos are awesome as usual. Can't wait to see more vacation new :)
Now TURN OFF THE LIGHTS!!!!!
p

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

Beautiful butterflies. No frog on shoulder, bad very very bad. You recover much better than I do.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

My goodness Meems you can't ever get lonesome in your garden what with all of your friends romping about. It is a good thing that Mr Racer comes along and keeps all in check.

Arissa Mae said...

I HATE green tree frogs. H.A.T.E. Have a phobia of them that stems from my childhood. Might need therapy. One got into the house and I literally could not breathe. Panic attack. Called my husband AT WORK and made him drive ALL THE WAY HOME to get that frog out of the house before I passed out cold. Even looking at your picture gives me the heebiejeebies. (But that Gulf butterfly on the butterfly bush is a BEAUT!)

Titania said...

Meems a wonderful post with all your visitors. Your garden must be a popular spot. I love the skipper and the white peacock butterfly and the...treefrog!

garden girl said...

Meems, sounds like you had a busy day in the garden! I enjoyed seeing all your critters, even the tree frog.

I love toads and frogs. My mom has lots of tree frogs where she lives, and I love to see them climbing around on the windows at night.

mjm said...

I think I would have let out a girlish scream if a tree frog jumped on me. The frogs don't bother me near as much as the creepy, crawly, slithering thing. That definitely would cause me to do a funny little dance and scream. Nice photos by the way!

Gail said...

I loved the flying and hopping critters in your garden, well except for the big grasshopper... I even like the snake. How nice that they
all cooperated when it came time for their photo shoot. Zinnias are wonderful aren't they!

Gail

Lets Plant said...

Great pics!! I just had a racer in the yard a few weeks ago.

Nancy J. Bond said...

Meems, your photos and critters are all lovely (with the exception of the snake, perhaps -- I know they're great for the garden, but...eek!). I hope you don't have too many grasshopper visitors. :)

Cheryl said...

Hi Meems.....what a fabulous post, well a wildlife gardener would love it. Your butterflies are stunning, so colourful.
I love the frog, and he is very beautiful.
A wonderful, wonderful post thank you for sharing all your lovely bugs......

SophieMae said...

AbFab! You have gotten WAY good with that camera! One would never guess you had any trouble at all getting the hang of it. I have seen so few butterflies this year. I'm hoping for nice weather soonly, so I can run down to Mandalay and see who's there.

Your little skipper is a Duskywing, or one of its cousins. I'm hopeless at determining which - maybe Horace's or Juvenal? - and my field guide is playing hide and seek with me right now.

Glad your hairstreak escaped whatever took a bite out of him! The White Peacocks are a rare treat up here. I haven't seen one in a year or 2. Ever since Alligator Point sold out to developers... 8-(

Meems said...

P- glad you are making use of reader... makes blogging life a bit easier... I actually have been turning the lights off earlier this week... I guess to make up for last week. :-)

aunt debbi: no frog anywhere touching body, bad very bad... we are in complete agreement.

lisa: absolutely... never lonely and never bored. A little distracted maybe.

serious: don't really like to have critters in the house but we've figured out a method to capture relatively easily... Place a cup in front of the frog where it will leap inside then place a plate over the cup. Take the capture outside and release. This works well for the occasional lizard that finds its way indoors as well.

titania: thank you... definitely lots of activity these days.

Linda: the frog I feature here has those webby/sticky feet that look pretty scary... not a big fan of them but as long as they leave me alone... I'll leave them alone. We also have the bright green ones that aren't quite as large... same boudaries goes for them... I'm pretty certain they eat lots of bugs... a good thing.

mjm: admittedly I've told the story before how when we first moved here if I saw a black snake (and I did all the time) I would hunt it down and eliminate. Even though I don't make a habit of purposely hanging out with them...I finally learned to let them be... nature knows how to take care of the food chain.

gail: I have to say I have really enjoyed the zinnias... and the butterflies are especially attracted to their bright colors.

Let's plant: I always know when I see one I'll be seeing more... it makes me wonder if they take up residence or do they go from yard to yard?

Nancy: yeah... eeek is a good word... they always startle me at first and then I try to forget about it... knowing it slithered away into bushes I am continually working around. Oh those grasshoppers have been the demise of so many beautiful leaves and flower heads... I am out to get them... one by one.

cheryl: well I wouldn't say 'beautiful' frog but it's okay if you think so. :-) I just love noticing all the creatures God put in the garden.

sophie: gee thanks... I certainly have lots of fun figuring out the photo thing.

The Duskywings are a challenging bunch to ID -- I was too unsure to state it. Hope you find plenty of wings at Mandalay.

The white peacock shows up once in a while but not as often as the others featured. It is definitely a favorite!

Roses and stuff said...

Oh dear, snakes and frogs dropping down at you - what a fright! I didn't know grasshoppers could be such a pest - we don't have very many here. But the butterflies...so many lovely shots of butterflies - you're lucky there!
/Katarina

Annie in Austin said...

The tree frog is cute, but who expects one to drop from above?

I like how you used proper garden blogging procedure, Meems - scream first, then take a photo.
Or in the case of the grasshopper...first take the photo, then wisely eliminate the subject.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Meems said...

katarina: I wish away the grasshoppers daily... but it does not good ... they are quite destructive. But the butterflies make it all better!

Annie: I had been hearing a frog in the garage for a couple of weeks making its creaky froggy sounds but didn't think anything of it when I slammed the door shut. In between the door jam is where they like to squeeze in and hang out for some reason... I was in a hurry and not really thinking about frogs... glad my camera was in the garage too.

joey said...

Meems, your vistor photos are amazing! The black racer would be enough for me to hide my 'Hoe and Shovel' FOREVER! But truthfully, we live in 'their house', don't we?

Susan said...

I can't stand those lubbers either. Generally, I don't like to kill insects, but these guys are destructive!!! p.s. That's a BIG racer.

Meems said...

joey: believe me, when we first moved to this house I was pretty sqeamish about snakes... I have gotten used to them... they are definitely part of the territory in Florida.

Susan: I don't kill anything useful but the evil eastern lubber grasshoppers have no redeeming quality... they have taken all my amazon lilies down to the ground and they are fastly working on the amaryllis foliage and the spath foliage... and so many chewed chunks missing on the caladiums.Can you tell I have no mercy on them?

Welcome home.

Susie said...

Oh my goodness, I laughed when I read your post about the frog :) I love those little guys, they are so cute! I'm glad you snapped a picture of him. I have really enjoyed reading your blog- it's nice to find Florida Gardeners! I'll definitely be popping in to read more garden adventures and peek at your pictures :)

Susie

Blue Heron said...

Meems, you have the vegetation galore I would like, but mine... I cannot seem to manage! I guess I will just have to visit your blog to enjoy.

I love the critters. I have the racers, lizards, leaf hoppers and butterflies, but not documented like you. I also get sidetracked in my blog! I can learn a lot from looking at your blog. Barb
http://exploringnature.blogspot.com/