Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Wildlife Wednesday June 2016

Wildlife in the garden during May brought a couple of special butterfly sightings and a few other amusing wildlife antics.  Wildlife Wednesday hosted by Tina at "My Gardener Says..." presents bloggers an opportunity to share wildlife in the garden on the first Wednesday of each month.

Butterfly identification can be challenging as with this striking white butterfly.  At first I thought it was a Cabbage White Butterfly, but it lacked the dark edge on the forewing and has distinctive bands instead of spots.  After searching I'm going with male Checkered White Butterfly (Pontia protodice) which is so much better since Cabbage White Butterflies are not native.  Interestingly, they both use members of the cabbage and mustard family as host plants.  I could not find any information to confirm whether these butterflies consume the invasive weed Rapistrum rugosum or Bastard Cabbage which has been decimating our native wildflower fields.

Beautiful standout against native wildflowers Indian Blanket (Gaillardia pulchella) and Lemon Beebalm (Monarda citriodora).   Checkered White Butterflies also enjoy garden favorites such as Lantana.

Another checkered butterfly appeared in the May garden, but it was less cooperative in spreading its wings.  It may be a Common Checkered Skipper (Pyrgus communis) but could be a female Checkered White.

Let's try something more obvious.  Monarch on Rosemary?  Not their usual nectar or egg-laying source so perhaps it's a nice high perch for searching out more appropriate plants in the garden.

Monarch on Brazilian Rock Rose, another non-native perch!

And finally, on native Greenthread.  Plenty of Monarch sightings early in May but most of them have moved on to cooler territory by early June.

Colorful Tarantula Hawk Wasp which really does hunt tarantulas.  We have seen tarantulas on several occasions and enjoy having them.

It turned sideways on a bit of ball moss giving me the chance to see its underside which can usually be challenging except on a screen or window.

I've seen these in the garden before so the hunting must be good.

Hello there, Paper Wasp.

I had been thinking of building a bug hotel until I spotted wasps going in and out of the holes in this limestone rock.  It seems they found their own spot.  There's a nest in there, I'm not getting any closer to move those sticks so just take my word for it.

Bees have been busy in the garden.

So covered with pollen I sometimes wonder how they fly.


Not enough information to ID this nearly invisible tiny bee (or fly?) on a Greenthread.  Still, I admire all their hard work in the garden.  Pollinators welcome!

Golden-fronted Woodpecker checking out the hummingbird feeder.

Woodpeckers have such sweet tooth they can drain a hummingbird feeder in no time.

Anoles love to claim high spots in the garden like this pole.  The "dewlap" is used to impress a mate or establish territory.

In more amusing animal antics I watched a squirrel try to climb a palm tree at Chris Park a few weeks ago.

Accustomed to squirrels zipping up, down, and across trees in a flash, it was interesting to observe this painstaking challenge.  It took a while so I walked around a bit more.

When I returned, success and a moment of confusion.  Now what?

These pregnant doe have been delivering their fawns for the last few weeks.   Soon the fawns will turn up to begin eating everything in sight until they learn their own tastes.  Now with the fence up I can enjoy seeing them without concern for my plants.

Join Tina and other bloggers at "My Gardener Says..." to see fascinating wildlife posts from bloggers around the world.


  1. I had to laugh when you mentioned about the challenge of identifying butterflies--I groan to myself when I see skippers. IF I can get a decent shot, THEN I have to identify. Not always fun. :) That said, your butterfly shots were great--I'm glad you had plenty of Monarchs. I had a couple that zoomed through here, but that was about it. I love the series of photos of the Tarantula Hawk. I've never seen one--handsome devils! And the Golden-fronted woodpecker!! I get Downies and Red-bellied, but never the Golden. So pretty. I'll bet you're glad about that fence and the fenced-off darling deer. :) Thanks for joining in--it was a treat.

  2. That's a beautiful WW post! I've never seen a woodpecker feeding at a hummingbird feeder! Wow, great captures. They are so fun to see at the suet feeder, though. Fabulous photos all the way around!

  3. Great photos (as usual)! I'm surprised to see that woodpeckers are as clever at manipulating bird feeders as the squirrels. The photo of the anole is a particularly good shot.

  4. Lovely photos. I love the ones of the squirrel. He's cute!

  5. A woodpecker at the hummingbird feeder came as a surprise to me. I had no idea! Loved all your butterfly photos. I think you got it right with the Checkered White ID. I hope you get to see the fawns soon.

  6. Gosh that's a great suite of butterfly photos! Been so wet here I haven't had a chance to see what is out and about over the last week.

  7. Your wildlife shots are always great. I didn't know that woodpeckers had a sweet tooth. They never visit my humming bird feeders. Wait, what? Tarantulas? You are talking about the big hairy spiders, right? I don't know if I'd be too happy to reach down to pull weeds and grab one of those instead.

    1. Texas Tarantulas are very mellow, non-poisonous and a bite would be rare. They are a bit fuzzy on the hand, it wasn't uncommon for pesky boys to carry one around to scare us with when I was growing up.

  8. Wow Shirley you have a diverse array of butterflies and Downy woodpeckers really love my oriole feeder...sweet tooth, absolutely!


  9. Lovely post and wonderful photos Shirley, every time I read your WW posts, I am reminded to try a video, yours are always good fun to watch. I notice you say you do not mind the Tarantulas, they are not a creature found here, unless they come in with a shipment of bananas and some poor person finds one with their shopping and then thats guaranteed to make the headlines. Your Tarantula Hawk Wasp is very beautiful as are your Butterflies, I find identifying tricky too, there are so many subtle variations in many of the species. A little envious you have fawns so close, I bet they make your heart melt.

  10. Great collection of wildlife photos. I did not know that the Cabbage White butterflies are not native. That is one more reason not to be a fan of them. I have not seen very many butterflies yet this year. It may be because it seems like it is raining all of the time these days.

    1. Cabbage White is the only introduced butterfly in the US. Sometimes the Checkered White is called "Southern Cabbage Butterfly" but they are different.

  11. We have a wasp that hunts our rain spiders (which are related to your tarantulas).
    Both wasp and spider look very much like yours.


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