Widow Skimmer Dragonfly

The wings of the Widow Skimmer Dragonfly make it one of the most uniquely colored dragonflies with such distinctive markings. The Widow Skimmer is a dragonfly (Libellula luctuosa) of the Family Libellulidae and has a beautiful brownish-blue skimmer body with black curved color patterns on their wings that extend over half its wing surface followed by a bluish-white to light-pink outer stripe and a darkening at the wing-tips. The face (or head) is usually pale yellow or brown for juveniles and females, but darkens to black in mature males and ultimately turns to powder-blue later in life.

This Widow Skimmer was photographed at the wonderful Dawes Arboretum over the July 4th weekend, with temperatures reaching the mid 90s even the dragonflies were looking for ways to cool off. Because of the excessive heat, we only spent a few hours here enjoying the Japanese Garden and the island on the lake.

Eastern Bluebird

This Eastern Bluebird is enjoying a breakfast of mealworms placed on its nestbox over Memorial Day weekend in Pennsylvania. Bluebirds are territorial, prefer open grassland with scattered trees and are cavity nesters. Bluebirds can typically produce between two and four broods during the spring and summer. We learned after our visit that this pair had laid 4 eggs, their second brood of the year.

Black Swallowtail caterpillar

While turning the soil in my wife’s garden, came across this Black Swallowtail caterpillar feasting on some parsley. The Black Swallowtail is the state butterfly of Oklahoma. Soon we may see a chrysalis on the parsley and then hopefully a butterfly. This caterpillar, along with the recent Robins hatching, goes to show that we are not alone in the world and must respect our Earth. After all, we are just visitors ourselves.

American Bullfrog

The American Bullfrog, often simply known as the Bullfrog in the United States, is an aquatic frog, a member of the family Ranidae, or “true frogs”, native to much of North America. Its habitat is of larger, permanent water bodies, swamps, ponds, lakes, where it is usually found along the water’s edge. On rainy nights, bullfrogs go overland and may be seen in numbers on country roads.

Hatchlings

Barely an hour old, 3 baby American Robins hatched right on schedule. Mommy and Daddy Robin have been busy taking turns feeding the hungry trio. A major storm is blowing in tonight, but the nest is secure in the corkscrew willow tree. We wish them luck!

One, two, three

We have new neighbors in our backyard. An American Robin has built a nest in our corkscrew willow tree. After about 4 days building the nest, the female laid 3 eggs, one each day. Robins incubate their eggs for 12 to 14 days. Once hatched, the nestlings remain in the nest for another 14 to 16 days before fledging. Sometime around May 7 we should be welcoming them into the world.

One year

Isabella turned one year old on April 2nd. Seems only like yesterday that I was holding her in my arms for the first time in the delivery room at the hospital. We received lots of advice on raising her over the past year, some good, some bad and some just plain weird. The one piece of advice that we did take to heart was to enjoy every single day with her as a baby does grow up fast. We look forward to the next year with our beautiful daughter and all the challenges and joys it will bring us.

Prejmer stork nest

Prejmer, Romania is a parish located about 15 km away from Brasov, on the east side of the Brasov Depression, and in the proximity of the Olt River. Storks are large, long-legged, long-necked, wading birds with long, stout bills. Storks are mute; bill-clattering is an important mode of stork communication at the nest. Their nests can be large and may be reused for many years. Many species are migratory. There are 19 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Romania, White Storks and Black Storks. The nest seen here in Prejmer is that of a White Stork.

Wintry crossing

Came across this old footbridge in Caesar Creek State Park while we were there for the Maple Syrup weekend recently. It sure has seen better days and is currently closed off to traffic. Another harsh winter like this year’s and it will probably collapse into the creek below.

Red-tailed hawk

While visiting Caesar Creek State Park for the Maple Syrup weekend, spotted this Red-tailed hawk feasting on a raccoon by the side of the road as we left the park. Not too pleased with my interrupting the meal, it flew off into a nearby tree where another hawk was sitting. Not wanting to become dessert, snapped a few shots and got back in the car to leave them to their lunch. The Red-tailed Hawk has significance in Native American culture. Its feathers are considered sacred by some tribes, and are used in religious ceremonies. It is commonly known as the “chickenhawk,” though it rarely preys on chickens.