Sunday, December 27, 2009

SNAKES………….Yellow Rat Snake (Aug ‘09)

Here is another of my snake collection…..

I have always been fascinated by snakes.  So far, I have seen Red Rat Snakes, Black Rat Snakes, Black Racers, Blue Indigos (I think), Coral Snakes, a Pigmy Rattler and the Yellow Rat Snake. I’ve managed to photograph some of them, but not all.

These have all been in my yard at one time or another. I even saw a beautiful blue-ish green snake that was about a ft and a half long and very thick. I’ve never seen it again and haven't been able to find a picture of anything like it.

They don’t usually hang around long once they’ve been spotted. This Yellow Rat Snake was sitting on the edge of the birdbath. It has a full belly.NY 2009 052cs

It didn’t seem concerned by my camera. Maybe it was sluggish because it was digesting a meal. Hopefully it was a rat or one of the gopher like critters digging up my lawn, and not a bird or baby rabbit.NY 2009 061cs

I was surprised to learn they are active at night. I’d always thought snakes liked the warmth of daylight. Sometimes you will see this zig zaggy pattern the whole length of the snake.NY 2009 064cs

I really like this photo.NY 2009 073cs

It finally moved off the birdbath and into a bush.

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I just kept following  it around. It looked at me…but wasn’t a bit aggressive.NY 2009 099cs

You gotta love this face. Looks like he’s whistling “yoo hoo …I’m over here”NY 2009 096cs

The next photo was taken a month ago. It is in the same area. I’ve seen it on my porch twice now. It’s not stretched out but it looks longer than the one above. snake & squirrel 009cs

I heard the squirrels chattering madly and looked out to see what the problem was. One of the squirrels was on the railing…very agitated..and aggressively advancing on the snake. snake & squirrel 001cs

My dog went out the doggie door and scared the squirrel away. I was interested in seeing what the squirrel  would do. It had already traveled at least 5’ on the railing to get this close.

I may have a pair….or more?

My washer and dryer are on the back porch with a railing similar to this one. I was sorting clothes into the washer and a Yellow Rat Snake fell out of the rafters and bounced from my shoulder to the railing. I picked it up by the tail and dropped it to the ground.  I now check overhead whenever I’m out there. They are very good climbers and are most likely after the Anoles that spend time up there.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It’s Christmas Eve ‘09

Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas. We are spending it on the water…if you are interested in following us a bit…go to

I still have a few things to post here and will get my last snake on in a few days..till then….

Merry Christmas!!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Color in Florida

We don’t do any decorating for the season. We let nature do it for us. Here’s our version of red and green.


It’s not a very clear photo…again I am shooting through window screen, but I very seldom see 3 such striking males sitting so close to each other. They are usually darting in and out of the bushes and taking over the feeder. They were gone shortly after snapping this.   MERRY CHRISTMAS

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

SNAKES………..Black Racer (June ‘09)

This is a very fast snake. I was only able to snap a few pictures and then it was gone. Look at the size of the eye compared to it’s body. 6.7.09 002cs

I  thought it was a Black Rat snake, but when my husband commented on it’s speed, I started checking. The large eye and white chin, convinced me it is a Black Racer.6.7.09 005cs

It is hiding in a Bougainville bush. Look at the beauty of the scales.6.7.09 006cs

Compare the head to that of the Yellow Rat Snake.6.7.09 002cs NY 2009 073cs

You can see there is a big difference in the size of the eye.  They are both beautiful snakes.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Painted Buntings ( Dec ‘09)

I still have a few more snakes to post…..and I will get to them in a few days….but I just couldn’t wait to show you my Painted Bunting. These are the first decent pictures I’ve gotten this year. They have been busy at the feeders this morning. 009cs

I have at least 3 males, and they were  all at the feeders at the same time a few days ago,  but I was not able to get any good pictures. I’ve also seen a few “Greenies”.


The pictures have a textured look since I am shooting through window screen. It’s the only way I can get them.  I build a “blind” in the window so I can move about without them seeing me. They spook at the least movement or sound. I tried to switch the camera from pics to video and it was gone.

Not only do I appreciate their beautiful colors…but they have such a cocky little attitude at times. These were all the same bird.

They are content to share the feeders with the Cardinals (you can see one’s tail in the lower R), but tend to run other male Buntings off. The Cardinals are the same. They share with the Buntings and chase off other Cardinals. I have 3 feeders….one just outside my computer room window, one near the palm trees and one in the back yard. That way none of the birds can control all the feeders.

You will most likely be tired of seeing my Painted Buntings by April. I love these beautiful little birds.

Last year I had 4 males and several “Greens”. The green birds can be either females or adolescent males. So, perhaps, I shall see a few more males before spring.

Friday, December 11, 2009

SNAKES (another Red Rat Snake) (Sept ‘09)

You will be seeing a few of the snakes that come to my house…I have been saving them to post in one section, as I have a friend who is so terrified of them that she can’t even look at a picture. So I had to warn her not to read the blog for awhile….at least until the snakes are done and I’ve found some birds or other critters to photograph….

In Sept I took a bike ride to see if I could find something to photograph. Nothing much was going on in the yard just then.

I was happy to see this Red Rat Snake…perhaps it’s the one we released in this area. It was stretched out in the road and didn’t move….just laid  there.


It did keep an eye on me as I moved around it. Looks like there is a wound on it’s back. Perhaps a Hawk, Owl or Kite tried to grab it.


I took several pictures and was worried about it getting run over….so I gently touched it’s tail to get it to move on…..BOY!!  did it ever!!  It went into attack mode very quickly.


From that time on…it really kept a close watch on me. It was absolutely beautiful!!


Now often do you get to see it’s belly?  


I compared a close-up head shot of each snake and decided it’s not the one we released. If you look closely at the pattern on the back of their heads….you can see the difference.

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Since I was riding my bike and it was a narrow dirt road…I waited for it to leave before trying to ride past.  It finally got bored and moved off into the grass and the palm trees. I have since seen one other Red Rat Snake that exhibited the same behavior. Probably normal for a wild snake that is used to defending itself.

The two I photographed were only about 3’ long, and probably wont get a whole lot bigger…maybe a ft or two.

I was surprised to learn they can live to be 15 – 20 years old. They eat Anoles, small rodents and sometimes birds. They are non-venomous and normally docile. That’s why they are so popular as pets, but they really belong outdoors….doing what they were intended to do….. live out their lives keeping the rat and mice population down… us a bit of cardio-vascular exercise when we almost step on it …and then all the oohs and aahs …….as we realize how lucky we’ve been to share another bit of nature’s beauty.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

SNAKES……….Red Rat Snake (Corn Snake)

These were taken in August.

I have 2 small birdhouses on my front porch. The only thing that has ever lived in them were a couple of Cuban Brown Anoles (lizard), but one morning out of the corner of my eye I spotted a head…..


But, as you can see, it is not an Anole, it’s a young Red Rat Snake. My front porch has become very popular with snakes.  So far, I have had 2 Yellow Rat Snakes on it.

Even though this little guy was very pretty, and I’ve read they make very good pets, we decided to relocate him so he wouldn’t grow up and eat my birds or the baby bunnies that live here.

We took the birdhouse, put it in a pail and headed to the tree farm. 009cs2

The birdhouse was falling apart so I removed the roof and let him take his time leaving.


It’s a very pretty snake, and I really would have enjoyed seeing him around the yard, but he was too close to the bird feeders.018cs

Such beautiful markings.  022cs 025cs

There will be plenty of food and places to hide in the grove. I’ll be watching for him as we drive in and out.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Great Pondhawk Dragonfly

I took these a few months ago. 

I think it will take me awhile to top my Eastern Amberwing in a previous post. I love that little beauty. I think because I was so surprised when I saw the pictures.

This is a pretty Dragonfly. Unfortunately it was sitting on my concrete step and the sun wasn’t shining so no pretty reflections. But it is still beautiful.Butterfly green dragon 052cs

It was a bit skittish but then kept coming back.

Butterfly green dragon 013cs

I didn’t see anything of interest to it, but wasn’t going to complain. I just laid there till it came back. When I all but stuck the camera in it’s face it just looked up at me. I wonder if the lens looked like a big dragonfly eye. I could see it’s head bobbing up and down as I moved.

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The lacy pattern on their wings are beautiful. I wonder if this is where the original stained glass makers got their inspiration.Butterfly green dragon 042cs

I want to remind everyone that I am just learning the dragonflies. If I call one wrong, please correct me.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Look What “Momma” brought to visit

It has been in the low 50’s….cold, damp and raining. We need the rain so am glad to have it, but it makes it hard to take any pictures.

While working on the computer, I was surprised to see this Momma Hog and 4 little brown ones. I toss a hand full of corn by this hibiscus bush in the morning for a turkey. I guess they are learning all the spots.

I saw them earlier this  morning….. 3 large black hogs and the 4 little brown ones were here just  before daylight. This the first time for  the babies.  I wasn’t  able  to get any pictures,  then,  the least bit of sound or movement and they are gone like a shot. So when they showed up in the front yard….I took the video through the window. They were checking under the bird feeders.

They kind of stroll through…see if anything has been missed and disappear. I love watching the little ones.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Cardinal & Hog

It’s been fairly quiet here today…One Raccoon came in but left as soon as I opened the door. I wasn’t able to get a picture of the Painted Bunting…but this Cardinal was kind enough to pose for a couple.


It’s really a very pretty bird.


A little later this hog decided to stop in and see if the turkeys and rabbits left any corn in the grass.


Maybe I’ll have better luck with the Bunting tomorrow. I saw 3 males yesterday.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Blue Butterfly in KY


Sorry I havn’t been keeping up with the blogs lately. We have been on the St Johns River, FL for the past two weeks. So check out the blog….    We had a great time…saw many Manatees and other wildlife. 

On our trip to KY, earlier this year, I spotted this pretty blue butterfly. I am not sure what kind it is.z 049c

At first, I thought it might be a Swallowtail but on closer inspection I dont see the “tail”.  z 046c

It cooperated very nicely for the photos. Willingly sat on the sidewalk for them.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Skipper on my Bougainville

There are two nice Bougainville bushes just outside my computer room window. The Skippers really seem to like it.014cs

They really haven't had as much activity as I thought they would,  being so close to the Bottlebrush…I guess they are not as popular, but the Bottlebrush has gone past it’s bloom for another week or two, so everything is heading to the Bougainville.


These two Skippers were very busy. A bit skittish…so I had to stand and wait for them to get used to me being there and coming back. Here he has his “sipper” all rolled up and ready to go.


This is my favorite.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Spicebush Swallowtail

Here’s another black swallowtail that makes you take a second look.011cs

It has a lot of light blue on the wings, and 2 small orange dots.


The Spicebush flies low and in the shadows. The green of all the plants that are shading it give the blue a greenish tinge. 

I wasn’t able to get a picture of the underside of the wing.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Painted Buntings…

I have been seeing the Painted Buntings for a few weeks but  had no luck with pictures.

Here’s one of the males…


I’ve noticed that the Cardinals are more than willing to share the feeders with the Buntings…while they chase other Cardinals away. I know the Buntings prefer the white millet and the Cardinals like the Sunflower seeds..perhaps they also like the red millet, so they don’t see the Buntings as a threat to a food source…


The green buntings or “Greenies” can be either a female or a young male.


So far, I have seen 2 Greenies and 2 males…


Last year I had 4 males and at least as many greens spend the winter here. I also had 7 male Indigo Buntings…but have not seen any yet.