Sunday, July 29, 2012

Baby Armadillo

We’ve had an Armadillo living under or around our place for several years. Never saw more than one at a time.
This little guy came out after a short rain.
Looks like it has fine hair on it’s body. Adorable!!!
This is the first little one we’ve seen.
The Armadillo is not one of Jim’s favorite critters, but does rank above the Raccoons that keep trying to get the cat food.
The cat laid in the grass and watched the little one scrounge around for food, until it went under the plants….he found it’s action interesting for a few minutes….then got bored and went back to the porch.
The Armadillo has been here longer than the cats and they have either learned to respect them or figure they are part of the family. They never bother them.
Armadillos have 4 babies and they are identical. We don’t know if we are watching the same small one or if it is a brother or sister. We’ve only seen one at a time.
Look at the beautiful pattern on it’s face.
I took my shoe off so I could have something to show size.
It didn’t seem to mind my following it around. Just kept on hunting.
Jim took this one. It’s coming over to inspect me.
I hope you can play this video… 
he is so cute. If not…. go to and put CmyBirds2 in the “search” and it will bring up all the videos I have posted on my blogs.
After we started seeing the little one, we spotted 2 adults wandering around the yard. Guess we may end up with a whole bunch of them. Jim is so thrilled!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cicada Killer Wasp

I was eliminating some of the wasps that cruise around the milkweed plants looking for caterpillars, when a very large insect started flying around some of the holes the Armadillo had dug. At first, I thought it was a Hummingbird Moth…but once it landed I saw it was a huge wasp.

I started looking for it on and it is a Cicada Killer Wasp. I was unable to get a picture of that one, but today this one landed on the blind outside. It is much smaller than the one I first saw digging a burrow.


The width of the slat in this blind is 5/16, just a little over a quarter of an inch. Gives you an idea how large this wasp is.

It is a solitary wasp, and digs a burrow that can have several nest cells. A male egg is laid on one cicada but a female gets 2 or 3 cicadas. The female is twice the size of the male and needs more food.

The female can sting but is not aggressive. The male cannot sting but might give you that impression when he is defending his territory by buzzing you a bit, and their size can be impressive when they are flying near you. I just stood still and tried to get a picture.


Since they prey upon cicadas, they are welcome here. I won’t bother them as long as they don’t start developing a taste for caterpillars.

I love the markings on it’s back. Kind of pretty…huh?


I was surprised to learn that the Cow Killer, a velvet ant like wingless wasp, will lay it’s egg in a Cicada Killer’s nest and when it’s larva emerges it becomes food for the Cow Killer larva.

I’ve seen the red velvet Cow Killer but never realized it was actually a wasp. Just looks like a big red fuzzy ant, and they are said to have a very painful sting. So don’t mess with big red fuzzy ants.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Monarch Butterflies 7.19.12

We went boating just a few days before the 4th of July. We like to be on Lake Monroe, FL for the fireworks.

I had about 30 caterpillars in the butterfly house so I brought in all my plants and turned my screen room in to their space.

By the time we got back, we had 31 chrysalis. Most were in the butterfly house but because I had more plants than space in it…I had the door open and all the rest of the plants squeezed up next to it so they had plenty of food.

10 had found places outside the cage…ceiling, screen door, under the chair, on the shoe rack and on the plastic bin I keep the birdseed in. I took thread, tied it gently to the “stem” that they are suspended by…..pulled all the webbing lose and tied them to sticks and put them in the top of the cage so they had plenty of room to hang.

This series of photos will show you some of the changes they go thru. Notice how small the wings are on the one that just emerged….and how big the body is.

It almost looks like the wings are deformed.



The fluid in the swollen abdomen is pumped into the wings. You can see they  have increased in size a little.


Getting bigger


They will hang like this for 3 or 4 hours then start flexing their wings and learning to fly.


Here is another series. This is the same group, the second one is almost dry and one on the far R has just emerged.




The green chrysalis wont be ready for another day or two.


The chrysalis on the L will be ready tomorrow….in the one on the R you can see the color and outline of the wings…that emerged a few minutes after this was taken.


Since the weather is so hot it has only been taking the caterpillars about 9 days before they pupate and go into the chrysalis stage, and then another 9 days before they emerge. All 31 were released. Most here but some in Debbie’s beautiful butterfly garden.

I now have another 28 in the cage, some ready to go to the top and pupate. I have a plant outside the cage with 20 or more hatchlings. As soon as the big caterpillars go up I will put them inside.

I love watching them emerge and then releasing them….but I enjoy watching the caterpillars go from something almost too small to see to big fat caterpillars.

This is the difference a week makes. This plant has the hatchlings on it. Can you see them? Even sitting a few feet from them they are hard to find.


Here’s a close up of the leaves in the upper R corner of the photo above. This one is about 2 days old.


These are about a week older. There are about 16 in this picture…maybe one or two more. When I took this 3 had already started their journey to the top.


Friday, July 13, 2012


I think I have photographed this moth before, but could not find a posting on it. 015cs

The wings are lacey and long. I love the “feathered” legs.


It’s a rather large moth and blends in very well on the side of the shed.

 023cs        017cs

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Swamp Hibiscus and a Yellow Sulphur Butterfly

We see these plants along the St Johns River banks. I planted one in my small wetlands and it is doing well. This is the first flower of the year, and looks like many more to follow.


They are slender plants, growing5’ to 6’ tall. This one is the tallest I have and there are 5 more plants ranging in size growing with it.


The bloom only lasts one day, but it is worth the wait. The color is actually a deeper red than pink, but no matter what angle I took the pictures from….it came out with a pinkish tint.

This Yellow Sulphur was the only butterfly that spent any time on the bloom.