My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Chasing butterflies and birds

Another very hot week here in west Michigan, another broke week here in west Michigan. I was planning on going up north this last weekend, but with gas still close to $4 a gallon, that didn’t happen.

I haven’t been up north since Memorial Day weekend, I am going to scrimp and save as much as I can this month to be sure I can head up north for Labor Day. As part of that plan, I didn’t even visit any local parks this weekend, I have just been walking around the apartment complex here. I never run out of things to photograph, from flowers, to birds, to butterflies, to bunnies.

American Goldfinch

I thought that goldfinches fed almost exclusively on seed, with their favorites being thistle seeds, but I have noticed all summer long that they have been feeding on insects. I wonder if that has to do with raising their young? Maybe the young need the fat and protein from bugs? We have lots of thistles around here.

Thistle flower

Several different species of thistles.

Thistle flower

And they are producing lots of seeds.

Thistle seed explosion

Yet, I never see the goldfinches feeding on the thistles, they are in the trees, feeding on bugs.

It never ceases to amaze me how many species of wildflowers there are around the edges of the apartment complex.

Bumblebee on a white wildflower

I have noticed that the flowers seem to be getting smaller in size as the summer progresses, maybe it’s my imagination. Or maybe my brain is getting fried from the heat. We’ve had day after day after day with highs near 90 degrees, the only change has been that on some days the dew points drop into the 60’s, rather than the mid 70’s like they are again today. I was hoping for some rain last night, I could see a storm cloud in the distance around sunset last night.

Storms at sunset

But, the storms never made it here. It was miserable when I was walking this morning, I had trouble seeing due to the sweat running in my eyes all the time. That didn’t stop me from seeing this butterfly, which I think is a zebra swallowtail, I need to pick up some field guides, some day when I have money again. Well, I was wrong. My brother has informed me that it is an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly. I had done a quick check online, and I guess I wasn’t the only one who mis-identified it. Thanks Jim!

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly

Here’s another I saw feeding on some wildflowers growing near one of the small creeks that flow through the complex.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly

While we’re on butterflies, I have a few more pictures of some I have no idea of what species they are. If any one can help me identify them, I would appreciate it. I used to know these things, back when I was a kid. My brother Jim also identified this one as a Spicebush Swallowtail.

Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly

I have tried to identify them on the web, but I haven’t found a good site for that yet.

Small orange Butterfly

Then there are moths.

Small white moth

Like there aren’t dozens of species of small white moths. But then there was this one.

Small cream and pink moth

 They were lucky that they didn’t end up being a meal for this guy.

Catbird

But he was too busy feeding on these.

Red berries

Which I believe are the fruit from these flowers.

Small purple and yellow flower

But I could be wrong about that. I have been trying to get a great picture of those flowers, that’s the best so far, so I’ll keep trying. Why can’t they be easy to photograph like these?

Small yellow flowers

Or these?

A daisy of some type

Let’s see, I have a bunny shot.

Young cottontail rabbit

And a picture of a very young robin that had either fallen or been blown out of the nest in some storms last week.

Young robin

I love his Friar Tuck downy doo.

Then there are the ever-present Dragon flies, my brother informed me that there are over 300 species of them.

Blue dragon fly

We’ll, that’s about it for today. I have to hit the shower, then go visit my mother in the nursing home before work. I’ll dig around for a few more local pics from the last month later in the week.

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2 responses

  1. Like the picture of the catbird- they always seem quite curious towards humans that happen to walk by.

    August 18, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    • Catbirds are one of my favorite birds. They may not be colorful, but I have spent many hours listening to the males singing along rivers while I fish.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:15 am