Welcome!

Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.



Friday, April 11, 2014

Gusted

We've been having a lot wind lately, and no, I'm not talking about the commentary regarding various sitting and ex-presidents visiting town for the Civil Rights Summit.  I'm referring to actual wind, incessant gusts of it, ranging in the 15 to 25 mph velocity and setting up what I figured was going to be a lousy, no-good, won't be seeing any winged visitors situation.

You'd think I'd get tired of being wrong....

I was standing at the window watching the primroses toss about.  Leaning first this way then that, they resembled nothing so much as a rough sea with alternating pink and green waves. Then a swallowtail butterfly of some sort caught my eye.  You know what happened next.


This time I'm fairly certain my visitor is a Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor) even though the telltale metallic blue on the back of the wings towards the tail is not particularly prominent.  None of the butterflies I spot seem to match up exactly, so this is simply my best guess.  I got a series of shots with the wings open and closed. Whatever type of Swallowtail this one is, I'm sure it isn't confused at all.
When I glanced out later to see if the butterfly was still working the primrose patch, I noted a more readily identifiable Lesser goldfinch, or Carduelis psaltria, at our feeder.  This little guy stocked up on nyjer seed and then headed over to one of our birdbaths where it was joined by a female.



I keep reading these birds travel in large groups but honestly I usually only see this little guy and his lady around our spaces.  I'm wondering if they have a nest nearby?




17 comments:

Debra said...

I have never seen a goldfinch in person. This is such a treat for me. I think I read somewhere that they are transients here on their way to exotic places like Chicago but if they DO nest that would be such a sweet thing. They like fruit so they very well may decide to stay near your garden. You've got a nice set up for them.

Tina said...

I have the same problems with butterfly identification. I've also had goldfinches--I think both Lesser and American this year. Oddly, it's been a really good year in my gardens for birds. I have a Scarlet tanager visit yesterday morning. I've never seen one in real life and am just thrilled. Those are great photos!

TexasDeb said...

Debra - I think these are year round finches (there is a "Texas" form listed) but can't say for certain. I don't know more than I do know... I see these a lot (at least this pair) yet can't say I've seen other finches (like the red house finch) that are supposedly more common here. I've worked to make and keep our areas friendly to birds. I love their company.

TexasDeb said...

Tina: A scarlet tanager! They are migrating through here yes? That is so exciting you actually saw one - I'll admit - now I have just the teeniest bit of bird envy!

Debra said...

Oh! Wow, that is nice to know. Now I will definitely keep a watch out for them. =)

TexasDeb said...

Debra: Watching and waiting - they are the top two jobs for gardener types, am I right?

Cat said...

You've been making some great photos! I loved your description of the primroses moving about like rough sea...my columbine evoke the same picture. I saw a big mustard hued cloud yesterday and at first was perplexed when I realized it was oak pollen. My Lord, enough of that!

TexasDeb said...

Cat: Thank you! Those (slutty slutty!) oaks are totally having their way with the atmosphere in Austin at the moment. I'll be the happiest camper ever when the pollen dangles are history for the season. I do not for one moment begrudge them the opportunity to procreate but wow - give a gal a chance to breathe why don't they!?!?!

Cathy Thompson said...

Hi - what are the plants you are calling 'primroses' - they are not what we know as primroses over here and they are just beautiful. As beautiful as the swallowtail!

TexasDeb said...

Cathy: Hi! Sorry for that - the plants I'm referring to are wildflowers here in the US - Oenothera speciosa commonly referred to as "pink evening primrose" . They are some of my favorites and can absolutely take over an area this time of year which is why some people think of them as weeds.

Here's a link to a more detailed description.
http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=OESP2

Debra said...

Time definitely takes on multiple dimensions in the garden! Spring time is one of the most rewarding times though. Seems like sometimes I blink and some plant has suddenly grown all up. On the other hand I can spend a lifetime waiting for a yellow bird to show up. Luckily, your camera is on the job hahahhaha

TexasDeb said...

Debra: It's fascinating to me how the microclimates in just this corner of the state have their own varying visitors. You'll see birds I don't and vice versa - which makes it nice when we are sharing them here, so everybody gets in on the fun!

dryheatblog said...

I didn't know spring was your windy season, too. Still great pics even with that, and I've never seen your finch...quite colorful.

TexasDeb said...

DC: Thanks for dropping in! I don't know that I can say every Spring is this windy but this year? Day after day of dry windy weather, and (at least for west of Austin) very little rain so far. It takes a toll. I'm determined to get photos while there is anything worth capturing!

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chameleon said...

i haven't seen butterflies anymore unlike before they can be seen anywhere.

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