Saturday, October 20, 2018

A New Adventure For 2018

A new experience this year, raising butterflies.  I started August 18th and ended September 28th.  I raised four (4) Monarchs and nine (9) Black Swallowtails.  I also had some BST caterpillars but left them alone since the season was coming to an end.  I figured if they formed a chrysalis successfully I would bring in the chrysalis to over-winter for next year.  So far grew to a size that I thought they would form a chrysalis but disappeared.  I have three more growing in the rue.  This will be a waiting period to see what happens.  Next year I will be better prepared.

I am planning my garden placement now including the seeds that I got at the plant swap in September. Have to plan the Host plants and the Nectar plants.  May have to get another habitat, hoping for more than just Black Swallowtails and Monarchs.

This was a great experience.

End of the Month 8/30/2014

Decided to venture out Saturday since I haven't been out for a few months. My friend and co-worker Jerry Jourdan suggested that I go to Lake Erie Metro Park.  Warblers should be moving through and that would be a good place to start.

My plan for the day was to go to LEMP first to scope out the area around the parking lot and then make my way to Roberts Road and then back to LEMP.  As I made my way to the parking lot there sitting out in the open was a Red-tail Hawk.  I managed at least 20 shots of him without him flying away, in fact he was still sitting there when I left the park to head on down the road. 

Everything seemed quiet on Roberts Road, except for the birders going to get their last glimpse of the shore birds in cell three.  I stay by the gate, usually there's a lot of bird activity.  I said usually. There I was walking the road hoping for even a butterfly when suddenly there it was a Ruby-throat Hummingbird.  He fluttered all around the orange flowers and at one point even stopped and perched on a branch for a rest.  After about 100 photos of him I decided enough and moved on to the next spot - I like to sit in certain spots where I have been able to photograph a number of birds.

After my little trek down Roberts Road I decided to walk the trail at LEMP - unfortunately I wasn't able to make it half way around when the battery died on my camera.

Because I am having trouble placing my photos where I want to - here is what I photographed in the order taken.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Raising Butterflies

It all started August 18th when I went out to Barson's Greenhouse in Westland to get a couple of Milkweed plants for next year and a couple of Rue plants.  I had been trying to grow milkweed for the past three years with no luck.  I checked the plants out very carefully to make sure I wasn't bringing anyone home with me but alas at the very bottom of one of the plants was a Monarch caterpillar, skinny and about an inch long.

It was amazing to me how fast he grew from one inch to almost three inches.  I went out and bought a 12 by 12 square butterfly habitat to keep it in.  And so it began. 

While walking around the yard one morning I was looking at all the plants especially the Milkweed and the Rue to make sure there was nothing on the plants and to my surprise I found three eggs on the Rue.  Rue is a host plant for the Black Swallowtail.  I also found  a Black Swallowtail caterpillar on the plant.  So I went and got another 12 x 12 square butterfly habitat for the caterpillar and created a nursery for the eggs until they were ready to be moved.

I have collected eggs and have watched the caterpillars grow.  I watched a Monarch Caterpillar transform into a chrysalis.  I have released one Monarch and one Black Swallowtail to date.  I have two Monarch chrysalis' one being five days old the other one.  I have a caterpillar that will transform into a chrysalis tonight.  I have eight Black Swallowtails ranging 9 - 11 days old.  Possibly half of them will transform into a chrysalis next week.

Six of eight Black-Swallowtail caterpillars showing

Praying that all eight Black Swallowtails and the three Monarchs survive to be beautiful butterflies.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

April in Review 2015

The last time I posted was March 12th and that was when I found the Great Horned Owl out at Pte. Mouillee.  Time to update my blog with photos taken in April.  I know, April isn't done yet but there's no time like the present to get myself caught up.

April gave me an Eastern Towhee in my backyard for the first time.  This just might mean I'm doing something right it making it bird friendly.
Eastern Towhee

I went out to Kensington for the first time since 1973, glad I made the trip.  This gave me the opportunity to see the Sandhill Cranes on their nest along with the Mute Swans.  I got to see the Great Egrets and Blue Herons setting up house in the trees.
Sandhill Cranes
Another time out at Kensington was with my son Charles, who just got himself a camera and he wanted to test different settings on the camera.
My son Charles
A trip out to Magee Marsh turned out to be a bust.  There were a lot of Hermit Thrushes, Red-winged Blackbirds and Grackles.  A Yellow-rump appeared along with a Kinglet.  Beautiful day - just no birds.  They've done a lot of work on the boardwalk out there.  The section that runs along the stream in the back is all new.
Hermit Thrush
Can't wait for the weather to clear up to what it was about two (2) weeks ago.  I'll even take just sunny.

The rest of the photos take during April can be found at

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Right Time, Right Place - March 7, 2015

The weather called for mostly cloudy on Saturday and partly cloudy on Sunday.  I have yet to figure out what the difference is since both days seem to be about the same.  So when the sun came up on Saturday I grabbed my camera and decided to head south.  By south I meant over to Reaume and Roberts Rd at Pte Mouillee.  I headed up Reaume like I always do .  Usually there's a couple of Red-tails that hang out in the trees but recently there's been a Bald Eagle. As I turned the corner the Bald Eagle flew over, I pulled my vehicle over and got out only to have him disappear.  I stood there a while waiting to see if he would come back over and just as I was getting back in to my vehicle it did.  So I stopped again and tried to get a shot as he flew over head.  It wasn't the greatest shot but here it is.

After I took this shot I watched to see if he would turn around but he just kept going south.  I continued down Reaume turned the corner and kept watching the trees. As you get closer to Roberts Rd there's a small area that in the summer time would be the safe haven for a lot of birds because of the fragmites and dead trees.  It almost looks like a driveway might be there.  Unfortunately, people have been dumping there garbage there.

Just as I approached that spot I could see something large sitting on a fallen tree.  To my surprise it was a Great Horned Owl.  I have been so discouraged this year because I hadn't seen any kind of owl so when I came upon this one I made sure I was going to get a photo of him.  I started off on the right side of the road but because of the downed trees branches were in my way to get a clear shot at his face.

I decided to back up and then pull to the left side of the road so I would be sitting right in the entrance of this so-called-driveway.  I opened the door slowly and then slid out of my seat to sit on the door frame.  Then it was snap, snap, snap until he got a little upset with me and flew away.  Unfortunately because of the branches I couldn't get that shot, at least not a clear one.

By the looks of his beak and talons he definitely had either breakfast or lunch. I did go to see if I could find him after he flew off but with no luck, he didn't want to be found.  But from the moment I got this shot it was a very good day.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

New Day, New Month - March 2, 2015

What a difference a couple days make and the weather.  Saturday there were Eagles, ducks, swans, and some exciting moments.  Today there are two (2) Eagles in the trees, a whole lot of Mute Swans, the number of ducks is starting to dwindle and sea gulls.  Since everything seems to be flying in I've decided to try and capture some in flight photos (I'll still take some sitting pretty shots too just in case the in flight doesn't work).

The highlight of this outing was when this big sea gull appeared.  I've seen it before but only briefly back in December at the Monroe Power Plant during the Monroe Bird Count.  Since I couldn't remember what kind it was and the two gentlemen that were out there with me, Jim and Kevin wanted to know I immediately called the one person who would know, Jerry Jourdan.

A Great Black-backed Gull - larger than any other gull.  I t appears that this guys bill is broken but the red spot on it is suppose to be there.

To catch the ducks in flight you really need to be watching - I mean they come flying in quickly (at least to me they seem to) but I did manage a couple of shots that I am quite pleased with.
Common Merganser

Great Blue Heron  (almost missed this shot)

This Scaup caught me off guard
And a couple of sure gotten photos
Common Mergansers (female and male)

Redheads (2 female and one male)
I went back out on Wednesday after work only to find a lot of open water and a whole lot of Mute Swans with one Tundra hanging with them.  Very quiet out there.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Southfield and Jefferson Bound - Saturday, February 28, 2015

Camera battery is charged and I was semi-thawed so I decided to head out.  Before heading down to Southfield I decided to stop behind Speedboat.  Here I will get a picture of a Tundra Swan, an American Coot, Scaups (males and female), Canvasback (male and female), and Red-breasted Mergansers (male and female).

Tundra Swan

American Coot
Scaups (female and males)
Scaups (females)
Canvasback (male)

Canvasback (female)

Red-breasted Mergansers (male and female)
From St John's to Southfield, as I arrived the excitement was that an Eagle had caught a duck, a Redhead to be exact. The Eagle sat on it for the longest time but the duck did get away making it's way over the jagged ice while the Eagle looked on.  The Eagle eventually flew away and the duck did make it to water but not unharmed.
The Eagles did make it an exciting day as a couple more ducks got plucked from the water, who was going to reap the reward was at times between two adults and one immature.  I can say that I am not sure who really won, just what I heard from the surrounding photographers there just to see the Eagles.
There were approximately eighteen Eagles in the trees and this immature took off several times and circled over where we all stood.  Not sure if it was to stir up the seagulls sitting on the shoreline or just to give us something to shoot at.

Besides the Eagles there were plenty of ducks to photograph and that's what I did.
Bufflehead (female)


Mallards (female and male coming in for a landing)

Red-breasted Merganser (going for a ride)

Redhead (female)

Redhead (male)

Scaup (coming in for a landing)

Mute Swan (making a splash)

Scaup and Bufflehead (what a difference in size)
Three and a half hours later it was time to go home and really thaw out.