Purple Martin Babies are Hatching!

Three Purple Martin Eggs in Nesting Gourd

Three Purple Martin Eggs in Nesting Gourd

Six New Hatchlings

Six New Hatchlings

Close-up of Hatchlings (love the bird lips!)

Close-up of Hatchlings (love the bird lips!)

Six Babies in Leaf-Lined Nest

Six Babies in Leaf-Lined Nest

Six Hatchlings Starting to get Pin Feathers

Six Hatchlings Starting to get Pin Feathers

Hatchling Face

Hatchling Face

Hatchling Wanting Fed

Hatchling Wanting Fed

Adult Male Purple Martin on Top of Nesting Gourd

Adult Male Purple Martin on Top of Nesting Gourd

Adult Female Martin Diving into Gourd

Adult Female Martin Diving into Gourd

Frog Hiding in Martin Pole Pulley Rope

Frog Hiding in Martin Pole Pulley Rope

Our purple martin babies are hatching! We currently have 11 nests containing 54 babies and 3 eggs – our highest season total ever! It is such a joy hearing the martins’ cheerful songs, along with constant feeding activity in and out of the gourds. The hatchlings are so young that they haven’t even opened their eyes yet. A frog was hiding in the martin pole pulley rope when we lowered the gourds for health inspection. If the babies have mites, we change the nesting material for good health. Love this time of year!  Our previous posts about purple martins are at:  https://naturetime.wordpress.com/?s=martins

Beautiful Deer Visits Yard

Deer Hello

Deer Hello

Deer Eating Corn for Turkeys

Deer Eating Corn for Turkeys

Deer Portrait

Deer Portrait

What a nice surprise out our home office window – a beautiful deer was walking around our yard!  She had wandered in since I had left the gate open.  I had been hoping to get a picture of a deer in our area, because our neighborhood is called “Deer Run”. She is expecting, so maybe we’ll see a little fawn soon!

Florida: Pink Spoonbills are Nesting!

Goodwin Marsh

Goodwin Marsh

Rookery Island

Rookery Island

Spoonbill Landing on Nest

Spoonbill Landing on Nest

Young Spoonbill Being Fed

Young Spoonbill Being Fed

Close-up of Feeding Time

Close-up of Feeding Time

Young Spoonbill Takeoff

Young Spoonbill Takeoff

Adult Spoonbill Flying by Fledgling

Adult Spoonbill Flying by Fledgling

Colorful Adult Spoonbill Flying

Colorful Adult Spoonbill Flying

Meadowlark Singing at Marsh

Meadowlark Singing at Marsh

It is spoonbill nesting time here in Florida.  Love those beautiful pink birds!

Best Caterpillar Ever!

Photographing the Tersa Sphinx Moth Caterpillar

Photographing the Tersa Sphinx Moth Caterpillar

Horizontal View of Caterpillar

Horizontal View of Caterpillar

Front View of Caterpillar

Front View of Caterpillar

Eye Spots of Caterpillar

Eye Spots of Caterpillar

This past weekend I was working in the flower garden and found this Tersa sphinx moth caterpillar under our tapioca bush. Sphinx/hummingbird moths come out at dusk to drink flower nectar. They especially love pentas. I couldn’t get over the realistic eye spots on the caterpillar – I think it was pretending to be a snake so that birds wouldn’t eat it. It had gold spots on its body, along with delicate shades of pink and blue.  After taking pictures, and I carefully placed it back outside exactly where it was when I found it. What a spectacular caterpillar!

Art Meets Science: Color Changing Flowers

Pink Petunias

Pink Petunias

Purple and White Petunias

Purple and White Petunias

Flowers are currently being developed that change color either throughout the day or on demand – a meeting of art and science. Based on circadian rhythms, your pink petunias in the morning would change to purple flowers by afternoon. Or based on watering, your petunias would change from white to pink to purple within 24 hours. Petunias in the past have played a critical role in the study of RNAi and its potential impact on the treatment of human disease (which led to a Nobel prize in 2006).  Flowers have been cultivated and bred for centuries, and this is one more way to increase man’s pleasure from plants.  More info is at: http://www.idtdna.com/pages/decoded/decoded-articles/your-research/decoded/2015/03/03/color-changing-flowers-biotechnology-for-everyone?utm_source=IDT+Customers&utm_campaign=52f1f391f7-DECODED_031015_test3_4_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_9f34f28ea2-52f1f391f7-223792633&goal=0_9f34f28ea2-52f1f391f7-223792633

Fossil Seashells: Hidden Beauty

Florida Fossil Seashells Under Normal Light

Florida Fossil Seashells Under Normal Light

Fossil Seashells Under UV Light

Fossil Seashells Under UV Light

Similar Shells Today

Similar Shells Today

A recent scientific article describes how hidden patterns can be revealed by viewing fossilized seashells under UV light. I had to try this myself! I dug out our box of Florida fossils and looked at the chalky white seashells under a UV blacklight. Like magic – the patterns appeared! Nature is truly amazing. The detailed article on glowing shells is at: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0120924.

Space Station Flyover

Moonrise in Florida

Moonrise in Florida

Long Exposure of Space Station Flyover

Long Exposure of Space Station Flyover

Airplane Trails 1

Airplane Trails 1

Airplane Trails 2

Airplane Trails 2

View of Pacific Cyclone from Space Station (streamed by ISS Above to our TV - click for details)

View of Pacific Cyclone from Space Station (streamed by ISS Above to our TV – click for details)

We had an extra bright flyover of the International Space Station on Friday evening.  It was a gorgeous warm night with a full moon rising.  As I was taking the pictures, I could hear mama owl singing by the pond.  For better photography next time, I’m looking forward to a nice dark night so that I can take a longer exposure.  If you want to see the Space Station, check flyover times at: http://spotthestation.nasa.gov/ Remember that the Space Station emits a bright continuous light (the reflection from the solar panels), and airplanes emit flashing lights.

%d bloggers like this: