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Swallow-tailed Kite and More on Thursday

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I saw my favorite bird today, the Swallow-tailed Kite, and I managed to get a few photos before it soared away. The Swallow-tailed Kite is a large, beautiful black and white bird with a forked tail and a wingspan of about 4 feet. It is a predator that catches small birds and animals with its talons and often feeds while in flight. This first photo was an instant reaction when I saw the kite, before I thought to adjust settings, so it was over-exposed. In post-processing I was able to get the bird to look the way it should, but the sky’s still white.

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The kite as it soared away a minute later.

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Gloriosa lily plant. The lilies aren’t blooming right now but the plants are still growing, with curly tendrils on the ends of the leaves.

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Frog in the mailbox again today. This is a chubby little one.

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A bumblebee on one of the tomato plants.

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And the Golden Silk Orb-weaver, who was having a quiet day today.

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Wednesday Assortment

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There was a wasp in the flowers on the oregano plant.

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And a little later a Long-tailed Skipper came along.

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I fished this green June Bug out of the pool this afternoon.

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The Golden Silk Orb-weaver spider had set aside the fly it had caught a few minutes earlier to deal with some new prey. The fly is dangling nearby while the spider works on its new prey. This is the same thing I saw the spider do the other day.

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I saw a few birds today. This Mourning Dove was up on a wire in front of the house.

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A Cardinal in a tree.

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I was surprised to see a Robin make an appearance today. Last year we did have a Robin that stayed in the yard instead of migrating with the rest of the flock that came through–maybe this is the same bird.

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Robin in a tree.

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The top of the palm tree, the tips of palm fronds surrounded by palm flowers.

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Anole silhouette on the palm tree.

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Storm coming through this afternoon.

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Dragonflies on Tuesday

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When I looked out the front window this morning I saw a dragonfly sitting on a wire out front.

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And this afternoon I came across another dragonfly in the backyard, perched on a branch.

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The dragonfly’s eyes were beautifully colored.

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There was a dragonfly on the side of the house too. At first I thought it might be the dragonfly above in a different spot, but this one seems to have a more solid yellow upper body.

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Another insect from today–a Tiger Bee Fly. It looks like some combination of bee, fly, and/or moth, about an inch and a half in diameter.

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This female brown anole was sitting in the grass.

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One shot for today of the Golden Silk Orb-weaver, who wasn’t doing anything especially interesting.

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Monday Photos

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The male brown anole I’ve been seeing on the palm tree is a confident big guy, sitting on the tree and just watching me when I approach.

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His favorite spot is a higher point in the tree, up around my eye level.

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He has nice colors–a mix of tan, red, and brown.

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Out front the Golden Silk Orb-weaver was busy today. When I went over to look at her she had caught a red and black striped beetle.

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She was wrapping the beetle (which was already dead) in spider silk

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Suddenly she dropped the beetle to grab a smaller winged insect. You can just about see the body with a wing on the left.

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The beetle was attached to the web with spider silk, and dangled below her while she worked on her new prey.

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Thursday Photos

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Just a few for today. Here’s one of the tiny spiders that took over the web by the shed. The spider itself is only about 3/8 of an inch, and it’s holding even tinier prey, which looks like a small dark beetle.

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The new Golden Silk Orb-weaver that I discovered the other day is still in her giant web on the side fence in the front yard. She’s a lot more reactive than the other big spider that was in the backyard. The other one would sit calmly and ignore minor motion in her web. This spider leaps into a burst of activity if I touch a strand of the web where it’s attached to the fence.

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Sophie guarding her backyard.

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And a brown anole on the palm tree.

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Frog and More on Saturday

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There was a little green tree frog in my mailbox today–not an uncommon situation here. This frog, however, didn’t seem to mind the camera.

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I got the frog to hop onto my hand so I could take it out of the box before the mailperson arrived, and the little frog moved on off into the bushes by the front door.

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I think this is a June bug. It was a beautiful coppery color with some metallic green mixed in.

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Then later on I found this shell out by the palm trees. I wondered at first if it was the beetle’s shell, but the legs look different–it’s probably from a cicada.

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While I was out front with the frog today, I walked over to the fence between our house and house next door. To my surprise there was a Golden Silk Orb-weaver spider in the middle of a web on other side of the fence. It’s not the same spider–the spots on the abdomen were different, and it didn’t look as big. It had built an enormous web that ran from the fence to the top of the driveway cover/canopy about 8 feet away, and about 8 feet high at that point.

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By walking around to the other side of the fence I was able to see the spider from the back, which I couldn’t manage with the spider by the shed.

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One more of the spider.

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Friday Assortment

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I haven’t had many bird photos lately but I’ve got a few today. This mockingbird had just finished grooming and scratching itself, so it looks like a ball of fluff instead of a sleek mockingbird!

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I’ve been seeing Ground-doves around lately. I always love to see these little doves–they aren’t much bigger in length than a sparrow. This Ground-dove had flown up into the old redbud tree next door.

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I don’t think the Golden Silk Orb-weaver is coming back. I was hoping she’d turn up again, but there’s still no sign of her. The small ordinary orb-weavers have taken over her web and are busy repairing it. They have such bright colors.

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One little female baby brown anole sitting on the herb pot. Love her curled tail.

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