Blanding's Turtle in the Pond Lilies.
July was a nice month for seeing the birds and their babies. For a short time a pair of swallows investigated a nest built up against one of our walls. The swallows decided to not use the nest so an Eastern Kingbird moved in. Here is the Kingbird perched on a wind chime, and the babies in the nest.
Another very similar bird likes hanging around the house too. This is an Eastern Phoebe, also a flycatcher and in similar colors to the Kingbird, but much smaller in size.
It has been great to see some Eastern Bluebirds around. I've found it difficult getting close enough for a good photo but did manage to get some shots of a juvenile bluebird sitting on the handlebars of the vintage tricycle in the garden.
Colorful Northern Flickers were busy digging in the grass looking for insects.
Turkey Chicks on Parade in the Garden
One of the most surprising sights to wake up to one morning was a parade of wild turkeys in the garden! This family made regular visits to the garden throughout the spring and summer.
Cat in a Box
Cubby the cat likes to "hide" in little cardboard boxes and shopping bags. I suppose we could consider them "Cubbyholes". The problem is, he's a very large cat but still thinks he's a tiny kitten. He tries his best though and seems to enjoy his cubbyholes in spite of the difficulty he has fitting into them. This box was on its way to the recycling bin but had to stay out on the floor for weeks for Cubby to enjoy. After using the box for most of the month he lost interest in it and moved on to another cubbyhole. These photos were taken on different days during July.
Warm summer air and the many cool lakes help generate some dramatic clouds. We have great unobstructed views of the sky to enjoy the clouds during the day and the stars at night. I shot these photos through my polarized sunglasses to enhance the detail in the clouds. The amber artifacts seen in one of the photos is from the frame of the sunglasses.
Indian Pipe/Ghost Plant in the Forest
The Indian Pipe AKA "Ghost Plant" pictured above is an interesting flower that comes up in the forest during the summer. This unusual plant lacks chlorophyll entirely and appears fungus-like yet produces flowers too. The forest produces a lot of true mushrooms and fungi as you'll see in the coming months. For now I have a photo of a nice big Chaga mushroom growing on the birch tree beside the house. The next photo in this series of plants and flowers is a Blue Cohosh plant growing in the shady forest. The white flowered Yarrow grow in large masses in the fields around the house. The deep gold flower is perennial coreopsis and the yellow disk shaped flower with dark brown center is a Virginia Ground Cherry. The purple and white flower may be a type of Phlox.
All our creepy-crawlies are thriving too. There is a Dekay's Brown Snake on a rock and a series of Praying Mantis on goldenrod flowers. The unusual fly on the window is known as a "Phantom Crane Fly". On the coreopsis flower is a Ctenucha moth and the strange little creature on the daisy is a Jagged Ambush bug. Those little ambush bugs are very beneficial in the garden as they prey on plant pests. The last photo in this section is a mammoth moose track in the soil with my foot next to it for comparison. In the photos from May there are photos of young moose and their tracks measured. As a result of that I now know what size moose goes with a 5 inch track. I can imagine that the moose who made these significantly larger tracks must have been colossal! Not only do the tracks indicate a large animal but an immensely heavy one too. I tried stamping and pounding my feet next to the tracks to see what it would take to make that sort of impression in the soil. No matter how hard I tried I could barely leave a mark in that soil.
Young White Tailed Deer at End of Driveway
There is a great deal of deer activity going on overnight around the house. They come out at dusk, or when the light is very low on foggy and overcast days, and take over the lawns and roads all night. The picture quality on these shots is a bit poor as I was shooting when it was almost dark (the image looks like a daylight photo because I brought up the lighting in the editing.) Though the photos aren't perfectly clear and colorful I wanted to end the month of July with the typical scenes we see at the end of each day. On many warm evenings we can go out on the front porch at dusk, watch the sun set behind the trees and then see deer emerge from the forest. The deer then spend the night grazing and galloping up and down the dirt road until the sun rises again. When I check tracks on the road in the morning it sometimes looks like a herd of 50 had been running back and forth all night. They don't always stick to the roads of course. I often see them grazing in the lawn and coming very close to the house. Sometimes just for fun deer come up to within a few feet of my windows in the dead of night and make horrific loud snorting sounds to startle the life out of me. Nothing gets the heart pounding faster than sitting by the window, thinking about bears in the dead quiet night, and then suddenly hearing very close and loud violent snorts coming from the blackness just on the other side of the window screen!