Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The baby cardinals "flew the coop"!

I was getting ready to go to my friends' daughter's house to take photos of her new baby when I got sidetracked by the sound of Cardinals chirping outside. I opened the front door and saw this little guy sitting on the branch of one of the boxwoods near the front door. He (she?) sure grew fast! I'm not sure where the second baby is, I hope it is OK!

I enjoyed taking photos of my friend's 2-week old grandbaby. Today was the first time she had kept her eyes open for so long! She really cooperated for me! :) I loved this photo of her laying in her father's hand! So sweet!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The babies are growing, a weird moth and a strange planthopper

Wow, the baby Cardinals have grown a lot since last week! Their eyes are now open and they are getting some little feathers on top of their heads. I just hope they don't get the mites from their father! I had to snap a couple of photos very quickly, mom and dad were not happy about me being so close to their babies. They will be leaving the nest before I know it! Right now, they are keeping their parents on the go constantly looking for insects to feed their hungry youngsters.

Last night while I was hunting moths I saw something on the porch light that looked like a dead leaf. I knew that couldn't be, so I got my jar and caught it and coaxed it onto the sheet. I'm getting better at this every night! :) The critter turned out to be a Trumpet Vine Moth, a very strange creature indeed. I also got a good photo of a Cottonwood Leafminer Moth (left), not an easy thing to do because they are only 3 mm long!

I also noticed a moth that had something attached to its eyes. It was light yellow and on a little stalk. When the moth flew from the window to the carport, I was able to get a better photo of the "parasite" thing. Of course, I had to lay on my stomach to get the picture! When I saw it from the front I could see that the thing had split open and 2 yellow spheres were visible. I don't know if they are eggs from a parasitic insect or what. If I find out, I'll post the information.

I also saw a funny looking planthopper on the wall. I'm always amazed when I zoom in on a little insect with my 105 mm macro lens, it opens up a whole new world. The wings are HUGE in comparison to its body size!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mother Nature's Fireworks

Last night as we were driving home from a trip to Bristol, we noticed lightning flashing inside a thunderhead cloud (a.k.a. cumulonimbus). It was hanging over the Cumberland Mountains north of Oak Ridge. We pulled off on a sideroad that was above the trees so I could get a movie of the flashes. At the end of this movie, you'll see a nice one and hear that it doesn't take much to get me excited! :) We were several miles away, so we could watch and enjoy it safely.