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Following the Butterfly

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The first pipevine swallowtail shows up on the cardinal flower, 7/31/12.

Meanwhile, back in my yard, the fun never stops. Blogging is like following the butterfly. And I think that that's part of its appeal. You want to see what happens next, however random. Well, rest assured it's still all happening in my backyard zoo. The action wasn't limited to one July afternoon! The challenge is winnowing out all the good stuff, editing it, cropping it, getting it ready, finding time to whip it into shape for presentation. The greater challenge is fitting in all the stuff you really MUST blog about to fulfill obligations, while the durn redstarts and swallowtails are flittering just outside your window. South African birding or backyard? Ack! Can't choose! So....Both!

Some like it shallow, like this little peachstart (what Bill calls young male redstarts).

Bluebird dad is looking mighty worn, too, like his little brown mate in a previous post. He's ready for a molt, but he's got two boys and a girl about to fledge (8/7) in the front yard box. Then he'll finish feeding them for another three weeks, and only then will he drop into the Barco-lounger and have hisself a well-earned beer and a good molt. Three broods this season, whew! How's he going to pay for all that college?

You had to mention college. You mean I have to take them all around to look at schools this fall?

Yes. In a flock. Show them the Spicebush School down by the creek. And don't forget Sumac U. It's right out the meadow; they could live at home and commute.

The rare spurred cardinal. Not sure how both these little underwing coverts got symmetrically turned out, but you can be sure I'll be watching for this girl to see if this aberration persists over days or even months. In my experience, a bird can show a turned feather for quite some time, often until it's molted out. I like this! She is workin' those spurs!

A young ruby-throat, annoyed by leaves in front of his Salvia guarantica "Black and Blue," takes matters into his own tiny claws and clings to the leaf while feeding. Oh, I love moments like this. Innovation comes from the young of mind.

For to those who've suggested a supertyduper webcam for Indigo Hill to capture moments like these...well, it's still a distant dream, because we are as yet in the grasp of the cruel Overlord known as Hughes.Net which, having a monopoly as the only Interwebs provider in much of rural Washington County, feels free to charge us nearly $100 a month for our Internet, yet limits us to 475 MB per day in downloads. It's slow and spotty, the stuff of weekly cranky calls from the Peasants to our Overlord to complain. "Dave" in Mumbai always ends our calls by asking me if there's anything more he can do for me. Oh, the temptation...

Frinstance, I've had to go back five times and re-upload the photos for this post alone when the connection was broken. I can only listen to Spotify for a blissful two hours a day, and if anybody watches videos (if they have the patience to wait for them to load) it sends us over the brink immediately. No software downloads possible, no updates...they all eat our bandwidth. And then when you cross the Megabyte Bridge of Doom, having stolen the Troll's Gold by downloading more than 475 MB of material in 24 hours, the Web is down for another 24 hours until you  tithe $11.00 to the Overlord. On top of the $93 he's already taking out of you every month for the awesome Interwebs service described above. You can tell it's down because it goes from Slow to Slowest.

Get the picture?

If it sounds medieval, it is. It's better than dialup, I'll give it that.

Soooo...nice idea, but ain't no way we have the Webpower to support a birdcam. You'll have to settle for still photos until a magic leprechaun comes throwing gold coins and gives us Peasants some real broadband that we can afford. We can't even afford the lousy service we do get. 

Oh my. Did I just rant? I seem to...I am sorry. This is a happy shiny place full of bathing birds and clinging hummingbirds. They slip out, those Rants.  Usually when Art rams its head against Technology, or lack thereof. Hughes.Net is boasting about its new satellite (Wow! It looks so high-tech! So many doo-dads on it!) that it claims will be orbiting Ohio as of this fall, giving us all the exact thing we want. Which would be decent, fast Internet service.  Maybe they'll let us download 500 MB/day then, and charge us $150 a month. To pay for the new satellite, you know.

Oops, I did it again.

Oh look! Stackup at the Spa!

I'm done now, I really am. Except that I have to tell you about the 71st species to bathe in the Spa. Next time.


I'm not going to lie -- I like your backyard posts the best. They give me so many ideas for my someday-yard, and in the meantime, I get to pretend I'm there for a while :)

Julie, can you help me understand the spurred cardinal? Spurs on birds are on their feet, no? But your photos always show us what you are discussing, so I need a pointer on the spurred ness of the cardinal. Thanks a bunch for your posts. They lift me higher.

Late last week I almost messaged you to help me ID a new bird out back. You answered my question right here! Young male Redstart!!! Yay!

Rant on, sista.

We are looking at satellite internet as we are stuck with dial up (2 to 3 k speed).
It’s only $300 to sign up, $60 for installation and $60 a month for 20 MB a MONTH, forget per day.

I love the bird spa!! Just an FYI, not a commercial- I too live where I was stuck with dial-up, which one just might as well do without. I found Verizon Mobile Broadband which has been great. Not sure about the tech aspects for a blog,etc., but might be worth checking out. I think it uses cell towers rather than satellite and doesn't cost as much.
Please don't cause us to worry about not having a Julie blog to look for each day! :-(

Posted by Karen S. August 23, 2012 at 8:17 AM

JP--just click on the picture and you'll get an enlarged version. Then you'll be able to see the "spurs."

Mary, that's a mighty nice suburban yard bird, but 'tis the season! Keepa you eyes open, if you can take them off RUDY for FIVE MINUTES.

Rondeau, I hang my head in shame, pointing north to my Canadian brother. What am I complaining about??

Karen, we're as yet a bit sparse on cell towers out here, and what they're talking about doing (and have been for years) is putting some transmitters on water towers and the like so they won't have to put up more cell towers. I'll keep my ears open and look into it. Thank you!

Erin, I like 'em best, too. But we're going to do some prancing around South Africa this fall and winter, and I guess you'll just have to put up with babeh zebras. ; )

There is nothing wrong with a cleansing rant. It makes room for pleasant thoughts.

Yes! Hughesnet ditto rant!

Julie, you just made me laugh as I sit here behind my tripod with my camera trained on the hummer feeder and bird bath in my own backyard. I too, love your backyard posts but I have to admit that I am totally jealous of all the species you get. I guess it's the trade off between the country and suburbia, because I am spoiled by the technology available to me as I write this on my iPhone! Thanks for sharing with us.

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