Bluebirds outside my window

I was making monthly visits to see my mother last year when I noticed that one of her bluebird boxes was occupied. She was in and out of hospitals for a while, and I was in and out of state. But I managed few peeks at them now and then.

Dad or a sibling seemed always to be on the lookout. Whether they were looking for danger, or searching for bugs, I wasn’t sure. But they usually saw me and my camera, and weren’t afraid to let me know it.

daddy lookout
Dad watching from the power line.
bluebird helper
‘I see you,’ big brother seemed to say to me.
big bros gotcha
Nearly every time I walked outside, I saw bright eyes looking at me.

Aside from all the people watching the bluebird family engaged in, they were just as busy catching bugs. Crawling bugs, flying bugs – I’m not sure how they found them all.

have a worm
This older sibling checked for predators before offering the babies a tasty worm.
pesky bug
But some bugs proved easier to handle than others.
double trouble
‘You go first.’ ‘No, YOU go first.’
lucky bug
This little wasp didn’t know how lucky he was.
suppers ready
Daddy stayed busy, but I never saw Mama.
bugs yum
Once you catch it, you gotta eat it.
daddys home
Checkin’ on the babies.
head in
‘You OK in there?’
whered those babies go
An older sibling, careful to keep an eye on me.

I wanted to see the fledglings, but I had to leave, and when I got back a week later, the family had moved on.

I did manage a tiny glimpse at one of them, though.

hungry baby
Waiting impatiently.

 

 

 

 

More to love at the Greenville Zoo

I took dozens of pictures at the Greenville Zoo last summer, and published a number of posts about my visits: one on apes, another on big cats, and a third on the zoo’s giraffes.

But there are a few other animals (and birds) that didn’t fit in any of those categories. They are worth a mention, too.

The giant anteater is fascinating to watch, and at first glance, due to its varied coloration and big, bushy tail, I found it hard to figure out what I was looking at!

giant anteater 2
This oddly put together animal is a giant anteater.

The rhea, a flightless bird related to the ostrich, is an outsized critter, too.

rhea and baby
Baby rhea kept close to its mama.

The zoo includes a small lagoon, a delightful find for bird lovers like me. I found some breathtaking black swans . . .

black swan couple
Love the curly feathers!
black swan
Well, hello there!

There was even a sweet pair of mallard ducks. I spied them nestling together when I heard the Mr quietly sharing sweet words with his lady.

mallard and mate
If Mr. Mallard hadn’t been talking so softly to his mate, I would’ve walked right past this couple.

 

 

 

 

 

Holding on and catching up

It’s funny how life unfolds. One minute, I’m creating a blog because I’m bored and miss writing, and the next thing you know, I’m back to writing part-time for pay. On my off days, I sometimes travel to spend time with my husband, and I also drive out of state to care for my Mom.

Enter a couple of medical emergencies, and I’ve relocated to become a full-time caregiver, and the writing has just about stopped.

I haven’t quit taking pictures, however, although I’m away from my familiar photo-editing software. As things continue to improve, that should change soon, and in the meantime, I’m still learning — about my camera, digital photography, and life in general. I’ve had to give up my zoo trips for now, but I’m rediscovering birds. It’s amazing what a few seeds and a hummingbird feeder can bring to a deck or a yard! (See the young tufted titmouse, above.)

I have enough photos to write probably three or four posts, but it will be a few more weeks until I can starting blogging on a regular basis again. In the meantime, you can keep up with me @ddiljak on Instagram. Here are some of my recent pictures:

Monarch butterfly
This monarch butterfly (on milkweed) surprised me on a recent morning walk.
Ruby-throated hummingboard
Mom’s flowers, and the new hummingbird feeder, have attracted at least four of these fiesty beauties.
Flowring allium
An allium in Mom’s yard, opening earlier this summer.

Going ape at the Greenville Zoo

I’ve never spent much time watching or learning about monkeys or apes. The first fact I remember learning about either was that spider monkeys bite (according to the neighbor down the street, who was happy to show hers off, as long as you didn’t touch the cage).

But lately I’ve paid more attention, and a recent stop at the Greenville Zoo, I stopped to watch several. The orangutan curled up in a blanket was adorable. I’ve seen them swinging by their great, orange, hairy arms before, but not snuggling like a toddler getting ready for a nap.

The red-tailed, or Schmidt’s guenon was, for me, something new, and I didn’t even notice its famous long tail. I was instead drawn to its colorful face.

red-tailed guenon
Red-tailed guenons are from Africa. Apparently, they are well known for making faces at humans.

The black and white ruffed lemurs were acrobatic, and excitable, at least when it came to dinner time.

Black and white ruffed lemurs are critically endangered, but do well in captivity.
Lemurs make good use of their limbs, and their tails.

And, I stopped to watch some gibbons, who, I learned are a noisy lot, too. Their calls can be heard two miles away.

Gibbon with teething baby.

My apologies to Walter

There’s really no rhyme or reason when I visit a zoo. I may have a certain animal in mind I want to see; if it’s been more than a few months since I’ve seen a big cat I may head in that direction first, but mostly, I meander around and stop whenever something catches my attention.

I was moseying along at the Greenville Zoo last month when I spotted a beautiful Masai giraffe. Actually, there were three, but one was really tall and sort of wandering out by himself, so I stopped. I looked. And he looked at me.

miles hello there
Miles seems to love attention.

I looked some more. And so did he.

miles mmm
Alas, visitors are not invited to feed the giraffes at the Greenville Zoo.

We chatted. Or I did. I think he asked me for some food. In his own way.

miles itch
Miles considers his next move.

I told him he was beautiful, and I would love to feed him, but it was against the rules.

no food really
No food, really?

He grew bored after a while, and walked away. I enjoyed our chat, and reluctantly, got ready to move on. But not before another picture or two.

miles profile
Miles looks good from any direction.

miles standing.JPG

I noticed the name of the male giraffe on a sign as I left, so I assumed it was Walter. I posted some pictures of him on Instagram and a zoo page I follow. But on reviewing the zoo website, I found that Walter, for breeding purposes, had moved on to another zoo. This, apparently, was Miles, who had been hand-reared before relocating to Greenville. That accounts for his open manner, I think.

Walter, I apologize. And Miles, I hope we meet again.