The Mourning Cloak is an uncommon sighting here as butterflies go. Sulphur butterflies, Gulf Fritillaries, and even Monarchs are more common. I understand that the adults feed on the sap of oak and willow trees. Peppermint willows (Agonis flexuosa) weren't specifically named but perhaps those trees, which have a prominent place in my landscape, were the attraction.
|I understand that it's Mourning Cloak mating season and males will hang out in sunny open areas to wait for receptive females|
Last week, I also had a couple sightings of a bird I didn't recognize. In the first instance, I saw it locked in an apparent standoff with a crow as I carried out some trash. (Crows are remarkably large!) I assumed that the crow was after the smaller bird and clapped my hands to send it off but the smaller bird took off after it, lunging at it several times while the two birds were still within my sight. The next day, I caught a couple of photos of the same bird at the backyard fountain.
Aided by a photo-key to local birds picked up when I was in the wild bird food store recently, I determined that these were Northern Mockingbirds (Mimus polyglottos). I read that they're notorious for harassing other birds in defense of their territories. They also mimic the calls of other birds.
|He does look fierce, despite his size|
These aren't my only wildlife sightings, just the ones I was able to photograph. Monday morning I looked out the window and saw a coyote skulking down the dirt path behind my backyard border. I banged on the window a few times and it disappeared, presumably exiting down the back slope into the canyon area. Although I'm well aware that coyotes are in the area, this was a little too close for comfort. My cat, Pipig, is no longer allowed to roam each morning when I clean out her box. Needless to say, she isn't pleased.
For other Wednesday vignettes, visit our host, Anna of Flutter & Hum.
All material © 2012-2016 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party