Friday, September 4, 2015


By far, the most exciting thing to happen in our yard is what happened inside this box that Ken built:

A screech owl moved in!

One April night, my sister in law and her family came by and noticed 3 screech owls checking out the owl condo. While outside a few days later, I saw some movement around the opening of the box. Then, finally, when it got dark enough, I saw this:

We have a tenant!

Every day, around 7:30 at night, this cute creature would poke her head out of the box, rock back and forth a bit (as she tried to squeeze her plump self out of the little hole) and fly away. Then, one day, she started sitting in the hole of the box all day. We figured something was going on in there, so we waited for her to leave one night and Ken climbed up the ladder to look in the box and found this:

Squishy overload!!

Meanwhile, on the other side of the yard (but with a good view of the tree containing the babies), we found who we believe to be the dad:

View from the bathroom window

We noticed him mainly because I went it to take a shower and heard and saw a mocking bird acting weird, flying back and forth and screeching. When I called Ken in, we saw the screech owl, sitting in the tree, minding his own business, trying to ignore the mocking bird. I guess he was too close to her nest!:)

One day, in May, we noticed one of the little ones poking his head out:

He fits a little bit better than his mommy did ;)

We also started noticing a second owl coming to the box at night with food. I believe each adult owl was coming back to feed a baby.

One day, early in the morning, momma owl came out of the box and flew into a nearby tree. Thinking this was really odd behavior, we watched out the kitchen window to see what was going to happen. We saw a little one stick his head out and then start to rock. We recognized that as an owl getting ready to fly, so Ken grabbed his camera, ran outside and caught the whole thing on tape:

I was afraid if I went out there, he'd get nervous and go back into the box, so I watched out the kitchen window and, as a result, wasn't able to capture a good video. Ken has no such fears...thank goodness! :)

As expected, he didn't fly right away, in fact, he sort of stumbled (or fell) out before he was ready I think, but he was out of the box. He walked around the area for a little while until he found a comfortable hiding spot to rest. Momma was never far away. She switched between watching the "toddler" and her condo all day. We're not sure if the other baby was still safe up in the box because we had been away for a few days, so we don't know if this was the first or second baby to leave the nest.

Momma watching us and her baby

She let us get pretty close to her and the baby (once we finally found him). Both owls spent the day in their respective places until night fell and the baby came out for a walk:

Sleepy owl's first night out
That night, we watched as two owls tried to teach this little guy to fly. We were too close and I felt like we were obstructing the lessons, so we went back inside.

We hope to be lucky enough to have the owls come back again next year. Guess Ken will have to build a couple more boxes before April! :)

Sunday, August 30, 2015

We're Back With a Whole New Yard!

Over the hiatus of this blog, Ken and I have traveled the country in a 24' RV (, bought a house in South Florida and gotten married. :)

We spent 3 months fixing up our "handyman special" and have turned our grass-covered yard

into a Certified Wildlife Habitat (it's true...we have the flag to prove it!)

A lot has happened over the past year and a half and for some reason, I haven't been recording it. I will try to go back and recreate the events of the past year as best I can in the posts to come :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

In the Spirit of the Butterflies

Here is a picture I took while playing around with a macro lens Ken bought me years ago and I forgot I had....

Yet Another Caterpillar

Today, we found what I believe to be two Queen Butterfly caterpillars on our milkweed. It looks very similar to the Monarch caterpillar, only it has three....tentacles...antennae...horns...whatever they're called. We put them in the butterfly box and hope to get to see them emerge into beautiful butterflies!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Butterfly Mania

Ken and I built a box to house the monarch caterpillars we've been finding all over the yard. We have learned so much just by watching these wonderful creatures.

We used plywood and screening to make
the walls and added hinges at the top, then we
added a potted milkweed plant.

Here are some random pictures I've taken so far.

This is what the cocoon looks like just before
the butterfly emerges.

These three hatched within minutes of each other.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Pier Aquarium

We went to the St. Petersburg Pier Aquarium today. It's a tiny aquarium, but has some interesting creatures in it. Here's a beautiful seahorse that was hiding in the background. It blended into the background so well, it was very hard to see.


These are called "mermaid purses" and contain baby sharks. I've seen them on TV, but never in person. We could see the tiny tails moving around (the black circles you see are the sharks' bodies).

Some people will be lucky enough to get to see rays in the water, but few will get to see the "secret smiley face" hidden underneath its body, unless you see one in a tank as we did. I couldn't get a picture of them, but you should see the teeth he's got!

I realize that pelicans aren't exactly something that go along with my theme of showing you things you wouldn't ordinarily see in the real world, but this one was hiding behind a pole, looking like it didn't want to be seen....besides, I really liked the picture so I wanted to share it!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The life of a butterfly, part II

The last time I posted about butterflies, I didn't have any pictures of the cocoons. I know how so very disappointed some people must have felt about this. ;) Ken was able to find two cocoons since then:

This is the cocoon from the "passion" butterfly. Unfortunately, I didn't get my lazy self out there fast enough to get the picture WHILE the caterpillar was in there, so this is a picture of the empty shell it left behind.

This is the monarch butterfly's cocoon. Isn't it beautiful? I swear the yellow markings on it sparkle like they've been sprinkled with fairy dust.