I had a new visitor at critter trap near my garden. This is the first time I have seen a fox in the neighborhood for nearly 25 years. At that time they were wiped out by rabies. Afterwards, the rabbit population exploded. This year I have only seen one rabbit, and wondered what predator was keeping the rabbit population down.
While moving some of the wood being used build the stairway to my patio, I noticed some holes in the ground with a relatively large cicada larva. It had spent the last 13 or 17 years in the ground, and is waiting for a rain storm before crawling to the nearest tree. There it will crawl up and got through the final metamorphosis to the insect phase. We can expect the loud noise of the cicada in the near future as they look for a mate.
Later in the afternoon, I saw a scruffy Cardinal at the bird feeder. Probably an immature bird just getting its adult red colored feathers. There were a large number of deer in the backyard. At least four fawns with spots, four or more doe’s, and one buck with its new antlers.
After dark, I could see both the waxing gibbous moon and mars peaking in and out of the clouds. I couldn’t get both in the field of view with a Nikon D4 camera and 600 mm lens. Switching to a Nikon D850 camera and 500 mm lens I was just barely able to get both in the same image. The image of the moon was sharper with the Nikon D850 camera since it was shot with the mirror up, silent mode. With the exposure being used, Mars was just barely visible as a disk.
The Monarch Butterfly is back in my wildflower garden. It likes the Zinnia flowers. Images taken with three different camera lens combos (Nikon D5 camera and 70-200 mm f/2.8 lens; Nikon D850 camera and 105 mm f/1.4 lens; and Fuji X-H1 camera and 80 mm f/2.8 macro lens).
Another clear night and I set up three cameras. Two to record firefly trails, and the other to record the nighttime sky for star trails. I still need to do some testing, but it seems that the Nikon sensors do a better job with low light images (less sensor noise). And among the Nikon sensors, the D810a camera does better with exposures over 30 seconds. In addition to the star trails, I also did a time-lapse video of the night sky.
First sighting of a Clearwing Hummingbird Moth this year. Last year I saw them on the Rhododendron flowers, but those shrubs were damaged by snow and early spring storms. This year they appear to like the same Zinnia blooms that have also attracted a Monarch Butterfly. They also like the Wild Bergamot flowers. Individual images in the slide show can be viewed here.