Wednesday (15-July-2020) — New Jersey

Summertime Backyard Nature in New Jersey.

Birds of the Day: Gray Catbird, Northern Cardinal, American Crow, Tufted Titmouse, and House Finch.


Birds of the Day. Individual images from this slide show can be viewed at my PhotoShelter Gallery.

Wildflowers of the Day: Pink Poppy, Red Poppy, and Teazel


Wildflowers of the Day. Individual images from this slide show can be viewed at my PhotoShelter Gallery.

Butterflies of the Day: Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Monarch, and Silver-spotted Skipper.


Butterflies of the Day. Individual images from this slide show can be viewed at my PhotoShelter Gallery.

There definitely are two types of Clearwing moths were present. They prefer pink to purple flowers (Bee-Balm, Lemon-Mint, Bergamot, Larkspur, Delphinium). The Clearwing Hummingbird moth (Hemaris thysbe) is larger, and has light-colored front legs. The Clearwing Snowberry moth (Hemaris diffinis) is smaller, and has dark/black colored front legs. I am trying different camera lens combinations to see which is the best to capture images of these moths.


Clearwing Hummingbird Moths (Hemaris thysbe) captured with a Nikon D4 camera and 200-500 mm f/5.6 VR lens. Individual images from this slide show can be viewed at my PhotoShelter Gallery.


Clearwing Hummingbird Moths (Hemaris thysbe) captured with a Nikon D5 camera and 80-400 mm VR lens. Individual images from this slide show can be viewed at my PhotoShelter Gallery.


Clearwing Hummingbird Moths (Hemaris thysbe) captured with a Nikon D850 camera and 70-300 mm VR lens. Individual images from this slide show can be viewed at my PhotoShelter Gallery.


Clearwing Snowberry Moths (Hemaris diffinis) captured with a Nikon D850 camera and 70-300 mm VR lens. Individual images from this slide show can be viewed at my PhotoShelter Gallery.

NOTE: IF YOU ARE HAVING PROBLEMS VIEWING THE SLIDE SHOWS PLEASE TRY A DIFFERENT BROWSER AND LET ME KNOW WHICH BROWSER YOU ARE USING. THANKS!!!

Daily Electric Energy Used (54.6 kWh) from Sense. Daily Solar Electric Energy Produced (72.0 kWh) from Sense and SolSystems. Sun and more clouds. A surplus of 17.4 kWh.

Monday (13-July-2020) — New Jersey

Summertime Backyard Nature in New Jersey.

The first day this summer that I observed Monarch and Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterflies in one of the backyard wildflower meadows. They are attracted to and feeding on Thistle and Bee Balm (Lemon-Mint, Bergamot) flowers. I also observed my first Clearwing Hummingbird (Hemaris thysbe) moth of the year.

Monarch Butterfly on a Thistle flower. Image taken with a Nikon N1V3 camera and 70-300 mm VR lens (DAVID J MATHRE)
Monarch Butterfly on a Thistle flower. Image taken with a Nikon N1V3 camera and 70-300 mm VR lens (DAVID J MATHRE)
Monarch Butterfly on a Thistle flower. Image taken with a Nikon N1V3 camera and 70-300 mm VR lens (DAVID J MATHRE)
Monarch Butterfly on a Thistle flower. Image taken with a Nikon N1V3 camera and 70-300 mm VR lens (DAVID J MATHRE)

NOTE: IF YOU ARE HAVING PROBLEMS VIEWING THE FOLLOWING SLIDE SHOWS PLEASE TRY A DIFFERENT BROWSER AND LET ME KNOW WHICH BROWSER YOU ARE USING. THANKS!!!


Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly. Individual images in the slideshow can be viewed at my PhotoShelter Gallery.


Clearwing Hummingbird (Hemaris thysbe) Moth. Individual images in the slideshow can be viewed at my PhotoShelter Gallery.


Clearwing Hummingbird (Hemaris thysbe) Moth. Individual images in the slideshow can be viewed at my PhotoShelter Gallery.


Clearwing Hummingbird (Hemaris thysbe) Moth. Individual images in the slideshow can be viewed at my PhotoShelter Gallery.


Clearwing Hummingbird (Hemaris thysbe) Moth. Individual images in the slideshow can be viewed at my PhotoShelter Gallery.

Daily Electric Energy Used (54.6 kWh) from Sense. Daily Solar Electric Energy Produced (80.2 kWh) from Sense and SolSystems. Much more sun and a few clouds. A surplus of 25.68 kWh.


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Tuesday (20-August-2019) — New Jersey

Backyard Summertime Nature in New Jersey.

Daily Walkabout, today with a Nikon D850 camera and 200-500 mm f/5.6 VR lens. This is the highest resolution camera in my collection, and the 200-500 mm VR lens light enough to shoot handheld for some time. Lots of butterflies in the wildflower meadow. Silver-spotted Skipper, a pair of frisky Common Buckeye, a Monarch, and a Sulphur.

Silver-spotted Skipper Butterfly on a Zinnia Flower. Image taken with a Nikon D850 camera and 200-500 mm f/5.6 VR lens (ISO 320, 500 mm, f/5.6, 1/1000 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)
Silver-spotted Skipper Butterfly on a Zinnia Flower. Image taken with a Nikon D850 camera and 200-500 mm f/5.6 VR lens (ISO 320, 500 mm, f/5.6, 1/1000 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)
Pair of Frisky Common Buckeye Butterflies on a Zinnia Flower. Image taken with a Nikon D850 camera and 200-500 mm f/5.6 VR lens (ISO 320, 500 mm, f/5.6, 1/1000 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)
Pair of Frisky Common Buckeye Butterflies on a Zinnia Flower. Image taken with a Nikon D850 camera and 200-500 mm f/5.6 VR lens (ISO 320, 500 mm, f/5.6, 1/1000 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)
Pair of Frisky Common Buckeye Butterflies on a Zinnia Flower. Male with the tattered wings being rejected. Image taken with a Nikon D850 camera and 200-500 mm f/5.6 VR lens (ISO 560, 500 mm, f/5.6, 1/1000 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)
Pair of Frisky Common Buckeye Butterflies on a Zinnia Flower. Male with the tattered wings being rejected. Image taken with a Nikon D850 camera and 200-500 mm f/5.6 VR lens (ISO 560, 500 mm, f/5.6, 1/1000 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)
Monarch Butterfly on a Cosmos Flower. Image taken with a Nikon D850 camera and 200-500 mm f/5.6 VR lens (ISO 320, 500 mm, f/5.6, 1/1000 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)
Monarch Butterfly on a Cosmos Flower. Image taken with a Nikon D850 camera and 200-500 mm f/5.6 VR lens (ISO 320, 500 mm, f/5.6, 1/1000 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)
Sulphur Butterfly on an Orange Flower. Image taken with a Nikon D850 camera and 200-500 mm f/5.6 VR lens (ISO 320, 500 mm, f/5.6, 1/1000 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)
Sulphur Butterfly on an Orange Flower. Image taken with a Nikon D850 camera and 200-500 mm f/5.6 VR lens (ISO 320, 500 mm, f/5.6, 1/1000 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)

Daily Electric Energy Used (62.3 kWh) from Sense and Daily Solar Electric Energy Produced (61.2 kWh) from SolSystems and Locus Energy. The WaterFurnace geothermal HVAC had to work hard (25.6 kWh) because the temperature outside went to 90°F. Daily net deficit 1.1 kWh.

One note — the WaterFurnace Symphony software indicated the system used 14 kWh, however the Sense Energy monitor indicated that the geothermal heat pump used 25.6 kWh. I tend to believe the Sense numbers since they more closely the energy being recorded at the external power company (PSE&G) meters. I’ve asked the WaterFurnace folks in the past about the discrepancy, but they didn’t have a good answer. The Sense folks told me they thought that the WaterFurnace/Symphony system was only measuring one phase of the energy even though the system is powered by the 220V circut (using two phases). I wish an electrical engineer that understands this better would correct me here.

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Monday (19-August-2019) — New Jersey

Backyard Summertime Nature in New Jersey.

Daily Walkabout, today with a Nikon Df camera and 70-300 mm VR lens. The thing I like about this camera is that it light for a DSLR, and has the same full-frame 35 mm sensor as the Nikon D4 camera. I have to admit that the camera failed on me once while in Antarctica when the shutter failed. The 70-300 mm lens is also relatively light. This post is about the butterflies. Great Spangled Fritillary, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Common Buckeye, Painted Lady, Sulphur, Silver-spotted Skipper, Frisky Skippers, Monarch, and Spicebush Swallowtail.


Click on the above image to access the individual images in the slideshow.


Daily Electric Energy Used (66.1 kWh) from Sense and Daily Solar Electric Energy Produced (65.5 kWh) from SolSystems and Locus Energy. Fewer clouds and more sun. The WaterFurnace geothermal HVAC had to work harder (25.6 kWh) because the temperature outside went above 90°F. Daily net deficit 0.6 kWh.

One note — the WaterFurnace Symphony software indicated the system used 16 kWh, however the Sense Energy monitor indicated that the geothermal heat pump used 25.6 kWh. I tend to believe the Sense numbers since they more closely the energy being recorded at the external power company (PSE&G) meters. I’ve asked the WaterFurnace folks in the past about the discrepancy, but they didn’t have a good answer. The Sense folks told me they thought that the WaterFurnace/Symphony system was only measuring one phase of the energy even though the system is powered by the 220V circut (using two phases). I wish an electrical engineer that understands this better would correct me here.


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Sunday (18-August-2019) — New Jersey

Backyard Summertime Nature in New Jersey.

Daily Walkabout, today with a Leica CL camera and 55-135 mm lens. The thing I like about this camera is that it is lightweight and potentially a great travel camera. Most of the images were taken at 135 mm (field of view equivalent to 200 mm on a 35 mm sensor camera). It doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles of some of my other cameras. I do need to take it out periodically just to maintain the brain and muscle memory to use it effectively. This is the longest zoom lens for the Leica TL and CL cameras. The Goldfinches are all over the smaller Sunflowers. They want the seeds fresh. A lot of butterflies were out working the wildflowers (Painted Lady, Sulphur, a pair of frisky Spicebush Swallowtails, and a pair of Monarch’s mating). The Monarch’s  were flying around paired together and I finally caught them resting in a pine tree from a distance.  I haven’t seen a hummingbird moth recently. Then some flowers (Backlit Red Sunflower, Bee Balm, a Red flower I haven’t identified yet, Partridge Pea with Pea Pods, a Zinnia, and a pair of small Yellow Sunflowers. Finally, the poisonous Poke Weed berries.


Click on the above image to access the individual images in the slide show.



Click on the above image to access the individual images in the slide show.


Sulphur Butterfly on a Zinnia Flower. Image taken with a Leica CL camera and 55-135 mm lens (DAVID J MATHRE)
Sulphur Butterfly on a Zinnia Flower. Image taken with a Leica CL camera and 55-135 mm lens (DAVID J MATHRE)


Click on the above image to access the individual images in the slide show.


Pair of Monarch Butterflies Mating. Image taken with a Leica CL camera and 55-135 mm lens (DAVID J MATHRE)
Pair of Monarch Butterflies Mating. Image taken with a Leica CL camera and 55-135 mm lens (DAVID J MATHRE)
Monarch Butterfly. Image. taken with a Leica CL camera and 55-135 mm lens (DAVID J MATHRE)
Monarch Butterfly. Image. taken with a Leica CL camera and 55-135 mm lens (DAVID J MATHRE)


Click on the above image to access the individual images in the slide show.


Poison Poke Weed Berries Image taken with a Leica CL camera and 55-135 mm lens (DAVID J MATHRE)
Poison Poke Weed Berries Image taken with a Leica CL camera and 55-135 mm lens (DAVID J MATHRE)

Daily Electric Energy Used (61.1 kWh) from Sense and Daily Solar Electric Energy Produced (51.2 kWh) from SolSystems and Locus Energy. More clouds and bit less Sun. The WaterFurnace geothermal HVAC had to work harder (25.7 kWh) because the temperature outside went above 90°F. Daily net deficit 9.9 kWh. Weekly totals  412 kWh used, 350 kWh produced. So far still ahead for the month of August, but will need some more sunny days

One note — the WaterFurnace Symphony software indicated the system used 14 kWh, however the Sense Energy monitor indicated that the geothermal heat pump used 25.7 kWh. I tend to believe the Sense numbers since they more closely the energy being recorded at the external power company (PSE&G) meters. I’ve asked the WaterFurnace folks in the past about the discrepancy, but they didn’t have a good answer. The Sense folks told me they thought that the WaterFurnace/Symphony system was only measuring one phase of the energy even though the system is powered by the 220V circut (using two phases). I wish an electrical engineer that understands this better would correct me here.

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