Experimenting in Summer all photos in Williamson County, more than half in my backyard
Anole lizard ❤️
Male lesser (black-backed) goldfinch on beebalm.
Young American Robin. He knew just where to pose for good aesthetic composition.
Datura seed pod. Huge beautiful white flowers received these “porcupine” seed piñatas.
Scary looking and huge, this elephant mosquito is actually a pollinator who’s larvae actually eat other mosquito larvae!
Four-spotted Pennant. Dragonflies and damselflies are great to have around, they are super mosquito predators. However, when people spray the yard for mosquitoes, they also kill these guys and then the mosquitoes come back even faster.
I got rid of my hummingbird feeder‘s and only use native hummer plants like this Turk’s Cap and coral honeysuckle. This is either a juvenile or female Black-chinned Hummer.
Obligatory cardinal photo.
Carolina wrens live in my yard and sing their cheery, very loud “teakettle teakettle teakettle” song year round.
I love the exquisite detail on this checkered setwing dragonfly
Superb dusk-singing cicada on Turks Cap
Cicada exuvia on fall obedient plant
These huge wasps are called cicada killers, and their name is apt. They freak out a lot of people but almost never sting (The males don’t even have stingers). They are much more interested in nabbing cicadas and then feeding them to their young underground.
A picture from a recent bird walk, which I lead at Legacy Hills Park every first Thursday and third Wednesday of the month. See if you can find the scissortail flycatcher and a cardinal among the bluebirds!
Common whitetail dragonfly, male.
My favorite wildflower, Eryngo can be found along tranquility trail near the river crossing.
Fall obedient plant is great in a shady, somewhat moist place.
This Gigas Longhorn Beetle mimics a tarantula hawk wasp, especially in flight. So no one messes with it even though it’s harmless!
This endangered golden-cheeked warbler finds it’s very specialized breeding habitat very close to Sun City, near lake Georgetown. I was lucky to find this guy for some birding clients, since this late in the season they are mostly silent (the birds, not the birders)
Green heron fishing at Devine Lake Park in Leander
This caterpillar will turn into a beautiful gulf fritillary butterfly. Caterpillars can strip the plants, but they usually manage to leave enough growth for the flowers to provide nectar for the adult butterflies.
Our native Texas star hibiscus
Female house finch in an interesting pose
Young male redwing blackbird
My friend Keith in a pensive moment
Ladderback woodpecker on a homemade feeder. I use a product that contains suet and peanut butter as well as Cayenne pepper. This does a great job of discouraging squirrels, but birds can’t taste hot pepper. In fact, the hot pepper plants want birds, and not mammals, to eat their fruits so that they will disperse their seeds widely.
Texas leaf footed bugs on my Datura
Tiny but exquisite, this little mint moth likes my Tropical Sage
Mail Neon skimmer guarding his pond.
Female neon skimmer depositing eggs in our pool. The male hovers over her the whole time, guarding her from other males.
Painted buntings are remarkably common, although they can be challenging to see
I had some fun playing with the colors on this Passion flower. Of course they are beautiful even if not photo shopped!
Pearl crescent and Phaon crescent butterflies are small and easily overlooked, but they are common here in summer
Hard to miss this queen butterfly, however! This species requires Greg’s mistflower to reproduce. Everyone should grow some in their yard!
There are many lovely plants that grow wild around us and that would make excellent landscape plants. This Prairie Verbena is one example
Our new puppy Retro has a lot of energy and is keeping us very busy with training classes and such. He’s learning to love the water! We’re hoping he will become a dock diving pro!
Nothing is more photogenic than a road runner. The next few photo and the one at the end of this gallery are of a pair that hangs around near my home.
Wild turkeys hanging out in a neighbors yard. Note the spurs on the Tom, they use those in fierce fights for females. In the other picture the male is courting the female. He walked around and around her until I got dizzy watching. She walked away, unimpressed.
This great-tailed grackle seems a bit resentful of me taking his picture.
I was fortunate enough to see the legend at a rally at the capital recently
Male summer Tanager.
Clearwing moth caterpillar. If you think this is impressive, you should see the adult!
Vultures are still probably my favorite bird subjects. Note in the closeup that you can see sky through his nostrils!
Black and yellow garden spider, also called zigzag spider and zipper spider and a bunch of other names. Completely harmless, she gets huge! The zigzag structure is called a stabilimentum. She constructs it to warn birds not to fly into her web. That saves them both hassle and wasted energy. And bugs can’t see it!
Nice to get recognition for trying something unconventional. My goal since I moved here was to support Wildlife, starting in my own yard using wildlife friendly native plants. Deer resistance can be somewhat limiting, but I have found a number of beautiful plants that deer leave alone, and other ways to discourage them. And a fenced backyard helps, as long as they don’t jump over the fence! You can check out the details of my landscape and plant business, as well as my bird guiding business, and lots of garden and landscaping tips as well, on my website, martinbyhower.com