Popcorn or pollen?!

flower hibiscus 1

Doesn’t the pollen look like popcorn? Hibiscus must be an ancient plant. The flowers are amazing!  The red circles are the stigmas and they are perched on the styles (female parts) while the popcorn is the anther perched on the filament (male parts). Wouldn’t you know the popcorn is male? The anther produces pollen ( male reproductive cells). Now you know who to blame for all that sneezing!

flower hibiscus 2

Morning photo to compare with evening photo above.

flower hibiscus 3

Is that dramatic or what?! You don’t need a magnifying glass to study this plant’s reproductive parts, just a comfortable bench and an iced tea.

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Raccoons love Whole Foods!

Raccoons eat insects

Guess what this raccoon had for dinner last night. Raccoons have a varied diet, similar to ours. Raccoons eat berries, other fruits, nuts, grains, and vegetables. They also eat insects, eggs, poultry, rats, squirrels, small livestock, birds, fish, snakes, craw fish, worms, frogs, and mollusks. Additionally, raccoons will eat pet food, carrion, and human garbage.

Raccoon 1

You can tell it was a raccoon meal because they are so tidy. Craw fish remains from another feast are similarly displayed. Did you guess what raccoon had for dinner last night?

 

insect praying mantis 1

Oh dear…

It’s a boy! Sexing Monarch butterflies!

Insect Monarch

This Monarch butterfly is a boy! You can tell because there is a small black dot on his hindwing (lower wing). Look for it on the narrow vein close to the butterfly’s abdomen (back end of his body).  Who ever thought sexing butterflies could be so easy?

Insect Monarch 2

Here is a shot of the underside of the hindwing. This Monarch is enjoying nectar from wing stem sunflowers. Find some tasty flowers and enjoy butterfly watching while the weather is still warm and wonderful.

“Starving” osprey chick

Bird osprey chick hungry

Red Eye is screaming at top of her lungs from her nest-fortress. Both of her parents are in southern red oak above her eating channel catfish. Unlike nests where there are more than one chick fighting for food, she will enjoy the remains of both parents’ fishes.

bird osprey chick scope shot

This gives you an idea of what the original photo looked like, shot through telescope. She is perched on top of nest. Nest box alone is about 3 inches deep. Her nest is a true fortress.

Guess which osprey chick has been fed!

Baby birds scream until they are too full to move. So an osprey chick with a full stomach is quiet.

bird osprey chick full 2

Red Eye is so full she can focus on grooming. But there is still an osprey survival lesson in progress. Mom retrieved the scrap of fish Red Eye didn’t finish in the nest, brought it up to her favorite eating branch and is now demonstrating that there was more food to be had from Red Eye’s discards.

bird osprey chick full 4

Red Eye is observing mom’s thoroughness. Maybe next time there will be fewer left-overs for mom.