Monday, July 6, 2020

Catch a Butterfly or a Tennis Ball


I took Olga to Hampstead Heath yesterday, and I am happy to report that the anti-inflammatory medicine we're giving her seems to be working wonders. She was like a young dog again! No limping, no hesitancy, no dragging her heels. She had a great time and even after we got home she didn't seem to experience the stiffness she sometimes gets after a long walk.

It was a beautiful day, sunny and comfortable. I found quite a few interesting opportunities for photography, including this dragonfly. I saw it in mid-flight and thought, "that looks weird," and then realized why -- it was carrying a cabbage white butterfly. It landed on some weeds and I watched it gnaw that butterfly apart like a paper shredder. It was pretty amazing.


We left it alone and about half an hour later, passing the same spot, I found it having a little post-prandial rest. See the white dust on its body and wings? That's butterfly shrapnel.

I tried to get a video of Olga catching her tennis ball. If I bounce it hard on the ground she'll sometimes leap into the air to catch it as it comes down:


We had mixed results as you can see, but she got a little bit of air on that second attempt. She made two really good jumps when I had the camera off -- of course.


I also saw a couple of comma butterflies, the first ones this season. 

Unfortunately we also had a sad nature experience yesterday evening. We'd just finished Zooming with Dave's friend Annie in Michigan when I went into the garden and found a dead baby bird in one of the trugs Dave uses to collect rainwater. I guess it fell in and couldn't get out again. It was fledging but didn't have full-grown wings -- either a sparrow or a dunnock. I felt terrible, and we've covered the trug to keep that from happening again. I still feel a lead weight in my chest just thinking about it.

It was super-windy yesterday afternoon and all last night. The plants all seem to have survived but I wonder if the wind had something to do with that little bird winding up in the trug. Maybe it tried to land on the edge and got blown in?

17 comments:

gz said...

The many faces of Nature.
The fledgling probably suffered the same fate as the young starling here..exercising young wings when it was windy and not able to hang on

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Has Dave always been into drowning baby birds in trugs? I guess that when he was a small boy he ate earthworms and pulled the wings off butterflies. Some boys are like that.

Andrew said...

Olga looks like a young pup. It's a great photo of the dragonfly. Sad about the bird but that could have happened at a natural pond or whatever.

Moving with Mitchell said...

What exceptional photos of the dragonfly.

So glad Olga's meds are working. She plays like a pup in the video.

As for the bird, I know it's just nature at work, but I understand how hard that is to witness. You are good people!

Mary said...

Happy to hear the meds are working for Olga. Sounds like she appreciated the break in damp weather, too.

Sorry about the bird--I'd feel the same way.

The Padre said...

Long Live Olga And Thanx For The Video - She Is Full Of Personality - Gorgeous Photos As Well - Have A Wonderfully Productive Week Ahead

Cheers

Sharon said...

Olga looks like she's having fun catching the ball. And, the dragonfly with the butterfly is amazing to see. I've never seen one with a catch like that before.

Ms. Moon said...

I've seen dragonflies carry catches and it IS weird looking.
Remember when my little chick drowned in the waterer? I know how you feel. It is very, very sad but these things do happen.

robin andrea said...

Really nice to see that dragonfly there. We haven't seen very many at all this year. Lots of Swallowtail butterflies and cabbage moths. Such a sad story about the young bird.

Red said...

I've found the odd little bird in a trough of water. I think they may be trying to get a drink.

ellen abbott said...

poor little baby.

the fritillaries are migrating here. and a swallowtail was resting on my parsley or maybe laying eggs but by the time I got back with my camera it had gone.

Catalyst said...

I was sitting out on the patio last night playing some music on my smartphone when two mourning doves flew down to the bird bath. At first they appeared to be listening as they were watching me intently but they soon decided I was no threat and got their drinks before flying away.

Edna B said...

Olga looks wonderful. She actually makes you work to get the ball back when you two play ball. Those are great photos of the dragonfly. I'd feel really bad about the tiny bird too. I can't stand to see any animal hurt. You enjoy your day, hugs, Edna B.

jenny_o said...

I'm glad the anti-inflammatory is working for Olga. There's life in the old gal yet :)

Sad about the baby bird. We found a baby mole that had drowned in a container which had filled up with rainwater at our cottage one year. I felt bad for the rest of the day and still feel bad if I think about it. Sometimes I hate nature with a passion. (Other times, love it the same)

The Bug said...

Baby birds have such a high mortality rate, but I still take every death personally :(

My life so far said...

Last year when we got back from holidays I found a woodpecker caught in some netting in my garden. It was dead and I hate to think about how long it was stuck there before it died.

Glad the drugs are helping Olga.

Steve Reed said...

GZ: Apparently this is the most dangerous time for birds -- when they leave the nest but aren't quite mature.

YP: My husband, the psychopath!

Andrew: True, although a pond probably would have had sloped edges and thus allowed the bird to climb out.

Mitchell: She really is like a new dog on this medicine.

Mary: Yeah, it was great to have a dry weekend for walking. The plants weren't happy, though!

Padre: She is indeed full of personality. Exhaustingly so, sometimes!

Sharon: I'm not sure I've ever seen it either. Took me a while to figure out what was going on!

Ms Moon: Oh, yeah, I do remember that. It's terrible, isn't it? I hate the sense of responsibility I feel.

Robin: Are your cabbage moths white, like our cabbage whites? We do seem to share a lot of similar species!

Red: Yeah, maybe. It's a perilous age for a bird!

Ellen: Nice! Hopefully the swallowtail will come around again.

Catalyst: Maybe they're music-loving mourning doves?

Edna: Oh, she HATES giving up the ball once she's got it. Sometimes it takes a lot of cajoling on my part. In fact, sometimes I just give up!

Jenny-O: As Andrew said above, I suppose these things happen in nature anyway. But yeah, I hate the idea that I somehow created the circumstances that led to a creature's death.

Bug: It's amazing so many birds manage to survive to adulthood!

Lily: Oh, yikes. That would give me nightmares!