Sunday, June 12, 2011

Taking a Critter Walk


I'm continually amazed at the variety of wildlife in my garden. Today, I grabbed my camera and went for a critter walk. The pond is always a good starting place to spot wildlife. My favorite frog (above) was hiding coyly behind some sedum at the water's edge. He is my favorite because of his bright green and yellow coloring. The other frog is paler looking ...  but I like him, too. They are entertaining, especially when they fight.


I peered into the water looking for fish, and I was glad to see a large snail attached to the side of the pond. His sole function in life is to eat the rapidly growing algae. This pond is located in full sun, so algae can be a problem, which the snail is doing his best to solve.

Snail
I looked for some of the toad tadpoles, wondering if they had grown legs. I was amazed to find a fully-formed toad, smaller than the nail on my pinkie finger.

Tiny toad
I hope he survives to take care of the slugs in this garden!
There were not many fish to be seen, but those I glimpsed are surely growing bigger!

The fishpond is home to six koi - all named by my grandchildren.

I caught a glimpse of Nemo.

I saw something move in the grass near the old pear tree in the shade garden ... 

Can you see a little gray/brown speck in the bottom right corner of the picture?
 Setting my camera on zoom, I discovered it was the tiniest, baby bunny. How cute! I purposely didn't think about the damage he could do as he gets bigger.




Nearby, in one of the many birdbaths, a catbird is splashing in the water.

Catbird
A wren is taking a morsel of food into its nest. Is someone sitting on eggs? I don't think there are hatchlings, because all is quiet in there. Baby wrens are incredibly noisy!

Carolina Wren
A pesky chipmunk climbed into the bird feeder that H.H. attached to the garden room window. This little pest is so destructive. Earlier, I caught him in the strawberry patch holding a large, red strawberry in his paws, as he nibbled away.

Chipmunk stealing bird seed
 After shooing him out of the feeder, I went to the kitchen garden to see if he has done any more damage there. A net over the strawberries, and a mechanical owl that moves and hoots when approached, does not deter the little thief.


I've been picking the under-ripe fruit before he eats all of them.


As I looked around the kitchen garden, where I recently finished planting vegetables using the square-foot method, I must admit I got a feeling of satisfaction.  Most of the seeds have germinated already. I will post about my kitchen garden soon.


While I was in the vicinity, I checked the mason-bee house that H.H. installed on the back of my potting shed. No bees yet, but we keep hoping!
 

There was noise coming from the bird condo. The condo is intended for purple martins, but it is currently occupied by several tree swallows and a pair of bluebirds. 

There is a tree swallow on the bottom rail and a bluebird on the roof.
 I don't know what upset the bluebird, but he flew to the tractor shed roof, looking quite indignant.

Bluebird
Why the bluebirds aren't living in one of the many bluebird houses that H.H. placed around the property, I don't know.


Back in the birdbath, this robin seemed very angry. I think he was upset because the catbird splashed out most of the water.

American Robin
 When H.H. was a boy in this house, there were barn swallows in the horse barn. They stopped coming to the farm many years ago. This year, at last they returned and built a nest above the electric light in the barn, much to my husband's delight.  I inspected the nest now to see if there were any eggs.

Barn Swallow Nest
The barn swallow was not happy to see me there. When they have a family to protect, I am sure it will be difficult to get into the barn to feed the horse and goat. H.H. says they will swoop down at us to scare us away. 

Barn Swallow
Billy Goat didn't seem worried, today. He was wondering if I had brought him a treat.


There are many more critters regularly visiting my garden. They must read the sign that says this is a Wildlife Habitat registered by the National Wildlife Federation, and in they come. I try to welcome all of them, but it is difficult sometimes. Especially when they steal the strawberries!


I hope you enjoyed taking a critter walk with me!
Pamela x

Froggy comes face-to-face with a fake-frog foe.

~~ I love reading your comments. I hope you leave one so I’ll know you visited!
I look forward to visiting your blog in return.

16 comments:

sherryocala said...

Pam, you visited a lot of critters along the way. I just ordered a square foot gardening book today by Bartholomew. Your garden makes me glad I did. Thanks.

Aila said...

You have so nice pictures ! I like your kitchen garden and the place for sitting near the old pear tree... I have to go for a longer walk to your lovely garden. Have a nice time and many greetings from Finland !

Jo said...

What a wonderful post, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. How thrilling to have so much wildlife visiting your garden. Our squirrels are like your chipmunks, they're such a pest when they take the bird's food but I still enjoy watching them up to their antics. I'm looking forward to hearing more about your square foot garden.

gardenwalkgardentalk.com said...

I too like your post immensely today.I love seeing critters in the yard, sans bunnies; I like seeing them in other people's yards. I did not know that frogs do battle. Must be funny to watch. What can they possible do to each other? Hopefully not eat each other. I had to remove strawberries from my yard. Every critter was having them, making a mess too.

Hartwood Roses said...

I feel as if I have walked your garden and spent the morning with you in person!!

When we first bought this place 10 years ago, Barn Swallows came every year to nest on top of the columns of our front porch. I didn't mind the nests or the constant scolding we received from the parent birds whenever we were near the porch ... I did, however, object to the bathroom habits of their babies. When we rebuilt the porch, we eliminated all flat areas that could be used for nesting, and the swallows moved to the barn ... where they belong, after all.

Pat Musselman said...

Pam, I enjoyed your "Critter Walk"! I, too, have many critters visiting my gardens. One you did not mention is the groundhog. They are the most destructive of all the rodent types! Their burrows undermine our shed and we have to exterminate them (even though I hate killing any animal). Love your wonderful bird pictures. Your photos are award-winning. Keep them coming! Pat

FlowerLady said...

What a treat this morning! I feel like I went on a mini vacation.

FlowerLady

redneckrosarian said...

What a delightful "walk". Your kitchen garden is awesome. Can't wait to see your harvest. I am now blogging at Wordpress.
www.redneckrosarian.wordpress.com Hope you will stop by some time. Happy gardening.

Vetsy said...

Pam I loved your critter walk and I can understand why the critters would choice your garden to visit and to stay. It is a lovely place for a wildlife habitat.

This year the robins nested in my yard and there are several noisy baby robins running around here, I was only able to capture 2 photos of one of them in a tree. I just posted it today.

P.S... Pam if i were your neighbor you would never get rid of me..you would find me every morning sitting in that lovely chair in the shade garden... LoL!

Elephant's Eye said...

We have swallows around. And a few splodges of mud, at the front door. But they nest next door.

Diane said...

Pam, I very much enjoyed the critter walk in your garden. You have many lovely species there.

Things are looking great in your garden!

Lona said...

Hi Pam. What a fun critter walk. Those chipmunks will find a way.LOL! I love the picture with the frog meeting the fake frog. So cute. I love to watch the birds taking a bath. They really get into it sometimes. Blue birds are always a favorite to see in the garden.

linniew said...

The garden would be a lonely place without the songbirds and little creatures. Once I watched three coyote puppies in the outer garden as they found their way back through the wire fence to the neighbor's field. They were golden and roly poly and clearly in violation of parental rules about staying at home.
Great post Pam, I enjoyed it much!

HolleyGarden said...

What a great critter walk! I was intrigued by what we would find next along the way! Each critter had some special quality to them - I'm so glad you got picks of the baby bunnies and the teeny tiny frog! The bird glares were supposed to menacing, I'm sure, but they were adorable, and Nemo is beautiful!

Rosie@leavesnbloom said...

This was fabulous seeing all the different types of critters you have Pam. We've just got newts in the pond though my water is an awful lot greener than yours.

Barbie said...

Oh Pam, I so enjoyed your critter walk! The birds are so beautiful and I hope to soon post my bird buddies soon for you to see!