wildlife

Easter fun in the garden

Over the last few weeks we’ve caught glimpses of a sweet cottontail rabbit in our garden.  I was fortunate enough to have my camera and my new telephoto lens close at hand when the dogs alerted me to the bunny’s arrival a few days ago.  Barking furiously, they acted as though we were under attack!

When i looked outside the front door – there he was — Peter Cottontail — taking a peek at my garden.

I snuck out the garage to get a better shot without the front door glass.

He stood still for a while, and then decided that he’s better high tail it out of there!

He was in the back yard two nights ago, nibbling on grass, when I took Max out back on the leash.  He’s still healing from a cut on his leg, so he isn’t supposed to be sprinting across the yard.  It’s a darn good thing for that bunny, because he would have taken off after him like a shot!  As it was, he let us stand and watch him for a few minutes and then turned tail and slipped through the fence.  I’m crossing my fingers that he doesn’t find the vegetable garden!

I took a social media break and enjoyed a lovely day with my family yesterday, so here’s wishing you had a Happy Easter.

By | April 17th, 2017|rabbits, Sharing Nature's Garden, wildlife|0 Comments

Frogs and toads and eggs in the garden — oh my!

We’re very fortunate to enjoy an abundance of wildlife in our garden.  With an acre and a half – and about one third of it is natural woods — we see birds, deer, squirrels, foxes, road runners, coyotes and an abundance of lizards and frogs and toads.

I’ve enjoyed watching frogs and toads near one of our fountains and the pool over the course of this summer.  I went out every day to see if someone was cooling off in the fountain.  Last week, I let the dogs out at night and counted 16 Rio Grande leopard frogs in the pool at once!  They jump in at night and are usually gone by morning.  And I found a cluster of frog spawn in the pool. I scooped it out and carefully and slowly replaced the pool water with rain water from the tank over a period of about a day.  Now I am refreshing the rain water daily.

They seem to be changing, the eggs becoming elongated as they begin the process of morphing into tadpoles.  Several of my garden blogging friends with ponds want to adopt some of them, too!  Fingers crossed that at least some of them make it.

Then last night I saw my first Green tree frog on the back wall of the house.  This Hyla cinerea was just hanging out and didn’t move a muscle as Jeff took several pictures of him.

Isn’t he cute?  This is definitely the year of the frogs and toads in our garden.
I’ve blogged about these guys several times over the last few months.  

And an interloper toad came to the party for a while, as well.

 

A few years ago, I even had a whole family of toads squatting in a bag of potting soil.  Scared me to death when I reached in for some soil!

It’s like having the National Geographic channel in our own back yard.  I could spend hours watching our critter friends.

What critters do you enjoy in your garden?

Frogs in the fountain…and some toads, too!

Since Jeff built this beautiful fountain for me a few months ago, I’ve spent a lot of time peering in behind the rocks to monitor the adventures of our resident frogs and toads.  I feel like they’re pets (though I’m sure that THEY don’t feel that way).

 It’s just perfect for this spot.

My favorite place to sit outside, the fountain bubbles and drips and makes beautiful music.

And it’s so inviting – a little cooling oasis in the middle of summer sun.

If you build it, they will come!  Hello, Freddie Frog.  Nice to meet you. A few days after Jeff built the fountain, it became the favorite summer water park of a couple of Rio Grande Leopard frogs. Even on 105 degree days and despite its being in the sun in the afternoon, the water in the fountain remained cool and inviting every day.

And thus began the saga of the slippery ones.  I’d occasionally scare one hopping from plant to plant surrounding the fountain.

And as I was becoming more and more obsessed with them, I went on the hunt for them when they weren’t in the fountain.
              
There are two frogs enjoying our new water feature.  Little Freddie, shown in the first two frog photos, and Frieda, above.  I assume she is his mother, since he’s bright green and her coloring is more brown and the perfect camouflage for burrowing into my pots.  Sometimes they are both in the fountain together, and sometimes they spend some quality alone time in the fountain.
Then came the TOAD….

And once he got in that fountain, he didn’t move.  He’d spend days in there, seemingly in the same spot.  A squatter – just daring the frogs to come back.

I missed my frogs, but came to like Tad, the toad, too.  I’m not sure why I like frogs better than toads. Toads are lumpy and bumpy and look like they would feel icky to touch.  Frogs are green and shiny and speckled and smooth and even though I wouldn’t touch them (there would be that girl screaming thing along with falling back onto the ground in terror thing), they just seem prettier.
When it rained last week, Tad the toad hopped out of the fountain to frolic wherever toads and frogs frolic.  He must have stayed out past curfew, because after two days of an empty fountain, Frieda, the mom frog, is back.  She’s just hanging out on this pretty almost-fall-like day.  
I reached around to the back of the fountain with my iPhone to get this picture.  They don’t mind my peeking around from the front, but every now and then the dogs like to see what’s going on in the fountain, so our hopping friends have taken up residence behind the rocks most of the time.
You can see some of the rocks are turning green.  I’ve been very careful not to disturb the frogs and toads, but this week I am going to carefully remove those specific rocks and clean them by hand and rinse them and put them back into the fountain.  I don’t put bleach in any of my outdoor water features —  I certainly wouldn’t want even a few drops of that in my gin and tonic!  
 I love having more wildlife friends to enjoy in our landscape, so frog or toad, they’re all welcome here.

Oh deer…the latest garden challenge…

As if late spring frosts, scorching heat, four summer vacation absences and dought weren’t enough.  This morning I can add another garden challenge to my list:  deer.

Oh, I know you’re thinking – “she’s always had deer, this is nothing new.”  And you’d be right.  BUT, the plants that were on the buffet last night are plants that have been in the ground since May or June.  And the deer have been through – drinking from the fountain and leaving footprints often.

But last night they decided to expand their palate.  

 This was a lovely hibiscus.  Now it’s a stem sculpture!

They didn’t belong to the clean plate club when they chowed down on this rock rose.  See — they left just one so you could tell what it used to be.

These sun-tolerant coleus have been here for months.  They’ve done great and they are at the deer entrance to my garden.  I know they’ve passed by here many times on their way to the bird bath fountain and the bird feeders that they share with the birds.

Another chomped coleus, and to the right of it, they even nibbled on the dwarf variegated pittosporum.  They’ve left this coleus alone all summer long.

And then they found the abutilon, which is only feet from the front door.  They don’t normally sashay all the way up to the front door, but I guess they felt sociable last night.

Oh well.  Not much to be done about it.  Maybe I’ll do a little rain dance this afternoon so they have food in their own habitat.

What are the critters doing in your garden?

By | August 31st, 2014|Blog, deer, Sharing Nature's Garden, wildlife|0 Comments

Our new babies

These are our Rio Grande Leopard frog babies. I wonder if their momma is looking for them in our pool? Probably not. I suspect that the chlorine in the pool already damaged them and my research shows that even tap water can kill tadpoles. Can’t seem to find an answer about how long it takes exposure to chlorine to hurt them I don’t want to raise expectations about them growing into tadpoles and frogs if they are already doomed. Anyone out there know? In the meantime I will dechlorinate the water they are in and find them a bigger container ….

By | October 8th, 2007|Blog, Sharing Nature's Garden, wildlife|0 Comments

New life…

It really is like the Discovery channel here at our house this year! Today I thought I saw a spot of dirt in the pool. When my Dad checked it out closer, we realized that the clump of black was a slimy mass of frog eggs. So THAT’s what those frogs have been doing in my pool late at night!!! I watched three of them jump in there last night when I let the dogs out for the last time. Not wanting tadpoles in the pool, and sure they wouldn’t survive there, Dad fished (no pun intended!) the eggs out very gently and I put them in a bucket with mostly fresh water, trying not to disturb them. We’re going to share most of them with Kallie’s kindergarten class and our neighbor who’s 5 and in love with frogs. We hope they will turn into tadpoles and beautiful Rio Grande Leopard frogs and live happily ever after! Any advice on tadpole development will be greatly appreciated!

Here are some of the things that were happy in my gardens this weekend. Notice the new lantana TREE that I pruned up growing uninvited in my veggie garden!

Blue Daze
Zinnias
Frangipani or Plumeria
Lantana tree in the veggie garden.

By | October 7th, 2007|Blog, Sharing Nature's Garden, wildlife|0 Comments