Critters in the Garden

4 July 2016

It is a rainy Independence Day.

So, my pictures today were limited to what I could see from the shelter of indoors.

From the living room window, I took several pictures this afternoon. Afterwards, when reviewing the pictures, I realized that the subjects were the colors of the American flag.

4 july 2016


Garden Visitors

The many plants in our yard are not just for our enjoyment, but for creating a habitat for various wild creatures.

Recently, my way into our house was barred by a Black snake stretched across the threshold. It took its time slithering down the back side of the stairs and away into the bushes. It would pause to study me while I took pictures. By using the pictures as a guide, I was able to measure the bricks to calculate the length of the snake at approximately 3 1/2 feet long.

black snake

The leaf bug in this picture was parked under a light outside the same door as the Black snake, except later at night on another evening. It appears to be a lesser angle-winged katydid.

katydid

Early in the morning, before the sun crests over the trees, we often find bumble bees parked on flowers where the spent the night. This one might be an Eastern carpenter bee. It was resting on the flowers of a sedum plant and was starting to wake while I was taking pictures. When it started to react to the camera being close to it, I decided it was time to quit so I would not annoy it.

eastern carpenter bee

All three of these garden visitors came at a time when the light outside made taking a good picture difficult.


Winter Visitor

1 march 2015


Image

Bumble Bee on Tiger Lily

bumble bee on tiger lily


Squirrel Against Squirrel Proof BirdFeeder

When we first moved into our house, my husband’s parents gave us a squirrel proof birdfeeder. For over 20 years, this birdfeeder has lived up to its name, baffling one generation of squirrels after another.

squirrel proof feeder

It is designed so that the weight of a squirrel on the perch will close the door , blocking access to the seeds. It also has a counterbalance on the back which is adjustable to different weights to allow or limit larger birds or squirrels.

But it met its match the other day and lost to a smart squirrel. Maybe not as smart as just persistent.

squirrel proof feeder 2

Look at how the squirrel uses its hind feet on the counterbalance to keep the trapdoor open.

Then it figured out a method of getting the seeds without being able to see its objective.

squirrel proof feeder 3

Okay, it is  clever, but not all that clever since the first picture posted was the last picture I took. It got greedy and tried to climb over the perch and wham, the door shut.

squirrel proof feeder 4

Don’t worry. The squirrels are well fed in our yard since we put feed on the ground for the birds who don’t like feeders and for the squirrels and chipmunks who inhabit the yard too. Plus the birds flick seeds out of the feeder, adding to what is already on the ground.


Garden Visitor Who Slithered By

Sitting in a spot of sun and immersed in reading a book, I was surprised by a visitor that went slithering by so close I could have reach out and touched it.

black rat snake in garden

The black rat snake passed by me, unconcerned with my presence until my son and I started taking pictures. Then he took cover in my almost dead rosemary plant where he stopped to look at us from his shelter.

black rat snake in rosemary


Female Red-bellied Woodpecker at the Birdfeeder

We often see Red-bellied Woodpeckers  climbing and foraging in our trees and during spring, we can hear them in the morning beating on the gutters.

female red bellied woodpecker

Today was the first time we have seen a Red-bellied Woodpecker visit our feeder.

Our beautiful visitor today is a female. She has red above the bill, gray cap and red at the nape of the neck whereas the male has a red patch that extends from above the bill, including the cap, to the nape. A small hint of the reddish color on the  belly is barely visible above the tail feathers in this picture.

 

 

 


Camouflaged Bird’s Nest

Yesterday, I bought a few annual flowering plants for pots and planters around the yard. The planter under the shed window is an excellent location for Impatience plants which do well in shade and give a bright spot of color to the shed. I had my plants and trowel in hand and ready to plant my colorful treasures, when I discovered that someone else thought it was an excellent location for their treasured ones.

bird's nest in planter

At first, I thought the mess of leaves was a squirrel’s nest that had fallen from the large oak tree that towers over the shed. A closer look revealed a lovely nest with a couple speckled eggs.

bird's nest in planter close up

I suspect the nest is made by a Carolina Chickadee, but will know when I finally see the elusive owner. For now, the planter belongs to the birds and my flowers will have to wait for their home.


Inchworms Invading Again

inchworm

Oh no! The inchworms have invaded again this spring. This is the third year in a row and today is the third day this year that I have seen them. And there is more of them every day. There were so many on my car that I had to hose it down before going anywhere today.


Serving The Birds in Snow

During the snow storm and afterwards, there were too many hungry birds for the one feeder we have. Also,  some of the birds prefer to ground feed which is hard to do when everything is covered in snow.

shelter for birds to feed

To make a shelter, I scraped some snow away from the ground between the chairs and table for birds seed, and then used a large plastic tray to bridge the space between them to create a shelter. Additional bird seed was placed on window sills and porch which are under the eve of the roof.