Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Wildlife Wednesday July 2014

Over the nearly three years I've been blogging I've enjoyed sharing some of the wildlife visitors to my garden under the heading "Garden Visitors" and now I have even more reason to post these photos.  Tina at "My Gardener Says.." has started a new meme as a way of sharing the wildlife we encounter in the garden and she's invited garden bloggers to participate on the first Wednesday of each month.  I'll join in as often as I can starting off with a few of our wildlife visitors this year.

We have to watch our step in the gardens lately since these little toads, barely an inch long, are running rampant for the first time in years.  I think that's due to several weeks of regular rainfall which has left small pools of water in the creek.  They are probably Texas Toads and will provide a natural pest control service the rest of the summer by eating the mosquitoes which are resulting from all this rain.  With the local bat population decimated, this is a positive development.


Keeping things on the small side, a grasshopper climbing up the Agave ovatifolia -- nothing edible here.


A Golden-fronted Woodpecker has developed a taste for hummingbird nectar.  Until we caught him in the act I thought the raccoons or squirrels were dumping out the feeder leaving a sticky mess on the deck each night.


Here's the big guy in action.  You had to know I wouldn't do a wildlife post without one of those great Awesome Motion things.  You can even see the drips as he tilts the feeder!


Staying with the bird category, one of the resident hawks spent a few minutes in a tree beside the house.   It appears to be a red-shouldered hawk.  It's unusual to see them so close to the house because they usually stay by the creek or the field behind.  Hawks are so graceful when they fly.



This cute little rock squirrel enjoyed chewing the emerging foliage on the Mexican Hat wildflowers earlier this spring and risked danger to get it.  He/she was not about to give it up no matter how close I got with the camera.  These are interesting to see because black squirrels were rare and considered quite special in the northeast.  Rock squirrels are fun to watch as they are more graceful and not likely to raid the bird feeder because they nest in the ground.


Then there are always the deer.  This buck dropped by for a cold one during one of last winter's freezes.  We would try to break the ice on the bowl now and then or add warm water so all our wildlife visitors could have a drink in the very dry winter.


That's just a few of the visitors to my garden so far this year.  Next month I'll focus on the butterflies.  Be sure to check out the comments section Tina's blog post here or join in and post a few of the wildlife visitors to your garden.

22 comments:

  1. Great photos, Shirley. I love the woodpecker shots--I really need to work on my bird shots--if only they would sit still for a moment! And that hawk--beautiful! I've also had some tiny toads, but I was never camera-ready as they hopped by. Enjoy those visitors--you have some great ones.

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    1. I had so much fun going back through my photos to select some to share. It's great to have a schedule for posting my favorites.

      It seems many gardeners are finding the toads around and that's a good sign for our region. We're still in drought but things are looking up.

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  2. Wonderful photos, Shirley! I'm amazed by that woodpecker - that's the type of gymnastic performance I've come to expect from our tree squirrels but I've never seen a large bird go through such gyrations. The emergence of the toads is a great sign. I can't count the years since I've seen frogs or toads here in Southern California - we used to see them every summer when I was a kid.

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    1. At first I was surprised but then remembered they easily walk upside down and backwards along a tree branch. The finches are the only birds I've seen come close to those acrobatics.

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  3. How much fun to watch that woodpecker with a sweet tooth. I have an anole that has developed tasties for hummingbird nectar but he is fairly stealthy. When I come out he darts back up into the small tree the feeder hangs from at top speed. That shot of the rock squirrel is a stunner. Years ago I kept thinking I was seeing a black squirrel darting in and out close to a rock wall at a nearby park. And as for your tiny toads - I have complete and utter amphibian envy. They are well worth watching your step for! Can't wait to see your next post!

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    1. I usually watch the anoles snatching a bug from the birdbath or climbing the screen for a moth which can keep me entertained for quite a while. If you saw one near a rock wall it was probably a rock squirrel. They have found a comfortable life at our place and we enjoy their antics.

      You must have the toads, I'm hearing from friends all over the area about them. Take another look.

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  4. That woodpecker gif is hilarious! And yes, your wildlife photos are marvelous. I like your idea about setting out warm water for the deer in the winter--I'm sure they appreciate it. We seldom get deer this side of 183 in NW Austin, but my parents have regular herds out in Dripping Springs.

    I'm delighted to see the Rock Squirrel, too--I saw one for the first time recently, and didn't know what it was other than a "black squirrel".

    Happy Wildlife Wednesday!

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    1. I was so excited when I first saw the rock squirrels because black squirrels such a rarity elsewhere but they are quite common in many parts of the Hill Country. They are a slightly different animal from the celebrated black squirrels in the northeast.

      I enjoy seeing the deer but wish we could reach some type of arrangement about certain plants.

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  5. Great photos! I had to look closely to spot the toad even when I knew it was there. What is happening to the bats? I haven't heard.

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    1. The bat population was affected by disease and then the drought.

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  6. I've never seen a black squirrel before! How awesome is that? Your woodpecker is quite a character. One summer we had a smaller bird that came to the hummingbird feeder but I don't remember what it was.

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    1. They are so pretty and there are two different types in North America.

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  7. Great meme and great photos, Shirley! Isn't a great feeling when wildlife visit your garden? It's a wonderful compliment. Hope you have a wonderful 4th!

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    1. Thank you! We try to encourage all of them including the deer.

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  8. I'm so glad that you participated in this meme, otherwise, I wouldn't have known about it to participate as well! I love the woodpecker and the rock squirrel. I only have fox (or maybe gray?) squirrels up in my Round Rock garden. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I'll look for your post Rebecca, should be fun.

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  9. I've been meaning to do a wildlife check around my yard. We've got new issues in the way of armadillos---not sure where they came from---and of course the sweet little fawns that will one day grow up to chow on my garden. Since we are on a pond we have a lot of birds which can be a lot of fun to see the variety that shows up, particularly during winter.

    Love the squirrel and the hilarious woodpecker!

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    1. Oh those sweet little fawns are so irresistible and they will pull up everything just to test it. Birds are fun to watch and we can see many of them from the house.

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  10. Great photos.
    Our Golden Fronts like the hummers food, too. As do some larger, more destructive critters. Somebody threw a feeder down and broke it last night. I know better than to leave them out.

    And, we have LOTS of those little frogs. Most of ours are black...so, I'm not sure what they are.

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    1. You have some aggressive visitors there. We get some damage but rarely like that.

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  11. Oh boy do I have some interesting wildlife so I will have to save some for this meme...wonderful captures!

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    1. I'd love to see some of your wildlife visitors as well so join in next month!

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