Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Nature Notes: It's a Zoo Out There


There's so much going on in my yard this week that it's going to be hard to fit it all in.

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A smallish snapping turtle wandered through. They don't usually leave the water, so it was either a male looking for territory or a female looking for a nesting place. I love to see them walk; their gait is like an alligator's, with the belly lifted completely off the ground. You don't want to get anywhere within striking distance of those jaws, so closeups are a bit risky. (See what I'll do for you guys?)

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The only baby birds I've seen yet are cowbirds. Two of  the little buggers, both being fed by chipping sparrows. We have fewer cowbirds hanging around than we used to, because I've moved their favorite seed into a caged feeder they cannot access and the woodchucks are doing a fine job of cleaning up any spilled seed.

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The garden is up and growing, and we've added fruit this year. We've planted apple, cherry, and peach trees plus blueberry bushes and grapes.

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The veggies include corn, tomatoes, snow peas, lettuces, peppers, canteloupe, cucumbers, and beans.
There are two kinds of beans, a hybrid and an heirloom. The hybrids hit the ground running, but the heirlooms have been slower to germinate, slower growing, and prone to insect attacks. Which, I suppose, is why people started creating hybrids in the first place.

Updates on previous posts:

1. The Neighbor. My husband approached him about the mowing on our side, and he apologized for getting carried away with his new tractor. It's too late for this year's milkweed, but it's a relief that it won't be an issue going forward. However, a huge backhoe has appeared over there, to be used to build an earth mound in the woods to stop the bullets on the firing range. I've decided to accept the things I cannot change, and to adapt to the changes as they come. Happiness is, after all, a choice.

2. The Salamanders. They're a little bigger, but they don't look any different yet. However, I did spot five toes on the back feet of one, so I'm pretty sure they are going to be spotted salamanders like this one:

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3. The Woodchucks. Oh man, the woodchucks. They've gotten visibly bigger in just a week, and are starting to dig dens of their own, most recently under the potting shed. The hubby spent hours Saturday installing a heavy metal grate to stop them. The garden is heavily fenced, but the gate is a weak spot. I'm sure they can squeeze under if they try, so that's the next project.

We've elected not to trap and relocate, because we have no place to release them that won't cause trouble for the chucks or for other people. But if they get into the garden I can't guarantee their continued safety.

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Click here to visit Michelle's site, Rambling Woods, and see more Nature Notes

13 comments:

Leora said...

Love those two birds. Great about the garden progress. Snap turtle is quite something.

eileeninmd said...

I love the turtles shots and the poor chipping bird playing mom to the cowbird. But, the woodchuck shot is too funny. I hope they do not eat their way thru your garden. Great post!

Betty Luckhurst said...

Great shots. At least your 'problems' are cute!

Rambling Woods said...

Oh you are right... You have to accept.... I have a hard time with that....I hate to see cowbirds being fed... We have them here too... Gosh I am so sorry about those wood chucks... It is going to be hard deciding what to do..again something I am not good at.... Michelle

Karen said...

Cool critters! The woodchucks are so cute, but I hope they leave your garden in peace!

Carver said...

Great nature shots. I particularly love the turtles.

EG CameraGirl said...

Your garden sounds full of promise, The future sounds good if you can keep the woodchuck out. Ah, that poor chipping sparrow trying to keep that cowbird baby satisfied!

Daryl said...

i wonder if the blocking of bullets from the firing range isnt an excellent idea ..maybe unslightly but for sure better than someone being accidently wounded

NatureFootstep said...

all of this in your yard? Amazing. Nice post.

MyMaracas said...

Daryl - You're right about that, for sure.

Nature - My "yard" is 20 acres, so. Yeah.

Vilisi said...

Your veggie garden sounds great!

Donna said...

Everything sounds wonderful..we are growing our first grapes but they are so small and maybe in another year or more we will see grapes. Those woodchucks are cute but too close for comfort for a gardener. Your cat is not amused :)

simply bev said...

Oh my goodness...I love the photo of your cat with the groundhogs peering through the door. I know they're a bother, but this is so cute!