Saturday, May 29, 2010

More Critter Action and Commotion

I have seen lots of critters this week.  I missed getting photos of the cardinals, swallowtail and painted lady butterflies.  I did get one of the couple kinds of bees I saw.   I ended up with lots to show for Camera Critters, hosted by Misty Dawn.  I've been working on this post off and on since Friday evening.  I better get it posted now!  Click on the Camera Critters button in the sidebar to see more critters or how to post yours.

 Sunday, I was tickled to see a dragonfly.  I think that's asters it's on.  I took a few pics, then tried lifting the leaf to see if I could get a photo of the whole creature.  It darted away as soon as I did that, but it was cool for me to see those black eyes.

I saw this ladybug, too.  I have been seeing some around, and also some of the pupae. 

Heidi enjoyed lounging around while I was taking photos.

On Tuesday, I saw some more critters.

I'm most excited about the monarchs coming back. It looks like we'll have some caterpillars on the milkweed in the curb bed that I did not plant.  The seeds must have come on the wind.  This is the second year for these, so they will probably bloom.  The monarch was not happy with me trying to take photos.  It kept flitting around, so I quit trying so it could lay its eggs in peace.

On Wednesday, I found some kind of insect on a daisy close up.  Do you know what it is?

Heidi enjoyed lounging that day, too.

Thursday,  I saw the bee before taking photos, and was glad to be able to capture it with the camera.  I'm glad the foxgloves I love so much are enjoyed by bees, too.

Heidi wasn't so relaxed during this photo taking adventure.  She spied something with her little eyes.

I had time to take a number of photos as Heidi stalked closer and closer to the squirrel.  She is now even with my garden gloves.  She kept looking at the squirrel, and then at me.  The squirrel was making eye contact with her, too, the tease.

Finally, I said, "OK Heidi, get the squirrel, but don't go into my flower bed."

The squirrel and I both knew she wouldn't be fast enough to get it, and I wasn't fast enough with my camera to take its photo dashing off.  Poor Heidi, with her tail down, wonders where it went.

The squirrel, with its tail up, safely across the street, is grazing in the grass.  It knows she's not allowed to go into the street.

I moved on to the veggie garden, where the large kale was providing a meal for a monarch.  I had been thinking of digging it up, since I have another clump of it in the garden, and another across the street.

I kept my distance, and used my zoom.  I think I'll let the kale stay.

The dove was high up in its perch, observing all.

Today, I took photos of the spiderworts' first blooms, and didn't notice the slug until I looked at the photos.  That's a critter I usually put on a bird bath for the birds to find.

I always throw the water I put in the bowl of lettuce for a prewash and other water or coffee we don't drink next to the house where the hellebores are growing.  You can't see the critter that got splashed in this photo, but I thought I'd include it because I didn't show this part of the planter in the previous post where I featured this area.  I'm ready for the daffodil foliage to die back, but it will be awhile.  The bergenia leaves are being eaten, probably by slugs.  I better check that out.

You might be able to see the critter now, and where the water splashed against the house.  I like the foliage of the hellebores.  That's a honeysuckle an elderly neighbor gave me when we moved in.  I should have trimmed it back this spring, because it is getting woody.  I worked on it a little today, but it's probably too late to do much more.

I've noticed that the garter snakes will stay very still while they know you are there, and then, when you leave, they do, too, so you can't see where they went.  I forgot about it for a few minutes, then, when I asked Larry if he wanted to see it, it was gone.

I'm going to vent/rant a little. I wish people didn't hate snakes so much.  When I was at the hardware store today, a young couple were looking at a package of moth balls that were being sold to repel snakes.  I told them I'd heard that didn't work, and it would make their yard smell really bad.  I also told them the garter snakes around here want to stay away from people as much or more as we want to stay away from them.  The lady said she was afraid of stepping on one.  They live around a mile from me.  Our neighborhood does have garter snakes.  I'd rather have them than the rabbits that are now killing some of my plants by eating them down to nubs.  By the way, I thought they were no longer allowed to market moth balls to repel snakes because they are bad for the environment.  (I didn't get to see whether they bought the moth balls, but they did buy something.)

Here's a view taken while leaning over the area from the porch.  It shows the peonies and such in front of the raised planter.  The tubs are ours.


  1. Sue, your garden looks marvelous!

    Heidi isn't lounging, she is guarding. At the ready to protect you and her property from the dangerous squirrel monsters!

    I know what you mean about the young couple looking for moth balls. So many people use chemicals indiscrimanately on the land, poisoning the enviornment. It's truly scary!

  2. Sue, I loved your 'critter walk'. We have milkweed on our property this year, and hope to see more monarchs. Your lemon foxglove is gorgeous! Enjoyed the 'Heidi and the Squirrel' story. Sue, I so agree with you about snakes. Your garden is lovely! P. x

  3. Sue,
    Youe dragonfly is a male Twelve-spotted Skimmer, good find. We get them here but have not seen them yet, late summer is when we see them the most.

    I agree about the snakes most are harmless and beneficial. Found a Copperhead today got photo on the gravel road about a mile from here.

  4. YOur blooms are wonderful. I love seeing the shots of your whole gardens against your house. THey are lovely. Have a nice weekend! Paula in Idaho

  5. Lots of good pictures here. Heidi and the squirrel made me chuckle. Those critters are so fast.

  6. Lots of great critters and photos. Love the dragonfly and the butterfly shots. Your dog is a cutie. As long as they are not dangerous snakes I heard snakes are good critters to have in your yard. Wonderful collection of photos!

  7. What a nice post. I felt like I was going on a walk with you! Your photos are wonderful...especially the butterflies.

    I can't believe some people actually pull the milkweed! It's really part of the critical habitat for butterflies. And the blossoms are so pretty.

    Mothballs are scary...they even smell dangerous! Well, thanks for the tour...I think you've got a great blog! You meet the nicest people on Camera Critters :-)

  8. Wow, what a beautiful assortment of critters! Each one would be a treat all by itself.

    I understand your feelings on garter snakes but I still don't like them, for years we had an over abundance of them, but I have not seen any for several years, not really sure why, I would never kill one or use moth balls but would just as soon they lived somewhere else :).

  9. Gorgeous shots of the Monarch on the Kale. Your garden is looking beautiful.

    I agree with your rant about snakes.

    Squirrels used to toy with my dog too. It was funny to watch.

  10. Beautiful pictures! My little sister used to have pet snakes all the time when we were growing up!

  11. Wonderful post Sue! I had to laugh at Heidi and her hunting expedition. Your Monarch is beautiful. I *think* I saw one in our garden today but it didn't stick around long enough for me to get close enough to make sure that's what it was.

  12. What beautiful pictures and what a lovely garden! I've been trying to get pictures of the barn swallows swooping near our barns, but they're too fast for me. I want to take pictures of their nests, too, but don't want to disturb them lest they get discouraged and move their nest site!

  13. What a charming home and beautiful garden! I too found a ladybug yesterday, crawling on my sweet basil plant.

    Your foxglove brought back happy memories. I love foxglove. Had some for several years until the spot got too shady for them to grow.

    Happy Memorial Day!

  14. I found your blog by accident and I am a fellow blogger from NE Nebraska. I absolutely loved your wonderful pictures. So beautiful. even the snakes. I have learned to live with them although I don't really care for them...but we put up with each other. Wonderful!

  15. Sue, I enjoyed the tour of the critters in your yard. It is posts like these that makes me stop to appreciate things I see but take for granted. I am still not seeing many butterflies here and didn't last year either.

    I would like to know more about the pale yellow foxglove.

    Your house and gardens are looking wonderful.


  16. Sue I love to stop by to see the photos of your garden critters..

    I'm still working on trying to catch some photos of critters in my yard, I guess you are better at this or faster then I am... Lol!

    My Spiderworts have bloomed as well, I love the wild Spiderworts the color is so much deeper than the cultivated ones..

    I used to be deathly afraid of Dragon flies when I was a child I now love them I think they are so unique...

    wonderful garden & critter photos.

  17. P.S speaking of garter snakes, Sue I glad you posted a comment about them because I thought I heard or read that they are really helpful to one in the garden and do not harm or bite anyone..

    I'm not afraid of snakes, unless it's a python I'm about to encounter!...Lol!

    I'm afraid of some spiders but I don't practice killing them because I believe they benefit me in some way.. Unless of course they happen to be a recluse or black widow!

    I think more of us should educated ourselves about the creatures around us, especially the scary ones that just look scary but won't heart us!


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