Garden Critters

Discussion in 'Celebrate Biodiversity' started by Margot, Aug 26, 2020.

  1. Margot

    Margot Contributor

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    This is an invitation for anyone interested to share photos or stories of creatures in your gardens which may be more beneficial than pretty.

    I saw a garter snake again yesterday – he, as well as me, eager to keep our encounter as brief as possible.

    I was glad to know that he, and possibly his kin, is present in my garden . . . kind of a ‘Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval’, proving my garden is critter-friendly.

    My 7-year-old granddaughter has a sort-of-pet garter snake called Frank who, I’m sure, feels more tormented than appreciated by her interest in him. She’ll be back to school soon though so he can concentrate on ridding the garden of all sorts of pests, especially slugs.


    upload_2020-8-26_1-15-25.jpeg
    Thamnophis sirtalis piperingii
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2020
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  2. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @Margot Good afternoon Margot, can't offer up much I'm afraid, but this little chap appears very often in my garden. He is very beneficial in reducing the aphids.
    Not as exotic as your Garter snake, but we love him. Don't think I need to name this one, lol. IMG_20200813_152004761.jpg
     
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  3. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Well-Known Member

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    SW Coast BC nr ocean - summer -
    1. Small brown bat x 1 resting in daytime on rock wall (we used to see more at dusk but no longer)

    2. Various interesting moths and large bugs

    3. NOT very many butterflies or dragonflies or cricket sounds this yr 2020 (or the buzzing bug — cicada which used to be common - I think too damp and cold at night early this yr)

    4. Birds. Always towhees year round crashing around the roots of the shrubs ... the swainsons thrush and some other migrateurs departed approx July 15 on sched. There are some nuthatch calls evident (veep veep veep) and flickers too. There are also some really tiny birds that chip and tweet in the small garden trees (vine maples / acer circinatum)

    Hummingbirds too - I think Anna’s ?

    The large birds are present yr round - eagles and ravens and herons and crows and gulls

    5. Not as many whales this yr - the view from the garden. One day those huge tourist boats that are bright yellow were following very closely to some orca ... I don’t think it’s fair but I suppose it’s legal.

    6. Wasps - I know they get people flustered with sprays and traps and killing - however there do not seem to be as many this yr, maybe cuz cooler?

    7. The usual black bears are around - which is fine if people follow the bear safe rules (no garbage or recycle outside // no bird feeders // pick up fruit

    8. Deer!

    OKANAGAN - lots of small birds and red tail hawks and owls

    Bears

    Snakes - western rattler - I can deal w garter but to come across a rattle snake (common in Okanagan) is a bit of a spike in blood Pressure !! Photo below of one of their regular dens.
     

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  4. Nik

    Nik Well-Known Member

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    The most spectacular wildlife event that we observed in our yard was a dragonfly feeding frenzy last summer. I imagine it happens every year, but we witnessed it only once. On the day that flying ants emerged from the ground, between 50 to 100 very large dragonflies frantically decimated them in midair for about a couple of hours. All you could see on our back deck were the dragonflies and a “snow” of ant wings gently falling to the ground.
    Otherwise,
    Mammals: black bear, bobcat, coywolf, coyote, red fox, grey fox, groundhog, skunk, rabbit, deer, opossum, raccoon, squirrel, chipmunk, field mouse...
    Frogs and salamanders: many species.
    Reptiles: many species. In addition to the snakes, snapping turtles and painted turtles visit our yard to lay eggs.
    Birds: turkey is the largest (by weight), grey heron (by size), ... ruby throated hummingbird is the smallest. And tons of others in between this size range.
    Insects, don’t get me started: some of the most creepy looking are the dobson flies.
    Slugs: numerous, snails: not so much.
    Earthworms are very abundant in our yard.
     

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  5. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Well-Known Member

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    It is interesting how different « cuter » your English robin is than our wild robin here nr vancouver coast BC

    I have always observed English version on Christmas cards sent fr UK
     
  6. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @Georgia Strait good morning Georgia, how nice that you say it is cute, myself and many others think the same way.
    This is why the Robin was voted Britains most popular bird several years ago. They do bring a smile to everyone's face and especially now, we could all do with a smile or two.
    But reading about yours and others wildlife, I would love to be able to see this regularly. 'Quite wonderful'.
     
  7. pmurphy

    pmurphy Rising Contributor

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    I set up a trail cam by my garden waterfall back in June and have finally had a chance to go through the 1000's of photos to see who is visiting regularly.
    Here are some photos of the birds and animals that stop by to bath or drink...

    Red-shafted flicker, female
    White-crowned sparrow
    Black morph of the eastern gray squirrel (introduced to BC)
    American robin
    Anna's hummingbird, male
    Raccoon
    House finch, male
    Red-breasted nuthatch
    Chipping sparrow
    Downy woodpecker with nuthatch and female house finch
    Bushtit
    Black-capped chickadee
    Red squirrel (BC native)
    Western tanager, female
    The last 2 images are a "mystery bird" - it looks to be a fledgling of some type, possibly a Black-headed Grosbeak
     

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  8. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Good evening, whilst in my garden this afternoon digging a new area for some maple trees, a pretty Dragonfly came and sat next to me.
    It is the Southern Hawker.
     

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  9. pmurphy

    pmurphy Rising Contributor

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    Here's a newcomer to my waterfall, a brown creeper.
    He/she appears to be rather shy, and to tell the truth I've never seen one before even though they apparently range from Alaska down to Nicaragua.
     

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  10. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @pmurphy good evening P. Wonderfully caught on your web cam. So easy to miss !!
    Can I attach here something that was said about the Brown creeper.
    The naturalist W.M. Tyler, writing in 1948, captured this species’ energy and fragility in a memorable description, “The Brown Creeper, as he hitches along the bole of a tree, looks like a fragment of detached bark that is defying the law of gravitation by moving upward over the trunk, and as he flies off to another tree he resembles a little dry leaf blown about by the wind.”
    Nature and wonderful writing about it goes hand in hand IMO. Hope you agree !!?
     
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  11. pmurphy

    pmurphy Rising Contributor

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    Ever wonder how a hummingbird bathes...?
    (he's laying at the top of the waterfall)
     

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  12. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Amazing footage P.
     
  13. Margot

    Margot Contributor

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    Neat! Have you noticed that when you click through the photos quickly, it's like watching a short video.
     
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  14. pmurphy

    pmurphy Rising Contributor

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    Here is another newcomer, a dark-eyed junco.
    This is the first time I've seen any at the waterfall and always thought of them as a winter bird (I have memories of them feeding in the snow) so I hope this isn't a sign of things to come....
     

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  15. Margot

    Margot Contributor

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    I don't know why but Juncos are common here year-round.
     
  16. pmurphy

    pmurphy Rising Contributor

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    I did read somewhere that they stay in the forested areas for breeding and then migrate to the coast for winter, this is from BC Breeding Bird Atlas
    "It is a familiar winter bird in southern British Columbia, common in parks and around feeders, but in the breeding season it retreats to forested habitats."

    Perhaps it doesn't like big cities...
     
  17. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Just thought I would post this photo I took an hour ago of one of a great many in my garden at the moment, the European Crane-fly.
    When I had a lawn they would lay their eggs every September that then produced grubs ( Leather jackets) under the surface, chomping away at the roots causing a lot of brown patches everywhere the following Summer. But no more juicy grass roots in my garden.
     

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  18. MapleMO

    MapleMO Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I found this barely alive mole cricket in my garden today. Quite a creepy looking insect that kan get rather large. It is quite a menace in my garden as they dig tunnels as moles do and chew through every root in its way. It used to be endangered in the Netherlands as people used chemicals to get rid of them but their numbers are up again. I try to keep their numbers in check by using nemotodes.
     

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  19. Margot

    Margot Contributor

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    Interesting that the front legs of mole crickets look very similar to those of the moles.

    Craneflies appear so innocuous by comparison.
     
  20. Sulev

    Sulev Active Member

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    My friend from Southern Estonia sent me recently few photos of garden critters in his orchard. He has installed a trail camera recently, and here is, what it got:
    päev.JPG

    öö.JPG
     
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  21. Acerholic

    Acerholic Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @Sulev good evening Sulev and Wow. These cameras are amazing. I have used many and it never failed to amaze me what they pick up.
     

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