Friday, May 25, 2012

Wildlife

We are still seeing lots of wildlife in the garden when we're out there.  I'm not sure if this is different or if I just haven't paid enough attention before. 

A few days ago, I got these pictures of some of the things we saw.  First up is something that I thought looked interesting, but I had no earthly idea what it was.  Thanks to our local agrilife extension, I now know it's a robber fly.  It's a mostly beneficial insect that preys on things like grasshoppers and leaf hoppers.  It will also eat other beneficial insects, so that's a little bit of a downside, but we have so many bad bugs this year, I'm betting these guys are good to have around.


This one was hanging out on one of the garden bed frames.  I'm not sure what it is and haven't had any luck finding it in identification guides.  It's got back legs similar to a cricket, but it was kind of flying a little bit too.  The wings were purple and the rest of its body looked black.  Any ideas?


This next one, I'm really mad over.  We noticed it flying around the garden and with the bright orange, it stood out.  We didn't know what it was though.  I took a picture and let it fly away.  It wasn't until later that I found out it's the adult form of a squash vine borer!  I had no idea this is what they grew up to look like!  We battle vine borers every year on the squash, so I'm pretty frustrated I let this one live to lay more eggs.  Vine borers lay eggs at the base of a plant and the larva chew their way into the stem and then crawl up the middle, hollowing it out.  Obviously, the plant usually dies.  Now that I know the adults are around, I made sure to spray some neem oil at the base of my squash vines the next time I sprayed. 

Here's a tiny toad Josh found when he was working out there one day:

Later in the week, I came across this ribbon snake in the squash patch.  See him hiding?  He was about 2 feet long.  They are non-venomous; eat slugs, snails and small mice and do what they can to stay away from people, so he got to stay.  I pointed him out to the girls with a reminder to wear to their shoes and stay away from all snakes (we also have copperheads in this area, our neighbor killed one that was in our yard not too long ago)


We've had lots these hawks flying around lately.  They're called Mississippi Kites and from what I can find, it seems they're probably migrating through.

As usual, we've had some human wildlife around too.  Sedona had been begging for "carrot muffins" for weeks, so we finally let her go through the garden bed and pull some of the carrots:


I also came across this that I thought was pretty neat.  This was in an area where the girls are always digging a hole, or a trench, or building a house, or who knows what else.  This is Sedona's hand print and I thought it was pretty neat she figured out how to do this and left it there.

Inside the house, Secora is still finding places to hide.  I'm pretty sure this is part of the sensory issues that also keep her from eating or sleeping well.  She says "hidey hole, hidey hole" and gets herself into a blocked off corner, or behind the couch.  Yesterday, it was a kitchen cabinet

Eventually we turned it into a game of peak-a-boo and she was happy to come out and play again though
I'm excited another weekend is almost here!  Looking forward to more time in the garden, finally laying drip line in the 2 garden beds that don't have any yet, and keeping an eye out for more wildlife!

1 comment:

Karen said...

The robber fly I remember. We don't have them here and I thought it was the most interesting bug I had seen in TX while we were out and about.

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