Monday, June 30, 2008

Another Monday with Damsels and Dragons

This spring/summer we have been blessed with a profusion of dragonflies and damselflies. The two insects belong to the same order, but there are significant differences in the two, some of which are obvious to the casual observer. A primary difference is the way they hold their wings when they are at rest.

Damselflies typically hold their wings upright or along their body and close together when they are perched. They are often closed in such a way that you can only see one set of wings.

Most of the damselflies around the pond and in the immediate vicinity have rather long, tubular bodies, also, though I'm not sure this is a defining characteristic of all damselflies.

Dragonflies, on the other hand, will hold their wings horizontally or slightly lower when at rest and it is obvious they have two sets of wings. Some such as the one below will actually bend their wings downward and a bit forward.

Most of the dragonflies around here have somewhat wider, heavier looking bodies than the damselflies. This guy is moderately stout and will hold his wings somewhat horizontal for a bit then fold them down further when he settles in for a longer rest.

Most of the dragonflies will normally perch facing away from the shore toward the water which provides a good view of their full body and wings. This particular fellow, however, is not set in his ways and will perch facing in or out. The head-on view always tickles me. The colors and shape of the head and upper body seem to portray a cartoon-like face complete with personality. Sometimes I'm not sure who is studying whom.


Saturday, June 28, 2008

Chow Time

In a small pond it is a good practice to feed the fish regularly to improve the fishing . Many small pond owners install automated feeders to dispense the feed (usually small floating pellets) on a regular basis, maybe 1-3 times per day. The dispensers are normally mounted on a dock or suspended over the water.

This pond has never been an extensive fishing pond, but we do feed the fish often during the spring and summer. At first the feeding was primarily to promote growth in the game fish, but we finally realized that it had become more of a 'recreational feeding' rather than strictly beneficial.

Normally the feeding is meant for the bream-type fish and the occasional catfish. Bass seldom take feed unless they are 'trained' to do so. As you can see the bream get their share, but in within minutes the other fish and turtles begin to arrive for a free lunch.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Condo for Lease - Water View

Some visitors to the blog may have noticed that there is a house for Purple Martins on the dam, but we haven't listed Purple Martins as resident birds in the Cast of Characters. For several years there was another Purple Martin house located a little further from the water and closer to the woods. Over the years the woods expanded toward the dam and the bird house making it a less desirable location for the martins.

The house eventually deteriorated and problems developed with the post it was mounted on. We took that house down and a few months ago put up a new one. Unfortunately, it has not attracted any residents for this year. We think perhaps we were a bit late in getting the house up for this year and have high hopes that next year we may attract a few Purple Martins to add to the number of birds that call the pond home at least part of the year.

We have noted a few odd occurrences at the house, however. A few weeks ago there was constant nest building activity toward one end of the house. The builders? Bluebirds. The odd thing was the bluebirds actually built a nest in the nearby bluebird house, also, and the female is attending the eggs now. This is the second nest of the season for that house.

As to the Purple Martin house, after the intense nest building activity for several days it seems it was abandoned. The only visitor we see to the martin house is papa bluebird who often comes to perch and oversee the bluebird nest with his mate and future family.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Voyeur Catches Solo Sunbathing in the Nude

Now that I have the 'keywords' title out of the way for the search engines I can show you the photo.

This little guy just seemed so happy to have found a spot to bask all by himself. And amazingly he did not slide off immediately when I approached as they normally do. He/she was just too cool to pass up.

I also got some new pics of a green heron, but still no really close-up shots. They are pretty shy also and generally keep a good distance away from visitors. It does seem, however, that they are becoming more accustomed to having me around. They just keep their distance and go about feeding. I did see one interesting thing. Normally they stand motionless until they spot the intended prey in the water and bob quickly to capture it. This time the quick capture was not in the water but straight out in front of him. I presume he caught a dragonfly or damselfly that got a bit too close.

By the way, the bird is a good bit larger than it appears in the photo. He's not a real large bird, but it is easy to spot him across the pond if he is moving along the shoreline. I believe perhaps this is an immature bird as the the russet colored shoulders and neck (which are prominent on the mature birds) have not yet completely developed. If so, it appears we may have several green heron visitors as we have seen 2 mature birds at the same time.

- Theme-Water


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What is it?

OK. I've got one for you. See if you can figure out what this is.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Damsels and Dragons Monday

Over the past few days I have been taking some pictures of the Damsels and Dragons down by the pond. That's damselflies and dragonflies, of course.

At times it takes a bit of patience, but some of the pictures are really good even if I say so myself. In fact, I've taken so many pictures it is hard to pick out my favorites. I decided I would go with posting a few pictures at a time so I would not overpower you with my photographic brilliance, lol.

One interesting result of taking the pictures is that I have been able to study some of the habits of the various dragonflies and damselflies. Although they share much in common, the different species have very definite patterns. In a way they are like birds. Most birds are obviously very similar to one another in many ways, but each species has its own habits and idiosyncrasies. They have different nesting preferences, seek different habitats, eat different types of food, and may have different flight characteristics. It appears that damselflies and dragonflies are much like that. The different species have their own way of interacting with the world.

Take this dragonfly for instance. It is fairly common around the pond. I seldom see two close to one another so it may be that they are a bit territorial. Also, they do not seem to be quite as shy or fearful as many of the others which means there are more chances to take a decent picture.

For perching they typically select the larger limbs and sticks very near the water's edge, usually about 6"-18" above the water or at times a nearby bush up to 3'-4' feet off the ground/water. They seem to remain at rest a little longer than many of the other species.

I really liked that particular picture because of the reflections of the sun on the wings. You should open the picture to its full size to appreciate the detail of this beautiful creature.

While dragonflies seem to prefer bright sunlight, damselflies such as this one seem to prefer a bit more shade or areas with a lot of green leaves to rest on. This was one of the very first pictures I took of a damselfly and this one happened to be in the sun, but was on the a very leafy plant. It has an amazingly long, dainty body . (Once again, this picture is best appreciated in the full view.)

Check back each Monday for more Damsel/Dragon pictures.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Even some weeds have flowers

For most wild plants the time for profuse colorful blooming is in the spring in our region. Of course certain wild flowers bloom into the summer. And those that have fleshy roots such as the orange daylilies we see along many roadways may bloom throughout the summer. Many smaller plants that we may commonly consider weeds, however, may pop up with a few blooms on their own little schedule over the months.

While taking some pics of other things around the pond I noticed a few 'weed' flowers that made good subjects. I suggest you open this picture to a full view to fully enjoy it. This one was actually taken in the pasture next door but there are several of these around the pond, also.

This last picture is one of my favorites. Once again it should be viewed in the full view. The details of the flower are amazing. I was surprised how well the picture came out. I was lucky to get this one as there are only a very few of these around and they seem to last only a day or so before they start to fall apart.

I took a few more pictures of some reallyinteresting blooms on bushes and vines that I will be including in a future post.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Green herons are cool

I've mentioned the green herons a couple of times before, particularly that bad day he had several weeks ago. Well, we finally got some pics of him. The herons are very shy and don't allow us to approach too close. We do not have a camera with extensive zoom, but the shots came out fairly good considering how far away we were.

Here he is in his normal hunting mode, patiently stalking along the edge of the water searcing for that unlucky little fish, frog, or tadpole. He will normally take a few steps and then stand and wait. Then ZAP!!. His head will dart down and up he comes with a meal. He is usually a very patient hunter. It often takes him maybe half an hour to stalk along 20-30 feet of the shoreline.

We are constantly on the look out for the heron so hopefully we will have some even better shots in the future. And by the way, don't ask me why they are called green herons. They don't look green to me.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Baby frogs encore

Having given you some pics of the tiny frogs earlier I thought I would pass along a few I took of them in their natural habitat. Don't let this photo mislead you. This first guy is really small. I had trouble even seeing him with the camera and just about missed the shot.

There are still a lot of the baby frogs around, but they are not as evident as 2-3 weeks ago. I'm sure many of them have succumbed to predators, but a lot of them have dispersed into their new homes on the edge of the pond.

As you can probably see it is hard to spot them unless you look very closely. I was lucky to notice a slight motion among pine straw and leaves along the shore. A little checking revealed this tiny fellow.

Then there was this little baby on its own
in a great big world. Just 10 seconds after I took the picture he was gone. One quick move and he had burrowed under the pine straw and disappeared.

The best thing is we still have tadpoles with new batches popping up every few days. There are not nearly so many as several weeks ago, but we know there are still more frogs to come.


Monday, June 16, 2008

When you have the camera

A few days ago I was out at the pond taking some pictures of dragonflies and decided to take a walk around just to see what else might be interesting. Although the time of massive spring blooming has generally passed here there are still plenty of opportunities to capture an interesting picture here and there.

As you can see along with summer come the wild blackberries. If we are lucky enough we will have enough for a pie or two.

The crape myrtles are on the verge of blooming here. These buds appear ready to burst. I guess I will have to keep an eye on them for some new pictures soon.

Even the lowly touch-me-not vine (or 'humble plant') was starting to bloom. The slightest touch will often cause the fern-like leaves to fold up as they do at night. It's normally only temporary, of course.

The next time you have that camera handy at the family reunion, on a trip, or perhaps just waiting in a parking lot for a spouse/friend you should look around and try taking a few pictures of the smaller things in the world that surrounds you. You might be surprised what you come up with.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

New to this blog?

First of all, welcome to our pond.

If you are new to this blog or to blogging you may want a bit of background on the blog and some info to help you find your way around. If you are an old hand at blogging you may want to just jump back to the blog and browse to your heart's content. (But make sure you click on the 'Read More' on many of the posts to open up the full post.) And one other thing. The 'What This Blog is About' section provides a 'Greatest Hits' category which includes some of the best posts based on reader comments. You might want to check them out. And remember, we love feedback so feel free to comment on any of the posts.

This blog is primarily about a pond in Georgia (USA) not too far from Atlanta. The blog was originally created as a way to share some of the interesting happenings around the pond with friends and relatives and to chronicle the changes in the pond throughout the seasons. Of course we are always delighted to have new visitors to our little pond here on the net and invite them to return as often as they can.

We think it is fairly easy to move around the blog. The 'What This Blog Is About' section available on the sidebar basically tells what you will find here and we hope it will be useful to visitors who may have specific interests, such as turtles or birds. Many of the earlier posts under the various labels are general in nature and describe the environment of the pond such as the size and layout of the pond, the types of fish in the pond, and such. These posts were created to give visitors a tour of sorts of the pond. Later posts are generally more detailed and about specific incidents and observations. And of course you can always check the 'Archives' for specific posts.

You can also tell by the Cast of Characters in the sidebar what creatures we may be discussing from time to time. Many of these are links to other web sites which provide further information about the specific characters.

Currently you will not see too many other links in the sidebar. The few links in the 'Wildlife Related Links' are recommended general resources for visitors. Plus, we have added some links to bloggers who are special visitors and profile links to our 'followers.'

At the top of the sidebar you will find a slide show of several pictures of the pond and immediate vicinity. Virtually all of these photo's are included in various posts. There are several slideshows we rotate at random. If you click on one of the pictures in the slideshow it should open a new window or tab with the hosting site for the slideshow. There you can see a larger version of the slide show (some with captions) plus you can access the other slideshows and other albums of photo's taken around the pond. Some of the albums are by category such as flowers or butterflies.

All of the pictures on the blog itself were taken in and around the pond or within the immediate vicinity unless otherwise noted. Some of the photo's are best appreciated in a larger view so we would suggest you open the ones you find interesting.

We are obviously not biologists, but we do try to research most of the animal related comments in the posts. We welcome any comments and/or corrections about our observations.

In fact, we love comments so make sure you click on the 'comments' at the bottom of any post and at least say "Hi!" if you drop by. And be sure to come back again.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

In the Pen

This year when GG did some minor restocking of the pond (a few bream and catfish were added) we realized that many of the new small fish were going to be prime prey for the abundance of bass in the pond. It was obvious that in the future we would need to provide some protection for newly stocked fingerlings until they could grow large enough to have a good chance at survival. Of course any such arrangement would require monitoring and feeding them on a regular basis.

We decided to test some various pen/cage arrangements for future use. The first we have installed is an open-topped pen made of hardware cloth on the edge of the pond.
It is placed in an area that gets some shading during much of the day and where there is easy access. The pen has met with varying degrees of success.

We frequently place smaller fish (caught by various means) in the pen. Once in the pen, however, many of the fish have disappeared. Initially we thought perhaps many escaped under the bottom of the wire where it did not properly seat on the bottom of the pond. We made some modifications and believe we have solved that issue, but we still lose fish from time to time. Perhaps some natural predator (turtles, birds, or perhaps a snake) is sometimes raiding the pen for a fast sushi buffet.

It is obvious that this type of pen will not be satisfactory for protecting restocking fish in the future and we will probably go with some type of closed cage.

Despite the issues with the pen it has been a success in other ways. The pen is not very large and has a limited amount of vegetation so it provides a good view of the fish. It is somewhat like having an outdoor aquarium. It was in the pen that we first spotted the truly large tadpoles and we were able to watch them evolve into frogs in their natural habitat. Also, youngsters love to try to catch fish and tadpoles from the pond with the hand-held nets and they rush to the pen with their catches.


Monday, June 9, 2008

Habitat Makes a Difference

We believe the wide variety of birds and other animals at the pond is due to the diverse habitat in the immediate and surrounding vicinity. As you can see from the various pictures most of the area around the pond is kept fairly clear except the eastern (shallow) end which is allowed to grow free and the northern bank which has quite a few pine trees. A portion of the southern bank has several trees, but the underbrush is kept cleared away. As you leave the pond, however, you venture into diverse landscapes making suitable habitats for a wide variety of animals.

Immediately to the west the land drops off into a wooded area with a variety of older trees along a small, spring fed stream.

These hardwoods provide a canopy which restricts the growth of underbrush so the area is generally open. It is normally cool and moist through the summer and the stream flows through the driest of months. The area has mostly been untouched for years. The natural growth and variety provides a good home for various birds and other animals such as frogs, toads, squirrels, deer, etc.

There is another pond directly across the road. The pond is probably about 3-4 times the size of our pond and a bit deeper. When full that pond overflows into a small stream that runs along the northern bank of our pond. The stream is also fed by springs. In summers, however, the flow is diminished and that stream can dry up completely for weeks.

In addition to other ponds in the vicinity there are also two good-sized man-made lakes nearby, both within a mile or so of the pond. They are each about 300-400 acres and both have limited access. Each has a significant amount of shoreline with little or no development. All these water sources make for a good habitat for various water birds. In some years our pond has Canada geese and ducks who basically call the pond home so we are privileged to see them raise their young. In most years, however, the pond is a stopping point for these geese, ducks, herons, and other birds which they will visit from time to time to check out the feeding situation. This year we daily we see the geese traveling back and forth between the ponds and lakes and frequently have the green herons plus a great blue heron visiting.

To the south of the pond lies the pasture with the horses and then a dense thicket of new growth pine trees which provides good cover for deer and other wildlife. The pasture and other open land in the vicinity provide good hunting for both the red-tail hawks and also for a wide variety of birds who feed primarily on insects that are found in grass lands. It is always interesting to watch various birds follow the horses around as they graze and snatch a quick meal of the insects which are stirred up by the horses.


Saturday, June 7, 2008

You Probably Will Not Believe This, I Didn't

Although we were not there to observe this, the pond evidently had some unusual visitors a couple of days ago. Well, at least we know they were near enough to be visible from the pond.

While we were out to dinner a few nights ago we received a call from AR's daughter who was at AR's house. (The house is located just north of and within view of the pond.)

"There are 3 peacocks in the yard!! What should I do? Who should I call?"

Evidently someone's peacocks had decided to take a little evening stroll. One of our neighbors who lives about 1/4 mile away has a wide variety of animals including peacocks. He has had peacocks for years, but I had never seen one venture this far from home. During the summer the peacocks always remind us they are nearby with their piercing cries in the evening. I imagine one can hear the calls for 1/2 mile or more under the right conditions. For those of you who have never heard a peacock's cry check out YouTube for some interesting short videos.

There are more peacocks in the vicinity, but most are probably too far away to have ended up here. We presumed these must belong to our neighbor.

At any rate, the calls to the neighbor went unanswered and the peacocks leisurely continued their evening constitutional. Who knows? Perhaps they will stroll by again in the future and we can get some pics.


Friday, June 6, 2008

Having A Bad Day

GG and I were standing out by the pond a few weeks ago (before we launched the blog) and watched as one of the green herons flew back and forth across the pond. (As it is difficult to tell the difference in the male and female from a distance I will just refer to the bird as 'he'.) For those of you not familiar with this bird it is one of the smaller herons. It is generally shy and stays away when there are too many visitors to the pond. We had been seeing a pair of green herons frequently and wondered if they had a nest near the pond.

The heron eventually flew into the thicket of vines and shrubs at the end of the pond. My immediate thought was that perhaps it had a nest in the thicket. Before I could even open my mouth to mention it, out of the thicket he came squawking loudly and flying low to the water as fast as he could. He was so low he actually hit the surface 2 or 3 times in his haste to get away from the thicket. Evidently he had flown directly into the presence of some predator, perhaps a snake or some other natural enemy. GG and I laughed at his almost cartoon-like departure from potential danger.

The bird flew off and GG and I continued our conversation. About 15 minutes later I happened to notice something swaying in the trees along the southern edge of the pond. There was a slight breeze at the time but the swaying did not match the general swaying of the limbs. I decided to investigate and as I got closer I realized it had to be an animal. It was a green heron.

He had flown into what was evidently an old fishing line that was strung between two trees that extend over the edge of the water. Somehow it caught him by the very tip of his right wing and he was hanging at least 15-20 feet above the water level. I have no idea how the line got there or how long it had been there. Nevertheless, the bird was trapped hanging half-way between the two trees and was in severe distress.

Of course we launched an immediate rescue operation. We quickly obtained an extension ladder and using the tree I was able to climb high enough to be level with the bird. Fortunately I was able snag the line with a long pole and pull it to me. The line broke as I was pulling it and the bird fell a few feet into the branches below.

When I started down the ladder he fluttered a bit and then I lost sight of him. He had evidently fallen through the branches and disappeared. We knew he did not fall into the water below as it had not been disturbed. We stood there pondering the disappearance and concluded that his escape had been hidden by the thick limbs and brush.

While we were still discussing his escape and wondering if he would recover we were shocked to see a green heron fly in over the end of the pond and head for the pine trees on the other side to perch on a limb as they often do. We were even more surprised when within 2-3 minutes another green heron came flying in and joined him. Neither bird showed any signs of injury in their flight. Obviously he had survived the ordeal.

We can't be sure that the heron that beat the hasty retreat was the same one that got caught in the line. If it was you have to admit he was having a pretty bad day. Luckily he didn't give up on the pond, however. We continue to see the pair at the pond frequently when things are quiet and there are few people around. We have identified a couple of possible nests close to the pond, but have not yet seen the birds actually go to one of them though they are often in that vicinity.

This was one of the incidents that prompted the creation of this blog. We decided we needed a place to chronicle some of the interesting things going on in and around the pond so we could share them with friends and relatives. And what better place than a blog where we could share them with new friends on the net?


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Now About Those Tiny Frogs

In the previous post I mentioned the hundreds (or should I say thousands?) of tiny baby frogs we have been seeing around the pond. Well here are the pictures. Check them out!
This first photo will give you an idea of how truly tiny these baby frogs are.

In this
photo you can see that there are likely several different types of frogs. Note the red one above and to the left of the coin. Some of the others also appear to be different species, but that could possibly be due to the age and development. Most of the frogs have very thin forelegs while a few have heavier, thicker forelegs. Those with the thicker forelegs also appear to have different markings. They appear to have different markings and are a bit stockier and not as long as the others. (The frog immediately below the coin and the closest one above and to the right appear to have the heavier forelegs.)

Taking that second photo proved interesting. On our first attempt the camera decided not to operate and all the frogs escaped within seconds. We had to round up a new collection and start all over. Of course that wasn't too difficult considering all the frogs available.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Upon Closer Observation

Our pond is like virtually any other natural environment. Sometimes just a quick look will give you the impression that nothing much is happening. But, with a closer look and a bit of patience you will observe all types of activity going on around you.

Just a few days ago I took a short walk around the pond. The sky was covered with high clouds so it was bright but not really sunny. The wind was calm and the pond was smooth with barely a ripple. All seemed quiet.

The smaller fish that are commonly seen in the clear shallow water around the edges of the pond were mostly hidden in the grass or had gone to deeper water. The absence of the feeder fish in the shallows also meant fewer preying bass were visible. The basking areas were in the shade so they were empty of turtles at the time. Only a few bird calls and an occasional turtle poking its head out of the water gave any indication that anything at all was going on.

Closer observation, however, revealed that there was plenty to see and be amazed by. Along the bank at the edge of the water there were hundreds of the tiniest frogs you can imagine. So many that you had to be careful of your footsteps for fear of crushing them. (I later calculated that in just one small section along the edge of the pond had a minimum of 1,200 of these tiny frogs.) We had seen these baby frogs come out in large numbers in the evening, but this was the first time I had seen so many in the middle of the day. They were so small that you would not really notice them unless you were looking of them.

In addition to the frogs there were dozens of dragonflies and perhaps a few damselflies buzzing along the edge of the water. I counted at least 7 different types with at least 3 of those being ones I had not seen by the pond so far this spring. I'm looking forward to getting some good pictures of the dragonflies to share.

The pair of bluebirds was evidently house shopping again checking out the empty houses one by one. (A few days later they decided on a house and started building their nest.) They eventually flew over to the pine tree under which I was sitting and perched just a few feet from me. It seemed as though they came to check out the potential threat. I guess they were satisfied as before too long they wandered off and checked out another house nearby.

There were several other pairs of birds in and out of the trees. They didn't appear to be feeding and remained close together. I couldn't identify any of them specifically, but I felt they were likely mated pairs or perhaps there was a bit of flirting going on.

The brown-headed nuthatch showed up on the tree. I'm always amazed by this little guy. He's so small and even seems a bit chunky for a bird. He looks so funny as he hops around circling the limbs, even hanging up-side down on a limb to peck away for his lunch. He is a brave little bird and doesn't seem to mind a bit of human company nearby as long as the human remains fairly quiet.

Later the red-tail hawk soared over-head for a few minutes and then disappeared off to the west. It reminded my of a few days before when I saw a crow attack one of the hawks. They were fairly low over the pond, perhaps only 30-40 feet high, when I first saw them. The crow was continually flying at and attacking the hawk as they circled. It was obvious that the hawk was trying to gain some altitude, but the crow appeared faster and was able to circle the hawk and generally stay above it. They continued this aerial dogfight for some time, steadily getting higher and higher. The hawk was calling out, but not in the really loud screech we normally hear.

By the time they had reached about 200 feet I saw the other hawk approaching from the northwest at a much higher altitude. Evidently the crow saw it, too, or heard it call out. Almost immediately the crow broke off the attack and dropped into the tree tops below to beat a hasty retreat. The first hawk continued to climb and soon joined its partner circling high in the sky and calling to one another.

That day was good reminder to me that sometimes the most amazing sights are just before our eyes if we just take a closer look.


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Bluebirds at Home

GG is an avid birdwatcher and has tried to maintain a good habitat for a wide variety of birds over the years. Around and near the pond there are normally at least 5 bluebird houses available. Abandoned-Bluebird-HouseThey don't all have bluebirds every year. The birds usually pick 2 or 3 different houses each year so there are always bluebirds around in the spring and into the summer. (The picture is of one of the houses which hasn't been used in years. It is at the end of the pond that has been allowed to grow wild and was covered with shrubbery and vines. We had even forgotten it was there until a recent strong wind downed an adjacent dead tree and unveiled the birdhouse.)

So far this year we have already had at least one house at the pond which was occupied and the young birds have already fledged. We didn't check the house directly so we are not sure how many young ones there were. Unfortunately it seemed that whenever we had the camera and were anywhere near the house the mom and pop were not to be seen. Any other time they could be seen going back and forth to the house performing their parental duties. Two houses along the fence of the neighboring pasture also have bluebirds, but we have refrained from disturbing the birds to this point and we are not sure if the young have fledged or not. Most likely they have.

For several days we had noticed a pair of bluebirds checking out 2 of the houses next to the pond, but they did not begin making a nest. (They even checked out the larger duck house in the picture on the edge of the pond.)Duck-House Perhaps it was not quite the right time for the female and they were just checking out potential home sites for when the time comes. After about two weeks they decided on a new home and began building a nest in the house that had already been used once this season. Perhaps this is the same pair of bluebirds that raised the first family, but there is no way to tell as there are so many bluebirds around.

Interestingly some of the houses are in areas that have a good bit of human foot traffic nearby. The bluebirds appear to be fairly tolerant of humans occasionally passing by, but we try to avoid being close too often when they are nesting.

By the way, if you happen to live within the bluebirds' range and have a satisfactory site for a bluebird house you should think of putting one or more up. Due to the loss of natural nesting sites the species depends heavily on man-made nesting sites. The birds are truly beautiful. And, due to their distinctive coloring, it is easy to distinguish them from other birds and identify the male and female. This makes even casual observation of the nesting interesting. You can easily find sites on the net with all the information you need. For starters you might want to visit North American Bluebird Society. Or just search for 'bluebirds' or 'bluebird housing' and you will find all the info you will need.


Monday, June 2, 2008

"Where's my carrot?"

Although they are not technically visitors or residents of the pond, the two horses next door are almost always a part of the pond experience for visitors. Due to all the attention the horses have become shameless beggars for carrots, apples, or sugar cubes which they know the visitors often bring.

As with many 'pets' each has its own personality. In fact this simple picture (used in a previous post) actually demonstrates the difference in their approach to begging. The horse on the left is a real sweetheart. He is very tolerant of people and loves attention and will generally follow one around the pasture if he thinks he can get some special scratching and rubbing. Now the other horse is quite different. Two arabian horsesShe is not mean, but she is a bit more spirited and anxious when a potential treat may be at stake. In the picture it is almost as though he is saying "I like carrots and if you happen to have one I would really appreciate having it."

As for her it's "Where's my carrot?? I want it now!!"