Backyard Pond

Discussion of backyard pond, frogs, goldfish and plants.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

It's a Cow!

Ernie, our two year old Great Dane loves his stuffed animals and today he got a really big cow. He is so proud when he gets a new toy and runs around showing it off and playing keep away from us.
Below is one of the giant tadpoles in the small ponds who is just a short time away from being a full fledged frog. As you can see this guy still has about a 2 inch tail but he has fully developed front and back legs. And he is sitting on the algae rather than in the water. A minute after this picture he hopped into the water so the back legs are already working. This is one of the tadpoles we inventoried last September so he survive the winter and the various predators that have visited the small pond since then.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Elephant Ears and Butterfly Bushes Bounce Back

Even though it happens every year, I really enjoy the rebirth of the plants that seem to die in winter. It is incredible how these plants can spring from nothing to 5 to 10 feet tall in a couple of months. Soon the butterfly bushes will start blooming and attracting butterflies for most of the summer. Last year we learned something about propagating butterfly bushes. It appears that propagating from new growth, like we see now rather than old growth from the pruning we do in February works better. I'll know more after I see how the ones we planted last year do.

Monday, May 26, 2008

How "Fast" Does the Bamboo Grow

The bamboo grove along the back yard fence sends out roots every year from which new Bamboo grows. And grows really fast. Each spring we kick over the new shoots that appear in the yard sp they don't take over the yard. This year I put a 50 inch tall fence post next to a 5 inch sprout (first picture) to track how fast the bamboo grows. These pictures are taken one week apart. The bamboo went from 5 inches to 30 inches in one week. After two weeks it shot up to 90 inches and after 3 weeks it was 192 inches or 16 feet tall. The tallest ones will top out at 40 feet.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Hawk on the Shark Float

The Hawk is back in town. In the first picture a couple of days ago, he just barely stuck his nose into the picture. So today I relocated the camera to get a picture of what was happening on the pond. Surprise, surprise the Hawk visited the pond today and there he is sitting on the Shark float in the pond. So the shark didn't scare the hawk at all. He does look like he's enjoying hanging out on the float in the pond.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Run It's a Shark and a Crow

OK so this is probably a dumb idea but I found it at a yard sale. I know I have seen the Great Blue Heron flying high in the sky. What if he looked down and saw a shark - would it scare him or invite him. Only time will tell. I figured if I had to float Styrofoam on the pond, Styrofoam with a picture might be more fun.
I have confirmed that the crows aren't concerned about the shark since they are still hanging around. Lucky for me the crows don't eat my big Goldfish (that I know of).

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Some Small Pond Good News

I got a good luck at the small pond residents and have some good news to report. I was able to find 5 of the larger Goldfish (about 3 inch) but the larger ones including the one with the sore on his tail are gone. I suspect they were dinner for the Great Blue Heron. But the giant tadpoles are still there - here is a mass of at least 7 enjoying the afternoon sun.
The other project this afternoon was to add some baby fish to the small pond. I caught 30 of them in one of our nursery buckets. The nursery buckets are 20 gallon buckets where we put algae that we remove from the large pond. Most of the time it contains some eggs so we check several week later for babies. These babies are 1/2 to 3/4 inch long but very skinny as you can see. With luck some will survive to add to the small pond population.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tadpoles Galore

Last week I was going to post these tadpole pictures but was rudely interrupted by the Great Blue Heron. The first picture show the Giant tadpoles that I think will become Bullfrogs that are in the small pond. These tadpoles hatched last year and spent the winter in the small pond. After last weeks Heron attack, I'm not even sure if these tadpoles are still around to grow into Bullfrogs. The second picture shows a bunch of smaller tadpoles in the large pond that hatched from eggs this year. They probably survived the attack since they are probably too small for the Heron to eat.

Monday, May 12, 2008

That Darn Great Blue Heron

That darn bird has done major damage to the Goldfish population in our ponds. The small pond has been completely decimated - we didn't see any fish left at all this weekend.
The large pond still has some Goldfish hiding near the bottom but all of our giant fish are gone. We have lost both of our about 5 year old foot long Goldfish and our 4 year old Shibunkin and our 4 year old Comet are gone too. From the pictures the Heron was fishing for at least 4 of the last 6 days. We will see what the new week brings.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

WOW! Thats Some Big Bird

The Great Blue Heron was back today looking huge. I wish I could see him in person to really grasp how big he is but he doesn't seem to visit when I am watching. It is just plain scary to think of how the fish must feel when this giant beak pokes down in the water and grabs them. And the fish don't get a good nights sleep because the second picture shows an Owl standing by the pond. I suspect he too is fishing making nightmares a sure thing in the pond.

Heron Puffs Up

Here is the Heron just two minutes after the picture of him with the Goldfish in his beak. You can tell how much he enjoyed the fish because in this picture he is puffing out his feathers. And his throat looks pretty fat so the Goldfish might still be on the way down his throat. After closely studying the pictures, I suspect the Goldfish he ate was 10 to 12 inches long and was probably one of my three to four year old fish. This weekend I'll try to get a good look at the fish in the pond to estimate who is missing.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


What a shock today, the Heron hit the Goldfish buffet at 8 am. Fish for breakfast?? I have had problems with my wildlife camera for a couple of months so I sent it into the company and they sent me a replacement yesterday. I set it up this morning and WOW! did I get some Heron pictures. As you can see this guy took one of my large Goldfish and munched it down. In the next couple of pictures he raises his head above the picture and lowers it again with out the fish. So he swallowed it. Tonight I put my stryofoam protectors back on the pond.

Friday, May 02, 2008

One Dollar Deal

What a display and what a price. Last fall Lowes had a bunch of Clemitas plants on closeout for one dollar each. We bought 3 to plant behind the pond filter. It looks like two of the three are doing just fine. This picture shows the first four flowers that popped out last week on one of the plants. The other plant is doing just fine but hasn't created any flowers yet. It would be great if one is an early bloomer and the other is a late bloomer to stretch the flowering season.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Flower Two Years in the Making

Sometimes patience pays off. At least two years ago, we bought several Louisiana Iris plants. They just sat in the pond and did nothing for two summers. At the end of last summer we repotted these plants and then left them in the pond over the winter. (They spent the winter in the greenhouse the previous winter). And lo and behold this spring we have beautiful flowers. From the looks of the buds, we'll get to enjoy some more flowers over the next couple of weeks.